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Cutting Edge Technology Collides with Culture at Carlow Arts Festival

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Carlow Arts Festival, the first big cultural event of the summer, returns this June 2021.

Cutting edge technology collides with culture as Carlow Arts Festival announce an ambitious hybrid programme of live, digital and virtual experiences taking place over 10 days from the 4th to the 13th June – featuring works by international, national and local artists: Ireland, Latin America, Catalonia, Canada, the Netherlands, UK and Carlow.

Always seeking to create stunning and unique Arts experiences for their audiences, this year organisers have found ways to connect in both the public and digital realm.

Pioneers of Digital Arts experiences, especially in a festival context, this year Carlow Arts Festival will launch their very own custom built VIRTUAL FESTIVAL CAMPUS –  virtual venues will host live events, talks and screen content – this is the very first time the technology will be showcased for an Irish Festival and has only been seen at international groundbreaking festivals Burning Man and SXSW.

The programme for the public realm includes live events and experiences (with limited capacity) with highlights including: Woman In The Machine, co-created with VISUAL – an exciting large scale film, digital and live project emanating from Carlow’s landmark former Braun building where a myriad of artists from music, visual arts, performance and dance will take over this giant, abandoned landmark to create a 72 hour lost weekend event as part of Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh; Invisible Opera created by Michael Trainor with Carlow Arts Festival and Irish National Opera, which allows the audience interact with a sound and light installation using the individual instruments and voices from La bohème housed in individual tent structures; a continued focus on outdoor work will see SPRAOÍ create stunning installations around the town; Tumble Circus bring their brand new Traveling Cycle Circus to Residential and Care Homes around Carlow and Fidget Feet present an aerial explosion of dance and Irish music called A Handful Of Dreams; Carlovian Cian Kinsella (of Lords of Strutt fame), has been commissioned to create Grow a site-specific show on his own farmland and throughout the festival, a large scale, high-profile visual art commission from Maser will be created.

The programme for the digital realm will be screened online and at Carlow Arts Festival’s VIRTUAL FESTIVAL CAMPUS (access via Altspace VR) with virtual venues set to host live events, talks and screened content. The expanded Digital strand includes innovative and immersive digitally native events, a VR Cinema series of curated 360 films including Chalkroom by Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang and Rosario Dawson in the stunningly animated punk adventure Battlescar. Saolré – an Irish short film programme, features 6 films including Drifting, starring Paul Mescal.  Architecture On Film  is a programme of architecture led short films including The Women Of The Bauhaus, A homage to the forgotten Bauhauswomen. The Latin American Dance Films programme features documentary and fiction representing a slice of the expansive creativity of that land: America (Latina) – (Latin) America.

Woman In The Machine, the filmed experience and the programmed artist’s digital content from over 50 artists will be accessible at www.WomanInTheMachine.com as well as in the Virtual space from 11 June 2021.

Highlights for Live Digital Events include Prometheus a live interactive online show for children from Catalonia, that retells the Greek myth with Lego with an unexpected spin; The House Never Wins is an award-winning interactive game theatre piece that you can play from the comfort of your own home; Swan Lake The Game is a remix of the famous Russian ballet from the Netherlands, but torn apart and put back together again in the form of an online event, hosted in a unique virtual theatre environment.

A limited number of tickets for all of the live events and digital experiences go on sale today from www.CarlowArtsFestival.com. A number of the family friendly shows from Fidget Feet will have an allocation of tickets available to frontline workers and their families. And the Tumble Circus shows are only being performed in Care Home settings.

Announcing details of Carlow Arts Festival 2021, Festival Director Jo Mangan said:

“Our digitally native, online, virtual and live programme is Carlow Arts Festival continuing to carve out new territory. We have been building significant expertise and leadership in the digital realm over the last number of years with our Virtual Reality film programming alongside other digitally native work. As well as creating an entirely immersive 360 Virtual Festival Campus to house events this year, we are platforming the best boundary-leaping work in the digital realm from overseas as well as Ireland. 

As always we are making the Arts accessible to all, and have worked hard to ensure accessibility is woven into the entirety of the programme. This accessibility focus is also seen in the continuation of Free and Pick Your Price programming and events created specifically for front line workers and Care Homes. 

In addition to commissioning numerous projects this year, we have found ourselves becoming producers and makers ourselves. Bringing artists together from different backgrounds, planning, readjusting, reimagining together – this became the main order of business. This has proved both necessary as well as rewarding as we wrestled this year’s festival into shape. Thank you to all the artists and the amazing Carlow Arts Festival team who have held faith, and worked way above ‘the above and beyond’ with me towards creating our incredibly ambitious programme this year.”

See here for further information.

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