Abandon Normal Devices (AND) | Festival of New Cinema, Digital Culture & Art

// Press Release

Thu 21 – Sun 24 September 2017

Abandon Normal Devices Festival | Festival of new cinema, digital culture and art | Castleton, Peak District National Park (UK)

Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival, the UK’s only roaming digital festival, surfaces in 2017 in the caves and rugged summits of the Peak District National Park. This biennial festival of digital culture, art and film returns for its 8th edition this September in Castleton, UK, with 4 days of site-specific installations and events.

Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival will erupt across the Derbyshire village of Castleton, which lies in the Peak District National Park, the UK’s original National Park.

This year we head out for an ambitious and awe-inspiring series of vertical adventures that will take place above and below ground. A roster of digital interventions, geological installations, pioneering technological experiments and previously unseen film screenings will take-over Castleton and the surrounding peaks and caverns.

To the west of the village of Castleton, in the National Trust's Peak District Estate, lies the dramatic v-shaped valley of Winnats Pass, for the Festival we will see Waterlicht, a breathtaking, large-scale digital installation by Dutch Designer, Daan Roosegaarde and Studio Roosegaarde, flood the valley with light to reveal the geological and glacial histories of the valley. Artist, Steve Maher will run a series of public workshops using Heavy Metal Detectors that have been hacked to play locally-sourced, pre-recorded Heavy Metal Music every time a piece of metal is located. An augmented-reality exhibition will geo-fence a part of Castleton in My Wall is Your Filter Bubble, exploring the ideas of border and silos being created by digital cultures.

Entering the voids, shafts and veins of the peaks for a subterranean Festival, an international selection of Artists, Designers, Composers, and Music Producers will descend. In Peak Cavern Beatrice Dillon, James Ferraro, and Ikbal Simamora Lubys will create, conjure and perform a series of radical and ground-breaking new works and one-off performances for Listening to the Dark. In Treak Cliff Cavern, an exhibition, Digital Dark Ages, featuring a selection of firebrand Artists from the UK and further afield, including Thomas Thwaites, Simone C Niquille, Martin Howse, Jamie Allen, Charlotte Jarvis and Nora Al-Badri, will probe the possibilities and challenges we face when preserving our digital lives for future generations in unique manifestations, and experiments.

The peaks and caverns of Castleton will be turned into a laboratory - a temporary haven - inviting world-class artists to reflect on time, the underground and sites of industrial discovery.

Featuring: Nora Al-Badri / Antoine Bertin / Rose Butler / Arcángel Constantini / Beatrice Dillon / James Ferraro / Leslie García / Sioban Imms  / Charlotte Jarvis / Lindsay Lawson / Ruth Levene / Victoria Lucas / Steve Maher / Martha Maya / Martha McGuinn / Gibrann Morgado / Ian Nesbitt / Simone C Niquille  / Ooni Studio / Diego Ortega / Dan Roosegaarde / Alfredo Salazar-Caro / Shift Register / Ikbal Simamora Lubys / Thomas Thwaites and more to be announced soon...

Artists have long-explored how space is controlled according to what is above and below. From aerial imagery, militarized airspaces and ‘luxified skies’, to the subterranean spaces of mining, storage, and extraction. In 2017, AND Festival will reveal the earth’s layers, from the drone’s eye view to subterranean bunkers. The festival will be a prophetic, provocative and uncanny reflection on the verticality of the earth.

AND Festival 2017 will be an exhilarating exploration of the terrain, which will appeal to adrenalin junkies, cave dwellers, film fans and those who want to appreciate the natural world through a new geological and evolutionary frame. Revealing an alternative approach to understanding this dramatic landscape, AND invites you to abandon your normal devices and experience the landscape anew.

Gabrielle Jenks, Abandon Normal Devices, Director, said

“We are looking forward to venturing to a new destination with AND Festival this year, the location of Castleton in the Peak District National Park provides a site for discovery for artist and audiences alike and we have some truly exciting site-specific works in which we are delighted to bring to the Peak District National Park.”

