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News release - Issued by York Mediale

First artist commissions unveiled for new UK digital art festival: York Mediale 2018

Isaac Julien / Liz Orton / Agnes Meyer Brandis / Phil Coy / David Jaques / Semiconductor / Ryoichi Kurokawa / Matthew Plummer Fernandez

A world premiere exhibition of work by internationally renowned media artists and unique, large-scale 3D printed sculptures, locally made and placed across the city, will be just two of the headline projects on show at new media arts festival, York Mediale 2018, it was announced today.

“York Mediale is a brand-new festival for York – and indeed, the UK - providing a city-wide showcase for leading international digital artists and the best emerging media art talent from the UK and across the globe. We will be exhibiting exciting work from visionary artists, and introducing young people – from primary school to university students – to a whole range of exciting opportunities,” comments York Mediale’s Creative Director, Tom Higham. “We are working with the community and creative partners from the ground up, to create work that is challenging, inspiring and a lot of fun – we want people to experience something completely new, unexpected and different. We are developing a unique set of projects, commissions and installations made in, for and in response to the most beautiful historic city in the country. The work will premiere here in York, and several projects will then go on to tour the world.”

Tom revealed that the first two major commissions now confirmed for York Mediale 2018, which will run from 27th September to 6th October 2018, will be:

  • Strata, Rock, Dust, Stars, an exhibition at York Art Gallery curated by Mike Stubbs, Director of FACT Liverpool in partnership with York Museums Trust and York Mediale, showcasing works by artists Isaac Julien, Agnes Meyer Brandis, Phil Coy, Liz Orton, David Jaques, Semiconductor and Ryoichi Kurokawa. Featuring moving image, new media and interactive artwork, the exhibition explores how our understanding of geological strata has shaped our relationship with the world and beyond, through a poetic layering of human curiosity, exploration and reflections on the universe. The exhibition, which brings together the work of these internationally renowned artists for the first time, will premiere in York and will run in the City from 27th September 2018 until 6th January 2019, when it is planned to begin an international tour.
  • Large 3D printed sculptures will be installed around the city centre by British/Colombian artist Matthew Plummer Fernandez as part of an eight-month residency with York-based company Fluxaxis, part of the Stage One group. Plummer Fernandez has an international reputation for pushing computer modelling and 3D printing to its limits and he will be using large-scale 3D printing technology to create works that will be seen first in York.
  • Future Fires, an innovative leadership programme for young creatives, run in association with Contact Theatre and York St John University, is already underway. The training initiative for young people aged 18-30 offers participants expert support for exploring original creative ideas further and bringing them to life – from project management and sourcing funding to developing community engagement. The first workshops involving 20+ participants took place this month.

Festival attendees from 27th September to 6th October 2018 can also expect a full programme of live performances, dance and music across the city throughout the 10 days, with headline performances planned in some of York’s grand old spaces and some of the freshest new sounds in emerging music playing in lesser known spaces. In collaboration with established local promoters, York Mediale is planning residencies and performances at live music venues across the city as diverse as the National Centre for Early Music and The Crescent Community Venue, Micklegate.

Whilst York Mediale’s final programme is set to include exhibitions, installations, live performances, workshops, presentations and symposia, one of the core aims of the festival is to create sustainable, on-going activity all year round, that has tangible benefits for the city and the region. One area of major focus here will be York’s thriving technology and gaming sectors. “York already has a strong core of businesses, academics and creative individuals who are working right at the forefront of emerging media and technology, including game design, immersive virtual reality projects, the future of broadcasting, and innovative approaches to engaging with the city’s heritage through technology,” adds Tom Higham. “We hope to bring these communities together to share what they are developing and what they are learning with a wider audience, so that the city can truly benefit from the momentum and opportunity that is building here in York at the moment.”

“We also want to offer as many personal, professional and creative development opportunities that we can to young people from our Universities and from the wider community, who are inspired by and interested in what can be achieved when art and technology are brought together. We aim to make York a place to start things, try things, experiment and create with impact. What we have started with the Future Fires programme this month is only the beginning.”

York Mediale is being co-ordinated by a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) and is supported using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Partners in the realisation and delivery of the festival include City of York Council, Make It York, The University of York, York St John University, York Museums Trust, Science City York, the Guild of Media Arts, along with many other supporters involved in media and arts in the city. York Mediale will mark and celebrate York’s status as the UK’s first, and only, UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.

For more details, or to keep updated on the York Mediale 2018 programme, please visit


For further information or photographs, please contact:

Rebecca Ladbury
Ladbury PR, London
Tel: 07941 224 975 | 0208 962 1680

Notes to editors:

Please find below further information regarding York Mediale, Tom Higham, the artists exhibiting at Strata and their recent work, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, Fluxaxis and the Future Fires programme. A wide range of photographs are available on request.

