Magnetic North Blog
We hope that you are all keeping well and looking forward to better times in 2021.
Magnetic North has just published a summary annual report for the year ended 31 March 2020. You can read it here.
An annual report is always and inevitably out of date, but 2019-2020 now feels like a different world, never mind a different year. So we also wanted to share a brief account of what we’ve been doing since March 2020 when the world changed. Magnetic North is in the fortunate position of being regularly funded by Creative Scotland, and our aim has been to use that position of privilege to keep working to support artists.
During the Covid-19 crisis we have:
In January 2020 I took part in Magnetic North’s Rough Mix Residency, where I was given the opportunity to collaborate with artists from varying practices on a new work. The other artists were Flavia Hevia, Uther Dean, Gavin Glover, Greg Sinclair, Kol Sigfúsdóttir, Rachel Drazek, Apphia Campbell, Claire Willoughby, Elspeth Turner, Marion Geoffray, Nicholas Alban and Sean Hay.
Leading up to the residency, I was really unsure about what I wanted to explore, with different projects tumbling around in my mind, I felt a real pressure to pick the ‘right’ one, and to come out of the residency with a really solid WIP. I was also a little unsure of how to use the main resource available to us: six performers, especially as I was still unclear about what form I wanted to explore.
Erewhon, New Zealand playwright Arthur Meek’s collaboration with Edinburgh’s own Magnetic North, will have its UK premiere at Summerhall from 1 August. The new multi-media play brings together technologies separated by a century in a very contemporary investigation of our relationship with artificial intelligence and machines.
Adapted from Victorian science fiction novel Erewhon by Samuel Butler, Erewhon premiered at Christchurch Arts Festival in 2017. This imaginative production shines new light on Samuel Butler’s satirical novel about Victorian society. Published in 1872, Butler's fictional account tells the story of a young colonial British explorer who discovers a remote community living in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. They’re the descendants of a technologically-advanced culture that had to destroy all their machinery after it became artificially intelligent and malicious. What first appears to be a utopia - where happiness is paramount, and machinery and inventions are forbidden - soon turns out to be a society filled with hypocrisies and blind-spots just as severe as any other.
Read the full Erewhon media release (PDF).