FutureEverything Festival, 25-28 February, Manchester

For its 20th anniversary, FutureEverything is not staging a retrospective, but a platform for a global community to collaboratively reflect on the bleeding edges of art, academia, design and business. This year, the pioneering digital culture Festival will feature new commissions, installations, conference speakers, film screenings and live events. In Manchester city, The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) will be the hub for the art, live and film programmes, while FutureEverything Conference returns to the neo-gothic Manchester Town Hall for inspiring talks from internationally renowned speakers and hands-on workshops.

The festival will take over The Shed as its Festival Lab; here a number of new FutureEverything commissions will be developed alongside prototyping events, design challenges, and international innovation labs. All of the projects developed at the Festival Lab will be showcased, tested and performed during the conference and performance programmes.

Festival highlights will include talks from award-winning graphic novel writer and author of the NYT-bestselling Gun Machine and the “underground classic” novel Crooked Little Vein, Warren Ellis. The film Red is based on his graphic novel of the same name while Iron Man 3 is based on his Marvel Comics graphic novel Iron Man: Extremis, and Ellis is currently co-writing a video project called Wastelanders with Joss Whedon.

There will be a premiere of The Well by Koreless and Emmanuel Biard, a new commission which features new and existing Koreless compositions rescored for a 4 piece male voice choir, combined with a bespoke structural and light installation by Biard. Also showing for the first time is Blast Theory: Too Much Information; a 45 minute audio walk around the streets of Manchester, which uses smartphones to play out recordings of intimate moments hidden around the city based on a series of frank conversations between a group of young people and a group of over 60s, all set to a score by the Human League’s Martyn Ware. Sensual, animal and threatening, a sound and sculptural installation by the multi-award winning duo Cod.Act. entitled Nyloïd will explore the boundaries between the organic and the mechanical, taking the shape of a huge nylon tripod, animated by sophisticated mechanics and sound.

There will also be live performances from BAFTA-winning Icelandic multi-instrumentalist, Ólafur Arnalds; Los Angeles based multi-instrumentalist and lo-fi artist Ariel Pink and Gazelle Twin, the alter ego of Brighton based composer and producer Elizabeth Bernholz as well as a two-day lab Digital & Cultural Innovators which presents a chance for 10 innovators as chosen by The British Council and FutureEverything to explore how technologies are imagined, used, built and controlled. Along this same vein will also be Danja Vasiliev: Superglue, a hands-on workshop which teaches participants how to use Superglue, an easy-to-use web-based system that runs on domestic servers, bypassing “mega corporations.”

FutureEverything, 25-28 February, in various venues across Manchester.

1.Cod.Act: Nyloïd, courtesy of FutureEverything.