June 13, 2024

Blabdroids, Twitter walls and I’d hide you: Sheffield docfest is not all documentaries

If you go went to Sheffield Doc/Fest then it’s likely you had an interest in documentaries. But there were plenty of other things to catch your attention in the moments between screenings and masterclasses. Blabdroids, small robots that are making a documentary about humans were present and ready for interaction.

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There was an art exhibition on display in the Showroom cinema, entitled 20 artists, 20 films, 20 years. Local artists had been commissioned to recreate their favourite documentaries of the last twenty years. Chosen subjects included Senna and Man on Wire, whilst the artists included Kid Acne and Sarah Smizz.

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I’d hide you was a video streaming game of stealth, cunning and adventure played in a mixed reality. Oddly helmeted players ran round Sheffield, trying to avoid being filmed, whilst trying to film the other participants. Still more people joined in online, riding with the players out on the street and helping create a real digital, mobile and interactive media adventure. This was part of Digital Art2 research project.


More old school was The Ruskin Collection which was put together by Stones of Venice writer John Ruskin. This is at the Millennium Gallery and is a collection of objects that Ruskin believed would be of aesthetic benefit to Sheffield’s steel workers.

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Back to a future that Ruskin, for all his enormous brainpower, didn’t foresee: Twitter walls. This one was located in the Showroom cinema and showed a constant stream of #Sheffdocfest tweets.

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Then there was the Cross-over lounge where you could look at the latest technological developments (4000K TV anyone) and get all interactive. Cocktail hour sessions used theatre, disco and game-play to challenge assumptions in unexpected ways. There were also interactive documentaries that are blurring the line between documentary and website.

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If you missed the 2013 Sheff Doc/Fest but are thinking that looks interesting, it was. See you there next year!

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