Barbican – Concert Hall Wall

November 25, 2016 in All Opportunities, Composers, electroacoustic by mwhiteside

We’re inviting artists, collectives and designers across all disciplines, including those working with digital technology and new media, to respond to the phrase: What’s going on here, then?

The winning work will be installed from late January until May 2017 on the Concert Hall Wall.

This site can be viewed from the stalls floor on level -1, from the ground floor, and the balcony floor on level 1. On busy days, thousands of people pass through this iconic building and will encounter your work should it be chosen.

This commission forms part of an ongoing foyer commission programme, which extends our ambitious, international artistic programme beyond the walls of our venues and into the public spaces, giving our visitors opportunities to experience outstanding art for free.

Recent projects include Numina by artist Zarah Hussain, a large sculptural work using Islamic geometry as a departure point for its mesmerising patterns. And let’s take a walk, an interactive audio experience created by theatre makers non zero one, where visitors are asked to pick one of six people from different walks of life to be their virtual guides around the Barbican.

Through this work our objectives are:

  • To increase the foyers’ sense of destination in their own right as a space in which to spend time and experience fun and engaging artistic content
  • To support, through commissions and open calls, emerging and innovative new artists across different art-forms
  • To animate the public spaces between our venues through a high-quality and free programme

The brief
Our public spaces foster a varied community, whether that be gallery-goers, freelancers typing away on laptops, parents pushing sleeping babies, excited pre-theatre and concert crowds, tourists enthusiastically taking snapshots or a class of children on a school trip to see the latest commission in The Curve. They all meet, rest and enjoy these versatile spaces, and they amongst many others will form the audience for your work.

Broad, dynamic and imaginative responses to What’s going on here, then? are encouraged. Thematically your work can touch on any area you wish, however you might want to consider what your desired audience experience is. What thoughts and discussions will the audience be encouraged to have upon encountering your work?

Please note: The wall is a plain white painted portrait wall approximately (W)3.6m x (H)6.4m with an aspect ratio of 9:16. The projection will be powered by a state of the art Christie Digital Laser Phosphorus projector.

The commission
There is a commissioning fee of £2,500 to be awarded to the winning entry. Please note this fee is fixed whether you enter as an individual or as a collective.

Additionally, the Barbican will provide the following provision in kind:

  • Christie Digital Projector allocated specifically for this location with a portrait lens
  • Coolux Media Management Server to play/schedule content
  • Technician support during installation and throughout for trouble-shooting
  • Interpretation / labels
  • Customer service support and any necessary training for invigilation
  • Photography of work in situ.

Submission & Judging
To enter, complete the form below with information about your proposal – you can also upload supplementary imagery with your application. The deadline for entries is Wednesday 4 January 2017 at 12pm.

The following criteria will be used to assess entries:

  • Overall quality and impact of the work
  • The response to the brief and site
  • The work’s potential to engage the diverse audiences that visit the Barbican daily

Shortlisted competition entries will be judged by a panel comprising:

  • Alona Pardo, Curator, Barbican
  • James Belso, Christie, a global leader in visual and audio solutions
  • Artist Zarah Hussain
  • Freire Barnes, Art & Design Editor, Culture Trip

If you have any questions about the commissions, or problems submitting your proposal, contact our team on