Level G + Cinema, Barbican Centre
The Barbican presents Tune in to Access on 16 March, a celebratory free day of performances and participation exploring accessibility, technology and the arts. With a special focus on how technology and audience participation can influence and re-imagine musical performance, Tune in to Access highlights organisations that use creative approaches in access to the arts, and aims to provoke thinking about how to break down barriers to music-making. Tune in to Access marks Disabled Access Day, a biannual nation-wide initiative powered by the disabled access review website and charity Euan’s Guide.
Louise Jeffreys, Artistic Director at the Barbican said: ‘At the Barbican, we believe that providing the best access possible is an essential component of our role as a world class arts venue. We are delighted to mark Disabled Access Day with a programme that showcases disabled artists and explores the possibilities for improved accessibility in the arts.’
Drake Music, the leading national organisation working in music, disability and technology, presents The Radical Sound of Many, a showcase of five new commissions by disabled musicians which redefine notions of audience, performer and live music. In this experimental series of world premieres, the Barbican’s Level G will be transformed into ad-hoc studios and performance spaces as audiences are invited to mould, mash up and be a part of the music-making experience.
Featuring his solar-powered electric wheelchair loop-desk, Steve Varden explores the theme of communication in a cloud-connected world in the The Steve Varden Cloud Looping Experience, shaped from found sounds and snippets of conversation.
Robyn Steward, an avant-garde jazz musician who uses live trumpet and loop pedals to create melody and rhythm, brings together improvisation and interaction in Robyn makes music up for you. In this relaxed performance Steward will immerse herself in, and move among, the audience, creating music with input from listeners.
Oliver Cross combines a passion for film-making with a fusion of English and Romanian folk music in The Visitor, an evocative commission that is improvised and performed live with three musicians, featuring an open workshop before the performance and an invitation to the audience to join the jam.
Inspired by a new hope for the future, Dike Okoh’s electro-pop work 2049 upends typical dystopian future fantasies. A humanoid is sent to present day London from the year 2049 with news of a cosmic event that changes human brain chemistry for ever. Using bespoke interactive technology Okoh invites spectators to take part in an exploration of cerebral chemistry, thinking about signal flow and interruption in a musical exploration of the electrical/mechanical processes happening in our brains.
In Something From Nothing by Ewan Mackay, the performance begins with a blank score sheet and ends with the world premiere. What happens in-between is up to the audience. With this commission, every time the work is performed it is created anew, a constant premiere.
Following the Drake Music showcase, Britten Sinfonia cellist Caroline Dearnley performs synaesthetic composer Alexia Sloane’s Gate, Gate, which explores melody and text in Buddhist chanting.
Closing the day is a panel discussion ‘Look Deeper: Accessible Music Technology for Performance’, featuring composer Alexia Sloane and Barry Farrimond, Chief Executive of Open Up Music and developer of accessible musical instrument the Clarion. The panel is moderated by Eddie Shelter, Events Producer at the Barbican. Exploring how music technology has influenced performance, the panellists share their experiences of using new technology in their careers and the challenges and barriers they have faced. A Q&A follows the panel discussion.
In addition to the music program on 16 March, Barbican Cinema and Human Rights Watch Film Festival will also present two accessible HRWFF screenings. No Box for Me. An Intersex Story, directed by Floriane Devigne, is a beautifully crafted, poetic documentary exposing the limitations of binary gender definitions and the irreversible physical and psychological impact of non-consensual gender assignment surgery on intersex infants. Screwdriver is award-winning director Bassam Jarbawi’s debut feature, shot entirely on location in the West Bank with a largely Palestinian crew, highlighting the trauma of reintegration after incarceration. Both screenings are followed by ScreenTalks and will be BSL-interpreted and captioned. Barbican Cinemas will also offer an extended programme of accessible New Release titles the following week.
Also open on 16 March is Tonight the World, an exhibition in The Curve which runs until 7 April by recent Jarman-award winning artist and filmmaker Daria Martin. In this, her first solo commission for a major London public gallery, Martin uses both film and computer gaming technology to create an installation in which visitors can explore the vivid memories of her grandmother, an artist who fled the imminent threat of the Nazi occupation in 1938.
In 2013 the Barbican attained the silver level in Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice which seeks to improve Deaf and disabled people's access to live music across the UK. The Barbican is committed to improving accessibility that goes beyond what is required by equality law. More information about the Barbican’s accessible facilities, performances and membership scheme can be found on the accessibility web page.