About York Mediale
York Mediale is a brand new international media arts festival which will explore the future of art, technology and everything in between. Artists of all kinds will use technologies and media to redefine and tell the stories of our cities, our landscapes and our lives. This biennial event will offer opportunities for collaboration between artists, curators, businesses and educators throughout 2018, culminating in a 10 day programme of exhibitions, performances, lectures, workshops and much more, from 27th September - 6th October 2018. These events will mark and celebrate York’s status as the UK’s first, and only, UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.

About Tom Higham
Tom Higham was appointed Creative Director of York Mediale in August 2016. He works with artists, developers, designers, arts organisations and policy makers all over the world to curate and produce ambitious artworks and creative projects. He is interested in the enabling power of digital technology, and inspired by well considered, simple and effective ideas and artworks. Tom is deeply committed to the development of arts, culture and creative technology in the UK, and the North in particular. He has been a producer for Manchester International Festival and Executive Director of FutureEverything digital culture festival and innovation lab. His clients and collaborators have included Arts Council England, British Council, Innovate UK, Nesta, Digital Economy and Future Cities Catapult, TodaysArt, Hyper Island, Unsound, Insomnia, National Football Museum, Centre for Contemporary Culture Barcelona, Art Science Museum, Singapore and Sonar. He is also a two time fellow of Salzburg Global Forum and a fellow of Clore’s Emerging Leaders Programme.

About FACT
In 2018, FACT will celebrate its 30th anniversary as an organization and its 15th anniversary in the FACT Centre. Whilst celebrating our history FACT are also planning for the future. Strategically developing an invigorated international artistic programme and a growing role in the cultural, social and economic development of Liverpool City Region and the wider Northern Powerhouse.

FACT’s mission is to support, produce and present excellent, world-class visual art at the nexus of creative media and digital technology, while developing skills, talent, research, enterprise and innovation in inclusive and collaborative For more information about York Art Gallery please visit Artists Exhibiting at Strata Exhibition

Agnes Meyer-Brandis
Agnes Meyer-Brandis, born 1973 in Aachen, Germany, studied mineralogy for a year, then transferred to the Art Academy in Maastricht, the Düsseldorf Art Academy and the Cologne Media Art Academy. She comes from a background of both sculpture and new media art. Her work, exhibited worldwide and awarded, is exploring the zone between fact and fiction - an artistic research on the quest for a degree of reality within constructions. Agnes Meyer-Brandis is the founder of the “Forschungsfloss FFUR / Research Raft “Institute for Art and subjective Science”, that continuously adds to her “Tools to Search“ series.

Based on an artistic experiment and performance in weightlessness conducted in cooperation with the German Space Agency DLR her work concluded in a series of realisations dedicated to gravity, flying, floating and falling, manifesting themselves in various installations and long term performances or experiments such as the “Moon Goose Colony” (since 2011, ongoing).

David Jacques
David Jacques (b. 1964) is a multimedia artist based in Liverpool U.K. working primarily with Painting, Video and Text. His productions are realised as cycles, intensively developed over long periods resulting in complex narrative arrangements and woven through a variety of disciplines. Subjects engaged with identify as; Historiography, Mythopoesis and the Socio-Political and are often concerned with temporal slippage, factual / fictive play and a picaresque, humorous delivery.

Liz Orton
Liz Orton is a visual artist whose practice is based on entanglements of landscape, technology and the body. She engages widely with archives, both real and imagined, to explore the tensions between personal and systematic forms of knowledge. The Longest and Darkest of Recollections was made as part of her Mead Fellowship award at the University of Arts in 2016. Liz teaches BA Photography at the London College of Communication and regularly provides workshops and training in collaborative photographic practices. She currently holds a Wellcome Trust arts grant for her long term project about medical image technologies and archives, Digital Insides. Her first book, A Handful of Soil for the Whole Horizon, was shortlisted for the MACK First Book Award, the Kassel Dummy Award and the Unseen Photobook Award. Liz has exhibited widely and recent group shows include The Mile End Arts Pavillion, FACT Liverpool and Format Photography Festival.

Phil Coy
Phil Coy’s practice collages concepts rooted in the radical art and literature of the 20th century, with the languages and architectures of contemporary global commerce. His work considers the perceptual shift from analogue to digital media, particularly in the context of landscape representation. Forthcoming and recent exhibitions include: South London Gallery (2018); Royal Observatory Greenwich (2018); Annely Juda Fine Art (2018); FACT (2017); Ferens Art Gallery and Hull Maritime Museum (2016); Wilkinson Gallery (2016); 58th and 59th BFI London Film Festivals (2014 and 2015). His recent light poem, your right to continued existence (2016) is permanently installed on the Caledonian Road in London.

