An innovative new exhibition inspired by Ada Lovelace – the world’s first computer programmer and daughter of Newstead Abbey’s most famous resident, Lord Byron – opens at Nottingham Castle on Thursday 6 October as part of The Big Draw Festival 2016, running throughout October.
ADA, by artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski, is an automatic drawing machine that visitors are invited to push, pull and prod. It is a large, charcoal-studded, helium-filled membrane that will be contained in a temporary room in the Long Gallery and will slowly makes a series of marks, flecks, lines and points that will act as a record or memory of its own movements. The exhibition will run from 11am to 3pm until Sunday 23 October and fits perfectly with the inventive imagination and subjects displayed in the ten Leonardo da Vinci drawings from the Royal Collection that are on show until Sunday 9 October.
The ADA installation has been funded by Nottingham City Council and Arts Council England. It is supported by The Big Draw and is being included in The Big Draw Festival because, this year, it will be ‘STEAM Powered’ (focused on science, technology, engineering, art and maths). Other events at the Castle during The STEAM Powered Big Draw Festival include the chance to contribute to artist Mik Godley’s large da Vinci-inspired floor-based sketchbook of scientific inventions on Saturday (1 October) and Sunday (2 October). This activity, suitable for all ages, will allow people to create their own wacky designs or colour in those left by others.
Cllr Dave Trimble, Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “What a great way to bring our housing of the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition to a close! Thousands of people have visited the Castle to enjoy the drawings on display, and the ADA installation and Big Draw events are a wonderful way for the public to respond to the drawings and to share their own creative ideas and inspiration. You don’t need to be a great artist to have great ideas; you just need to share them.”
Ada Lovelace Day (Tuesday 11 October), which promotes the achievements on women in science, technology, engineering and maths, will be celebrated during the exhibition. Ada was the first person to publish elaborate, complex and complete mathematical codes for inventor Charles Babbage’s early mechanical computer, the analytical engine, so she is known as the first computer programmer.
Artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski is based in Munich and Berlin. She works with analogue and digital media to produce projects including kinetic sculptures, interactive installations and art interventions, all of which feature mixed reality and interactive art objects.