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Alpha-ville's 2014 Exchange event brings art, tech and design to London - find out more

Alpha-ville is a London-based organisation dedicated to connecting the fields of art, technology, design and digital culture through events and a webzine at alpha-ville.co.uk. The organisation was established in London in 2009 by creative producer and curator Carmen Salas and creative entrepreneur Estela Oliva. Alpha-ville organises events, commissions works and curates programmes for arts and cultural orgs, festivals, promoters, events and agencies.

With their latest incarnation imminent - we caught up with the co-Directors to find out more.

DJ: Hi Estela and Carmen, how is everything with you? With Alpha-ville EXCHANGE just a month away, it must be a busy and exciting time!

CS: Hold on, just month to go! Agggrrr that means no sleep for the next few weeks! Well, I guess that’s the way it is.

EO: Very excited to see another Alpha-ville event in the new year!

DJ: What’ve you both been working on over the past couple of weeks?

CS: I’ve been working on the next Alpha-ville Live project - a series of ongoing events dedicated to exploring the relationship between sound, image and digital technologies. The dates, location and programme are now confirmed, really excited!

EO: Apart from working full time for my day job, I have been working on a series of films for the Exchange event. We have interviewed some of the artists who will present and are now editing the material. We expect the first film to be out next week, so watch out :)

DJ: Alpha-ville has put on a range of events showcasing some exceptionally innovative work over the last four years, but EXCHANGE seems different. What is the idea behind the event, and what can people expect from the day?

CS / EO: The concept of “Exchange” was first used during the 2011 Festival. It was a guiding theme for a festival strand which comprised a series of events (including a symposium and workshops) for artists and professionals from across the art, design, technology and creative industries spectrum. We’ve developed the event concept during a brainstorming session early this year. It’s very much a project in progress that shows the many ideas that radiate out from the Alpha-ville core.

The idea behind the event is to promote and showcase artists and creatives who are at the forefront of their disciplines; and to facilitate connections between and across industries. The event will feature a full day of inspirational talks and presentations, alongside spaces to meet artists and industry peers. The evening will see a programme of music from some of our favourites DJs at the moment.

If you come to the event this is what you can expect:

- Get new ideas to help you create innovative projects and experiences for your audience, partners and clients.
- Meet like-minded individuals to exchange ideas and discuss potential projects.
- Get inspired and be led through the current landscape at the hands of some of the most innovative artists, designers and creatives working today.

DJ: The line-up for EXCHANGE includes a number of high-profile names spanning art, tech and the creative industries. How did you go about selecting those on the bill? How has their work inspired you?

CS: We’re interested in showcasing artists and creatives who work across platforms and mediums with the aim of pushing their creativity and experimentation to the limits. The artists we work with are difficult to pin down to a single genre - one good example is Sougwen Chung, a multi-talented artist who works across installation, sculpture, drawing and performance.

EO: Alpha-ville Exchange features a new wave of artists who cross boundaries and make use of digital and analogue tools to build ground breaking projects. We have featured some of their works in the past either online or at events, but they have never presented at Alpha-ville. So it’s a very special occasion to see them speaking about their practice and spend some time together.

DJ: Though a burgeoning industry like digital art creates opportunities, it can also lead to certain difficulties. What do you think are the most challenging issues facing artists and cultural producers at the moment?

CS: For cultural producers the main issues are lack of funding, infrastructure and support from established institutions. I still think that the UK arts and cultural sector is stagnated and it lacks innovation. For artists, the main challenges are lack of funding and support to create and showcase their work.

EO: It’s a very new industry, and as such nothing is established. This creates all kinds of situations. For producers, they need to find a way to make projects fit in the larger scale of things while artists are creating faster than the industry can catch up with. For example, artists create works that are not easily picked up by galleries or cultural institutions, so they end up working more with festivals - although this seems to be changing. When you are an innovator in your industry it’s hard to benchmark yourself against peers.

DJ: With EXCHANGE kicking off 2014 in style, the coming year looks set to be an exciting time for Alpha-ville. What are you plans for the future?

CS / EO: We’re planning an Alpha-ville Live event with Kings Place for Spring 2014, and also exploring other opportunities with companies, public institutions, venues and promoters. As creative entrepreneurs, we also spend time researching and incubating projects that then have the possibility of turning into new ventures.

DJ: Thanks, Estela and Carmen. Good luck with EXCHANGE!

Alpha-ville EXHANGE
Friday 17th January 2014
at Rich Mix Cinema and Arts Centre
alpha-ville.co.uk/exchange