Frequency 2015: Liberty, freedom and the digital revolution


Contemporary art and digital innovation will transform iconic venues and medieval architecture across the historic city of Lincoln when the Frequency Festival of Digital Culture returns to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta this autumn.

Showcasing an extraordinary programme of digital art exhibitions, bespoke installations, live performance and energetic debate, the biennial festival takes place throughout Lincoln from 23rd October – 1st November 2015.

This year, as the festival promises the most exciting line-up of international artists to date, Frequency will adopt the theme of ‘liberation’ and celebrate the legacy of ideas first put forward in Magna Carta in the thirteenth century. The city of Lincoln is home to one of only four surviving copies of the ‘Great Charter’, which is recognised as the foundation of constitutional democracy and the source of many of the civil liberties enjoyed in free countries today.

Digital artists and interactive designers from across the globe, up and down the UK, and from the local area will present new and exciting works of art exploring how the digital revolution has impacted, transformed and enhanced contemporary ideas of liberty and freedom.

seeper – the acclaimed collective which has produced innovative works for the BBC, Glastonbury Festival, Sony and Google – will headline Frequency 2015 with the specially-commissioned world premiere of The One, The Few and The Many at Lincoln Castle, on 30th-31st October. Taking place in the heart of the Castle’s medieval grounds, this monumental outdoor projection show will reimagine the Magna Carta, creating a unique digital playground through a spectacular light, laser and audio display. As the culmination of the Frequency finale weekend, The One, The Few and The Many will bring to a close the city of Lincoln’s historic Magna Carta celebrations.

The pioneering Frequency festival comes to Lincoln for the third time thanks to an established partnership between the University of Lincoln, Lincoln BIG, Visit Lincoln, Lincolnshire One Venues and festival directors Threshold Studios – an artist-led creative media and visual arts organisation.

Wife - Frequency 2013
Wife – Frequency 2013

Uzma Johal, Threshold Studios, said: “We are living in the midst of a technological revolution, in a world that is progressing with such pace that it is mind-blowing to think of the technological advancements that tomorrow might bring. It’s this potential, this explosion of innovation, which makes digital culture so exciting for us all. That’s why we created Frequency – an access-for-all festival that celebrates and debates this fascinating, ever-growing realm, in the heart of Lincoln.

“Frequency 2015 represents a particularly poignant moment, as we take a look back at the ideas of Magna Carta and look ahead to what the future might hold.”

Frequency is renowned for converting historic and unique locations – from an underground Roman gate-house to an 11th century Grade I listed church – into inspiring venues for virtual reality and digital demonstrations. It integrates huge numbers of contemporary art installations into Lincoln’s landscape; a task that is supported by hundreds of volunteers.

The festival brings with it new opportunities for creative professionals, recent graduates and current students, by creating a number of internship positions and inviting contributions from local artists, many of whom come from the University of Lincoln.

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln, said: “Frequency is a real highlight of Lincoln’s cultural calendar, with audiences able to stumble across the work of eminent artists with often revolutionary installations in the most unexpected of places across the city. The festival represents a fascinating showcase of innovative artwork from local, national and international artists, and we are particularly delighted to be partnering with the festival in 2015 – the University of Lincoln’s ‘Year of Liberty’ – as we celebrate the anniversary of Magna Carta, and the hot-bed of creative talent we have here in the city.”

Conversio, Trope - Frequency 2013
Conversio, Trope – Frequency 2013

Frequency is supported by funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts scheme, and in 2015 it marks the culmination of a year of major Magna Carta-inspired arts projects, which celebrate the legacy and contemporary relevance of the charter.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “Frequency Festival is a wonderful fusion of new and old, showcasing some of the best contemporary digital art and culture in a place steeped in so much of our nation’s history. For the Arts Council, Frequency Festival is a chance for people to enjoy the variety of the digital art on offer out there right in the heart of Lincoln. The festival also plays an important part in creating opportunities for local artists, graduates and students to develop their talent and skills, which is vital as we look to the future of our country’s creative industries.”

In 2013, Frequency welcomed 15,000 visitors and boosted the local economy by more than half a million pounds.

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Story credits: Elizabeth Allen

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