Simon Malcolm, the Peak District National Park’s, Director of Commercial Development and Outreach, said:

“We are thrilled to be welcoming the Abandon Normal Devices Festival to the Peak District National Park. This is an innovative and inspiring festival with a new approach to engaging our visitors.

Helen Tuck, National Trust, Visitor Experience Manager, said

“We are excited to be working with the Abandon Normal Devices team to bring the festival to the Peak District. It is an exciting new partnership for us at the National Trust, and a we are eager to showcase the beautiful and dramatic landscape we have here in the Peak District in new and interesting ways.”

The festival is a mix of free and ticketed events and features 4 days of unusual and unexpected installations and an eclectic mix of events – all responding to the natural environment, which evidences the changes to the earth from the ice age to modern day mining.

 Visit www.andfestival.org.uk for full details on the programme, featuring exhibitions, subterranean adventures and film events.

 Tickets on sale now www.andfestival.org.uk


Further elements of the programme will be released over the coming weeks including talks, workshops, and special events.



Drawing on the site-specific locations of this year's Festival, we look at the layers of mineral and material. In response to increasing demand to understand what our electronic devices are made from, the theme of 'Strata' enquires into the the production processes that interweave through landscapes and the man-made, looking at new and expanded ideas of where matter begins and ends.

We Dwell Below // Ooni Studio. Concept and direction by Laura Juo-Hsin Chen

Thu 21 - Sun 24 September

Visitor Centre, Castleton


We Dwell Below invites you to sit round the campfire and traverse the underground as a cave-dweller, exploring alternative habitats through excavating the different layers of strata. You will be able to eat your way to the underground with ‘uncivilized’ fellow dwellers in a slapstick and farcical way.

Laura Juo-Hsin Chen has called herself the Michel Gondry of virtual reality (VR) and with Ooni has created a multi-user VR experience in which visitors can adorn themselves with custom costumes, and are treated to a CGI rendered environment, which includes animated geological matter.

Waterlicht // Daan Roosegaarde

Thu 21, Fri 22 & Sat 23 September 2017

Winnats Pass, Castleton, Peak District National Park


Set in the dramatic v-shaped valley Winnats Pass that acts as a gateway into Castleton, WATERLICHT will virtually flood the landscape with light and smoke to reveal the geological history of the site and the water-table in the area. Stretching back into the times of the Ice Age, when glacial rivers carved the landscape, WATERLICHT will visualise how high the water level could reach without human intervention.

Created using the latest LED technology, software and lenses, WATERLICHT won the Award for Best Lighting Environment Design, 2016 in Shenzhen, China.

The Real Smiling Rock // Lindsay Lawson

Thu 21 - Sun 24 September 2017

Location tbc


The smiling rock has been listed on eBay for more than five years by an eBay seller named guitarpickman.com, for $1,000,000. It has been viewed more than 28,000 times and 97 people currently have the listing saved in their Watch Lists. Nearly 200 offers have been made to purchase the smiling rock for amounts less than $1,000,000 and none of them have been accepted. The high price of the rock is due to its singularity: it is a geode boasting a clownish smiley face. At AND Festival this year you will be able to make a pilgrimage to The Real Smiling Rock, the first time it has been in the UK, as Lawson responds to the appeal of object-orientated love and desire. She opts instead for a kind of ‘equality’ of things and beings in the world, in real life or virtual.

Formation // Various Artists

Thu 21 - Sun 24 September

Location to be announced, Castleton


Abandon Normal Devices and Site Gallery, Sheffield present Formation, a series of radical statements, moving image projects and tours, transforming an industrial location into a site of material investigation. Beginning with the themes of mineral and material, across undulating and unfolding strata, earthly matter will be weaved into narratives from the deep. Featuring artists Rose Butler, Victoria Lucas, Ruth Levene and Ian Nesbitt with further artists to be announced, Formation challenges geological, technical and socio-political conditions, investigating the implications of industrial mining and extraction processes, rare earth minerals, and their connection to global supply chains.


The Dis-Location strand is interested in the glitches, chasms, and fissures, opening up between our lives in the actual and virtual. A series of Artists and Designers experiment with ever-evolving technologies including, virtual reality, augmented reality, haptic instruments and emerging online tools.

