Brighton Digital Festival invites two filmmakers to interrogate Black personal and ancestral histories

The open-access and community-driven festival celebrates its tenth anniversary by inviting Amaal Said and Ifeatu Nnaobi to share new work exploring the concept of ancestral history as it relates to racial identity.

19 October 2021

Brighton Digital Festival, a ten-day event celebrating digital culture through art and technology, returns for a tenth year at the end of October. For the event, Amaal Said, a multi-disciplinary artist, will host If I Could Get To You – an audio-visual piece using interviews, film and photography to explore the process of understanding our personal histories, the distance between people and places and documenting our experience of them. Viewers can experience projected visual collages and a series of soundscapes accessible by using a QR code by peering through the windows of Enter Gallery at night. Through projection, ghost-like figures in the family archive become a physical presence and the sounds of notes, diaries, recipes, and voice memos fuse together to turn fragments into an overarching end product.

Whilst Ifeatu Nnaobi, a filmmaker and photographer, will be presenting Ancestral Wisdom – Ask an Ancestor: it’s an interactive installation that aims to invoke deeper questions of heritage and connection for Black and people of colour living in the diaspora through artificial intelligence. Audiences can ask questions that they wish they could ask their ancestors through a little box; in return, they can hear a pre-recorded response of another person speaking about a question that they wish they could ask their own ancestor and why. They can repeat the experience as many times as they like.

The exhibitions are just two of over 50 events that will take place throughout the festival. The BDF hopes that its events will enable viewers to explore key issues affecting our daily lives including climate change; the role of digital tech in a pandemic; education; and the importance of equal access to the production-consumption and understanding of digital culture. Another one of these events, for example, is Signals: a children’s workshop that uses interactive design and games to enable kids to think about historical events in a different way.

The festival programme for 2021 has three strands: the Core Programme, BDF Sessions and BDF Open Programme. The first core programme is produced by Lighthouse and is made up of five events commissioned by Digital Democracies and created in partnership with Freedom Festival in Hull and Frequency Festival in Lincoln. Whereas BDF Sessions brings together a series of five, one-off discussion masterclasses which aim to cover a range of timely issues. And hoping to reflect the festival’s roots and core manifesto, the open programme includes a range of non-curated, city-led events from all members of the community. Like Carousel TV, which provides a national platform for learning disabled artists to display their creativity.

Being a grassroots-led organisation, Brighton Digital Festival has the creative community of Greater Brighton at its heart. These strands hope to ensure the festival is maintaining its festival’s purpose “to create an accessible and collaborative public space where individuals can help to collectively showcase and shape our digital creative future,” as Alli Beddoes, Brighton Digital Festival CEO, says. Beddoes wants to help ensure the festival continues to “reflect the city through different people’s voices and experiences as well as to challenge the norms of digital culture. We look forward to seeing you at some of the events.”

The Brighton Digital Festival 2021 will run from 29 October to 7 November.


Courtesy of Brighton Digital Festival.

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Courtesy of Brighton Digital Festival.

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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