Artist News Gigs & Festivals

Convergence boss discusses Gil Scott Heron project, as TW:Guide to the festival goes live

By | Published on Monday 7 March 2016

Glenn Max

London’s Convergence festival kicks off this week, with ten days of concerts, talks and exhibitions that aim to bring together the worlds of art, music and technology. CMU’s sister publication ThisWeek London has produced a TW:Guide to this year’s festivities, with interviews and features going live each day this week.

“Convergence’s origins lay very much with the Ether festival which took place at the Southbank Centre from 2002 to 2011, and which I oversaw for nine years” Convergence director Glenn Max tells TW London. “It was an attempt to experiment with the social architecture of a very staid institution for which the electronic and dance community had no reason to visit. It was equally a challenge to the electronic music community to try doing something performance-based, which is what concert halls require. In 2011, when Southbank cancelled the festival, I thought the time was right to revisit the idea in the context of East London”.

A standout event from this year’s programme is an original commission celebrating the life and work of the late great Gil Scott-Heron. “That project came about partly through having produced Gil’s concerts twice in my life, and partly from the feeling I had – and many had – around the time of his death that his 2010 album ‘I’m New Here’ felt like the start of a new era for Gil” Max says. “With that new era being cut short, and Gil’s relevance looming large on a political front and a musical front, I felt some sort of original celebration would have some resonance. And when I spoke to Dave Okumu from The Invisible about curating the project, we both became convinced that this was something that just had to happen!”

You can check out the TW:Guide To Convergence, which today includes the full interview with Max and CMU Editor Andy Malt’s top five recommendations from this year’s programme, by clicking here. And don’t forget CMU Insights is also presenting a session as part of the Convergence talks programme this year, putting the spotlight on the challenges media face in the digital age. Get the basics on that here, look out for details of who is speaking later this week, and get your tickets here.