My Wall is Your Filter Bubble // Various Artists, Curated by Doreen A. Ríos and Matthew Plummer-Fernandez

Thu 21 - Sun 24 September



An augmented reality exhibition mapping the surface of the Peaks in the village of Castleton. In our online lives many of us find ourselves has us searching for answers and opinions, and yet, despite the ease with which we can reach out to each other, the echo chamber effect magnifies news and opinions similar to our own, stopping other views and voices from getting in.  Using this hard-felt reality as a metaphor for broader issues around accessibility, inequality, and hierarchy, My Wall is Your Filter Bubble features six thought-provoking commissions by Mexican Artists to share their stories each of the works questioning how social media platforms have provided people with a public voice, at the same time that online filters, firewalls and algorithms continue to restrict many from being heard.

In reflection of these virtual barricades, Curators Doreen A. Ríos and Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, will create a geo-fence that will operate as an intangible border. This virtual geographic boundary will act as an online perimeter, meaning that the exhibition is only accessible to visitors online when in the physical vicinity of geo-fence.

Heavy Metal Detector // Steve Maher

Thu 21 - Sun 24 September 2017

Visitor Centre, Castleton


Heavy Metal Detector is a cross-between a walk, workshop and performance specially commissioned for scanning the surface of the historic site of Castleton. This geomancing artwork gives members of the public the opportunity to become metal-detectors for the day, with a twist.

Using customized metal detectors, Artist Stephen Maher will lead tours around the site of Castleton. Every time a piece of metal is located under the ground a selection of locally-sourced Hardrock and Metal songs will play through headphones. Audiences navigate between rethinking their relationship to history, often communicated as something that is abstract and linear, and sub-cultures, which are often experienced through social rituals and sound. Through the act of listening, detecting metal becomes a way to connect these two often, disparate worlds.


Listening to the Dark

Drawing on ancient mysterious mythologies, esoteric oral histories, and sonic meditations and technologies, the Listening to the Dark strand invites us in to marvel at the sounds of the underground. Set in the sensory deprevation of the subterranean, this part of the AND 17 Programme pushes the boundaries of the human sensory apparatus in durational explorations, otherworldly experiments and operas, and mystical expeditions.

The Hive // Ikbal Simamora Lubys

Thu 21 - Sun 24 September 2017

Peak Cavern, Castleton


For Listening to the Dark, Indonesian artist Ikbal Simamora Lubys, will produce a bespoke, sculptural musical instrument in response to the mouth of Peak Cavern. Titled, The Hive, the instrument will be a larger-than-life resonator, with vibrating chimes for visitors to interact with. The idea for the work came after seeing a large honeycomb hanging on the roof of the mouth of the cave. Resembling a suspended organic hive structure, the instrument will be made from parts of Gamelan bars, a form of percussive Indonesian music using gongs and xylophone-type instruments.

Hearing Gravity // Antoine Bertin

Fri 22, Sat 23 & Sun 24 September 2017

Peak Cavern, Castleton


Gravity sculpts time on a scale that escapes the human senses. What would time distortion feel like if one could perceive it? Taking visitors on an immersive listening journey through Peak Cavern, where new perspectives opened by the recording of gravitational waves echo with the origins of human art and science. Hearing Gravity is a sound-driven augmented reality experience exploring the physics of black holes, and how this may be translated for perception by the human sensory apparatus.

The plasticity of space-time is among the most extraordinary of scientific discoveries, yet the astronomical scale at which gravity bends time and space makes it a reality that remains beyond the reach of our senses. The ticking of a clock, the beating of a heart, the rhythm of walking: time is experienced through the sense of hearing, sculpted through music composition, arranged into audio narratives.

The Deluge // James Ferraro

Fri 22 September 2017

Peak Cavern, Castleton


Set in a nightmarish simulation of humanity Musician and Critical Futurist, James Ferraro will create a preview of work-in-progress for his first-ever groundbreaking “opera”, The Deluge. This event-based performance, the main protagonist will be an Artificial Intelligence (AI) that tries to understand human suffering and emotion. As the AI struggles to emulate what it means to be human, tensions arise between the clinical gaze of the machine and the imperfection of its emulation.

