Dan Hett is a BAFTA-winning multidisciplinary digital artist and creative technologist from Manchester, UK. After a decade spent making big colourful things with technology for the likes of BBC Children's, BBC R&D and Havas, he now operates as a freelance creative tech gun-for-hire. Hett also maintains his own independent digital arts practice, and is currently one of the selected artists on FutureEverything's cutting-edge FAULT LINES program. His work centres around a stubborn refusal to do as he's told with technology, preferring to do the coding equivalent of painting with bold brush strokes on large canvases, leaving the boring bits to grumpy programmers who have to wear ties to work. Ask him about the RFID chip he had implanted into his hand that time.
Away from the studio, Dan is a live performing visual artist, using homegrown software and tools to create improvised large-scale sonic and visual experiences for concerts, festivals and increasingly collaboration in the arts. Dan is a prominent member of the Algorave movement - an ongoing series of electronica events where all music and visuals are created entirely with live code and process, which is shared with the audience as part of the experience. Dan is also an accomplished live video artist and VJ, and has performed at scales ranging from countless sweaty basement chiptune shows right up to a headline slot at the legendary Superbyte Festival, and a recent Algorave session at Blue Dot Festival, in the shadow of the Lovell radio telescope.
Death & Technology
Dan's trajectory as both a person and as an artist was unexpectedly altered in 2017, when his younger brother Martyn was among the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. In this unflinching and honest talk, Dan will explain what's it's like to lose someone in a world of constant digital connectivity and presence, where our interactions as people are profoundly steered by algorithms and omnipresent technology and platforms. Finding out first-hand that our clever algorithms are only as smart as their creator's foresight and planning, Dan is now exploring and questioning the role of automated (and supposedly intelligent) systems when dealing with thorny human issues like grief and loss.
As an artist, Dan's direction of travel changed too, and over the last twelve months he's begun to use that same technology on his own terms, to work through some of the aspects surrounding both his personal experience and the wider issues. He'll be demonstrating and explaining why he began to use small experimental video games to telling his story, and will be previewing his upcoming deep interactive narrative work Closed Hands, which uses the videogame medium in a bold new way, to examine multifaceted issues of radicalisation, extremism, and shared human experience.
Disclaimer: although this is ultimately a very creative talk that's suitable for everyone, it does obviously cover some challenging subject matter, and so audience discretion is advised if unsure about these themes.