Trickster Power: Misdirecting Creative Technology – Leila Johnston, Hack Circus

Palace Obscura 7pm

mepinkLeila will talk about her response to digital and the way that  ‘old fashioned’ modes (print, live shows) and their important virtues, have been almost totally muffled by digital utopianism, yet are important ways to explore speculative science, subversive tech and psychology. She will explore the essential outsider role fulfilled by the arts, drawing on her experience as an independent curator of original work and performance over the last few years. She will outline the importance of the ‘trickster’ impulse in the contemporary art scene, with examples from her network and productions which take in hacking, magic and subversive comedy. Leila’s background has taught her that artists and makers must resist and circumvent systems, and never more so than when their practice overlaps with technology – a world defined by efficiency. Decontextualising – of oneself and others – is key to her practice and to creative innovation more generally, and in discussing this, she will call for inspiration from the very original context of the wonderful surroundings of this event.

Leila Johnston is an artist, journalist and entertainer working with art and technology. She creates a quarterly live show and magazine called Hack Circus which explores ideas around speculative science, subversive tech and psychology in a fun and unique way. The increasingly immersive shows have featured time machines, artificial intelligence systems, talking volcanoes and visitors from other planets, and together with the magazine, the project has posed important questions ranging from whether we really have Free Will to how we can be sure we even exist. Leila has been a resident at the Site Gallery in Sheffield and Lighthouse in Brighton and was one of 10 innovators from around the world selected to take part in the Global Futr Labs at Future Everything in Manchester. This September, her first interactive solo show and documentary ‘How To Live Forever’ will appear at the Brighton Digital Festival and British Science Festival. She also writes books and humour, and articles for people like WIRED UK and Creative Review.