For this year’s Festival, The Deluge will be presented as a work-in-progress towards an AI “opera” that Ferraro is developing for the New Network Normal project and which will have its next iteration at the 2018 transmediale/CTM Festival in Berlin.

Listening to the Dark Residency // Beatrice Dillon

Fri 22 September 2017

Peak Cavern, Castleton


During this year’s Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival, pioneering Composer and Producer, Beatrice Dillon will take up residency in the Peak Cavern. Dillon’s focus will be Pauline Oliveros, the influential Experimental Composer and Electronic Music Pioneer who died in November, 2016, and her concept of ‘deep listening’, which advocated for the active and thoughtful awareness of sound. Taking inspiration from Oliveros’ subterranean expeditions, Dillon will descend into the caves, caverns and veins of the Peak District, revisiting the theory of deep listening to create a sonic experiences for audiences.

The work is a co-commission between AND and Somerset House Studios (SHS), London. Dillon will take up residency at SHS in Summer, 2017, using the Deadhouse as a space to develop and test the new work alongside research trips to Peak Cavern. The new work will then premiere as part of the AND Festival programme and tour to Somerset House later in the year.

Deep Time

Stretching back into the beginnings of the Universe and onwards into the furthest of futures, this strand of the programme looks at themes and practices as diverse as psycho geophysics, Media Archeology, geo-epistemology; Deep Messages; and the Digital preservation.

Digital Dark Ages // Various Artists

Thu 21 - Sun 24 September 2017

Treak Cliff Cavern, Castleton


What if, in the far future, we cannot read the electronic documents, images and multimedia files, that proliferate our worlds today? Digital Dark Ages is an exhibition exploring the possibilities and challenges we face when preserving our digital lives for future generations.

Set under the earth, in a world built around industry and knowledge-excavation, a selection of internationally recognised artists have been invited to think about how meaning is transferred and preserved in the long-term. Experimenting with the ways in which we keep, share and store, as well as how the tools we use to record and capture are already changing us in the present day, Digital Dark Ages proposes a series of prophetic, provocative and uncanny reflections on what is fast becoming the new normal.

Featuring: Nora Al-Badri, Charlotte Jarvis, Martha McGuinn, Thomas Thwaites, Shift Register, Simone Niquille



This year’s film programme will reveal the earth’s layers, from the drone’s eye view to deep into subterranean fear-inducing bunkers. The programme will be a prophetic, provocative and uncanny reflection on the verticality of the earth and how this is rendered. It will feature a selection of rare archival footage, innovative artist’s film and digital reconstruction techniques from archaeologists Dr Alice Watterson and Kieran Baxter. Featuring classics from Werner Herzog and Busby Berkeley, moving image artists Pierre Bismuth, Emma Charles and Hito Steyerl and forensic analysis from Laura Poitras, Henrik Moltke and Josh Begley. Movie spelunking will be encouraged as we dig deeper with the all-female subterranean horror The Descent.


Visit www.andfestival.org.uk for full details on the programme, featuring exhibitions, subterranean adventures and film events.

Tickets on sale now 2017 www.andfestival.org.uk

Further elements of the programme will be released over the coming weeks including talks, workshops, and special events.

Abandon Normal Devices Festival 2017 is hosted by Peak District National Park and National Trust (Peak District). Supported using public funding by Arts Council England with additional support from BFI, the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, British Council (Mexico) and British Council (Indonesia), and Sheffield programme partners Site Gallery.

Participating partners include Making Ways, University of Salford, Somerset House Studios, Kikk Festival, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, The Influencers, TransmedialeSTRP and National Trust, Trust New Art.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


For press enquiries relating to Abandon Normal Devices Festival 2017 please contact:

Rebecca Ladbury: rebecca@ladburypr.com | 07941 224 975

Danya Agababian: danya@ladburypr.com | 07779 635 147

Yasmin Kerr: yasmin@ladburypr.com | 07740 485 957

andfestival.org.uk        @ANDfestival

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trustnewart              @TrustNewArt

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