Semiconductor is UK artist duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt. They have been working together for twenty years producing moving image works that explore the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lens of science and technology. Exhibitions include Let There Be Light, House of Electronic Arts, Basel (solo show); Worlds in the Making, FACT, Liverpool (solo show) Earth; Art of a Changing World, Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Ryoichi Kurokawa
Kurokawa is a Japanese artist, born in 1978, who lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Kurokawa’s works take on multiple forms such as installations, recordings, and concert pieces. He composes the time sculpture with the field recordings and the digital generated structures, and reconstructs architecturally the audiovisual phenomenon. In recent years, his works are shown at international festivals and museums including Tate Modern[UK], Venice Biennale[IT], Palais de Tokyo[FR], Transmediale[DE], EMPAC[US], YCAM[JP] and Sonar[ES]. In 2010, he was awarded the Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica in the Digital Musics & Sound Art category.

Isaac Julien
Filmmaker and installation artist, Isaac Julien CBE, was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. His multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. His 1989 documentary-drama exploring author Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance titled Looking for Langston garnered Julien a cult following while his 1991 debut feature Young Soul Rebels won the Semaine de la Critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Having recently worked on conserving and restoring Looking for Langston images from his extensive archive, he exhibited of photographic works at Victoria Miro Gallery, London (2017), Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco (2016) and Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam (2016) with a screening of the film in its original 16mm print at Tate Britain. Julien’s work is held in collections that include: Tate, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; the LUMA Foundation, Arles; the Kramlich Collection; the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art (Zeitz MOCAA), Cape Town. In 2016 the Towner Art Gallery Collection (Eastbourne, UK) acquired Ten Thousand Waves (2010) as part of a Moving Image Fund program. Ten Thousand Waves, a globally acclaimed multiple screen installation work, premiered at the 2010 Sydney Biennale and has gone on to be exhibited extensively - recently at Platform-L in Seoul (2017) and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris (2016) as well as the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2013, with whom he also published a comprehensive monographic survey of his life and work, titled ‘Riot’.

Julien has taught extensively, holding posts such as Chair of Global Art at University of Arts London (2014-2016) and Professor of Media Art at Staatliche Hoscschule fur Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, Germany (2008 – 2016). He is the recipient of the James Robert Brudner ‘83 Memorial Prize and Lectures at Yale University (2016). Most recently he received the Charles Wollaston Award (2017), for most distinguished work at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and was awarded the title Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours, 2017.

Matthew Plummer Fernandez
Matthew Plummer Fernandez is a British/Colombian artist that creates sculpture, software, online interventions, and installations, often in connection, producing and reflecting on contemporary socio-technical entanglements and their comical discontents. He received an MA from the Royal College of Art, 2009 and is currently at Goldsmiths, University of London conducting a PhD. He runs the popular blog Algopop on algorithms in everyday life. His work has been presented extensively, including solo shows at iMal in collaboration with JODI, and Nome Gallery in Berlin. He has been commissioned by the Pompidou in Paris, the V&A in London, and AND Festival, Manchester. He is currently represented by Nome Gallery and is an invited resident at Somerset House Studios.

About Fluxaxis
Fluxaxis is an advanced manufacturer combining 3D printing, 3D scanning, CNC machining and 3D design to redefine the ‘future of making’. Spun out of creative manufacturer, Stage One, Fluxaxis is a versatile business offering bespoke and contract additive manufacturing using some of the world’s most sophisticated technologies. Fluxaxis can 3D print at large scale for almost any application, faster than ever before, whilst uniquely offering a range of finishes for an end-to-end service. Fluxaxis’ parent company Stage One is a creative construction and manufacture company working within the architecture, theatre and events industries. Collaborating with some of the world’s most creative minds, including Zaha Hadid, Thomas Heatherwick and RSH+P, it uses digital technology alongside traditional skills to create complex forms.

Future Fires Programme
Future Fires supports diverse young leaders through delivering training, mentoring and employability skills. The Future Fires programme has been run by Contact in Manchester since 2007, and its inclusion in York Mediale is Contact's first regional pilot as part of its ambition to roll out Future Fires nationally. The project has developed to become an innovative leadership programme that empowers young people under 30 to design and deliver creative projects that directly benefit their own local communities. Working together, Contact and York Mediale hope to engage, inspire, train and highlight young talent, starting with a free two-day course in February, providing the opportunity to explore creative ideas whilst receiving support and guidance from experts. Training will focus on key areas such as; project management, digital skills, fundraising, marketing, outreach and facilitation and will enable young people to set up successful projects that matter to them