Every year, the organizers propose a controversial and thought-provoking theme set to trigger reflection in the community and cutting-edge experimentation by the selected artists. Innovation in digital creativity is key and the festival creates a sonic space for this.
Every year, the result is an insanely powerful and immersive artistic rendez-vous that leaves a lingering impact awhile after the end of the festival.
In this Age of Pandemic, we are made acutely aware of our dependence on digital technology for work, education, and healthcare. Now more than ever, the growth of digital technology demands critical reflection.
Globalization and economic growth have brought us pandemic and environmental destruction. How can we break this cycle? Can we harness quantum technology to protect ourselves and the world we live in?
Ars Electronica features a wide variety of activities every year: Symposia, exhibitions, performances, concerts and interventions spanning a broad arc from speculative futuristic scenarios to analytical considerations, from provocative actionism to philosophical debate.
Combining amazing artworks with fruitful conversations is the perfect recipe to create a meaningful experience that constantly scans the new media landscape to find the most inspiring projects. The projects are not simply chosen based on their technical realization but most importantly because the social and artistic innovation they incorporate.
The result of this consistent endeavour is the creation of a loyal community of audiovisual artists, researchers and visitors from all over the world that every year reunites in Linz to inspire and get inspired.
Since its inception, the festival has been dedicated to develop new themes for each edition and the organizers are also constantly on the lookout for interesting new venues.
Indeed, the ongoing effort to break out of the narrow confines of conventional conference rooms and artistic spaces, and to stage cultural and scientific encounters in the public sphere has become something of an Ars Electronica trademark.
Stay tuned: Ars Electronica 2020 theme will be released soon!
Memo Akten describes himself as:
“an artist and researcher from Istanbul, Turkey. He works with emerging technologies as both a medium and subject matter, investigating their impact on society and culture – with a specific interest in the collisions between nature, science, technology, ethics, ritual and religion.”
His work goes much further your average visual artist, as he specialises in Artificial Intelligence, works with algorithms and large-scale responsive installations with image, sound and light. In AV culture’s layman terms he’s an audiovisual jack-of-all-trades and a true techy, oh and he’s studying for a PhD in AI as if that wasn’t enough. Here you can see a selection of his work in the very accurately named video, ‘Selection of work in 3 minutes’ (2017).
Akten received the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica – the most prestigious award in Media Art – for his work ‘Forms’ in 2013. He has exhibited and performed internationally at exhibitions including The Grand Palais’s “Artistes & Robots” in 2018 (Paris FR), The Barbican’s “More than human” in 2017 (London UK) and the Victoria & Albert Museum’s landmark “Decode” exhibition in 2009 (London UK). He has shown work at venues such as the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Moscow RU), Shanghai Ming Contemporary Art Museum (Shanghai CN), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo JP), Royal Opera House (London UK), Lisbon Architecture Triennale (Lisbon PT), Itaú Cultural (Sao Paulo BR) and many others.
He has collaborated with celebrities such as Lenny Kravitz, U2, Depeche Mode and Professor Richard Dawkins, and brands including Google, Twitter, Deutsche Bank, Coca Cola and Sony PlayStation. Akten’s work is in numerous public and private collections around the world.
Alongside his practice, Akten is currently working towards a PhD at Goldsmiths University of London in artificial intelligence and expressive human-machine interaction, to deepen collaborative creativity between humans and machines and augment human creative expression. Fascinated by trying to understand the world and human nature, he draws inspiration from fields such as physics, molecular & evolutionary biology, ecology, abiogenesis, neuroscience, anthropology, sociology and philosophy.
Memo hasn’t just emerged on the scene by any means. In 2007 Akten founded The Mega Super Awesome Visuals Company (MSA Visuals), an art and tech creative studio. For some of those who have been following audiovisual culture since before even Audiovisual City was born, then they’ll recognise the name Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) – the evolution of MSA Visuals in 2011. In more recent years and a lot of success, Akten is now focusing on his own work and research, though his contribution to audiovisual culture and performance, must not go unmentioned. I strongly recommend that you explore his exceptionally wide and varied body of artwork and scientific investigations, as it takes you on a socia cultural journey that goes beyond audiovisual art.BUY US A COFFEE?
ONLINE, 28 – 29 May 2020
As we slide into the new normal or la nueva normalidad it is inevitable that the AV world will experience a considerable amount of visibility during the pandemic as technology plays an important part in everything that we do. A surge of online events, meetings and live streams now fill up our diaries like they are going out of fashion and meeting up with your mates down the pub for a pint after work is so 2019.
Enter the evolution of user generated entertainment platforms like Twitch, which now boasts 17.5 million average daily visitors. Resident Advisor has invented its own virtual island Streamland where all virtual events that have been successfully submitted to RA exist. And MelodyVR brings the artist even closer to the fan through some very high spec virtual reality streaming experiences. Did somebody say Zoom quiz?
The drive for innovation and exploration in the world of audiovisual art and culture is again on the rise, opening up in new forms. Which leads me onto the question about interdisciplinary artists and institutions who challenge the status quo and dare to oppose the mainstream. Where are they and what is their artistic response to the pandemic?
I give you BODY (UN)MUTE. A two-day online festival curated by Bogomir Doringer hosted by ICK Dans Amsterdam that looks into the rituals of dancing and masking in times of social distancing. The audiovisual event will deliver a programme of workshops, talks and performances from all corners of new media, dance and conceptual art. But how can these rituals take place in an online space?
“Technology has been around forever, but most people are not familiar with the basics of streaming. Porn channels and video gaming platforms are way ahead of time and up until now artists haven’t really engaged with it, which makes it harder to get a certain quality that produces something more than just a Zoom call. I have been following the ritual of masking since 9/11 with my project Faceless – Re-inventing Privacy Through Subversive Media Strategies. What is the role of this in contemporary times? BODY (UN)MUTE is a physical representation of Faceless and my art exhibition Dance Of Urgency, which explores how dance and ritual rise in times of personal and collective crises, and how it can empower individuals and groups. In amongst a global pandemic both these ideas live together and that is why I want to explore this space with new media artists”– Bogomir Doringer
Some highlights come in the form of Famous New Media Artist Jeremy Bailey who wants you to join his Augmented Reality Makeover Party where step-by-step you can learn how to perfect your own Augmented Reality (AR) digital mask and alter ego. Transgress and queer-up your identity, become a drag unicorn or whatever else you can imagine!
Rosa Menkman, an art theorist and visual artist specialising in glitch art and resolution theory, will screen her work Pique Nique pour les Inconnues :: The CHORUS VERSION (2019-2020). The video looks at various unknown women whose images are linked to the history of image processing. While these women seem to be able to prolong their existence for as long as the (digital) realms will copy and reuse them, most of them have lost their name and identity.
Live performance comes in the form of Keren Rosenberg and Nicola Cavalazzi, who will present an audiovisual art installation which explores our social obsession in self-exposure through the use of modern technology. Together they will question what it means to perform in front of a camera – where does the body finish and the screen start?
Dr. Kelina Gotman talks about how Choreomania, the manic crave for dance, is not just a bi-product of lockdown. Choreographer Emio Greco will elaborate on the Pizzica, a dance from his native ground in Puglia that was danced to heal yourself from the bite of a poisonous spider. And Shanghai Radio will close the two day event giving us an insight into how creativity, music and online streaming kept the Chinese creative community connected during the lockdown.
In a reaction to the pandemic tickets for the event are based on the principles of donation, which provides the public freedom to support the hard work and dedication from all the artists involved.
BODY (UN)MUTE in collaboration with ICK Dans Amsterdam
Online Tickets available through the event website.