August 2015: BBC Proms Extra Live. BBC Proms Extra Live. In the second of two events for the BBC I interviewed literary biographer Dame Professor Hermione Lee about pioneer and feminist novelist Willa Cather on the centenary of the publication of her novel The Song of the Lark. The event was 45 minutes live at the Royal College of Music but it was edited for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at the interval of the prom concert that evening. The edited version can be listened to here.
July 2015: BBC Proms Extra Live. In the first of two events for the BBC I interviewed Oscar-winning composer Steven Price about film music and in particular the influence of Holst’s The Planets. The event was 45 minutes live at the Royal College of Music but it was edited for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at the interval of the prom concert that evening. The edited version can be listened to here.
May 2015: Web We Want Festival, Southbank Centre
On May 30th I had the pleasure of chairing a panel at the Southbank Centre’s Web Went Want festival . The panel was entitled ‘When Science Fiction Becomes Reality: AI in the Digital Age‘ and it was organised by the ANXS Collective, a powerful triad of three smart young women working hard to promote and develop public engagement activities that cross the arts/science divide. I was hugely impressed by them, and by their work. The panel featured scientist Professor Murray Shanahan, Professor of Cognitive Robotics in the Department of Computing at Imperial College London and recently scientific advisor to the film Ex_Machina, alongside artist and fellow SF-lover Richard Adams, and filmmaker Khalil Sullins. Khalil’s debut feature film, the sci-fi thriller Listening, was released in 2014 and had its international premiere at the 2015 Sci-Fi-London Film Festival. It’s the very best kind of low-budget independent film: original script; careful and beautiful production; and with a creative license not compromised by the financial grip of a major studio. It’s well worth watching for an intriguing thought experiment about the consequences of scientifically produced telepathy, as well as for an example of clever and stylistically impressive filmmaking.
The festival talks and events were interested in the wonders of modern technology, particularly the web, and the way in which it has changed our relationship to ourselves, each other, and the world. Much discussed, of course, were the negative effects as well as the positive effects. Fittingly enough then, I’m pleased to be able to benefit from the power of the internet to share a video of the entire event, streamed live during the talk, the only negative side of which is the rather imperfect quality.