Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The world famous festival for art, technology and society, Ars Electronica, occupies once again, till this Sunday September 11, the city of Linz in Upper Austria. The first edition of this media art festival dates back to 1979. Now it has grown to be a festival for art enthusiasts, for students, for innovators, for digital ecologists, music lovers and families, while also giving special attention to programs for Linz locals with a program that exists of events, concerts, performances, conferences, exhibitions, workshops, all fuelled by the active participation of some 1000 artists and scientists in the different parts of the program.
The theme of this year is Planet B. In the presentation we can read “Planet B is not the second chance for another place where we can continue as before, it is the cipher for the indispensable, new and in many forms completely different life and action on this only planet that exists for us. It is the chance for coexistence with the unique ecosystems of this planet, a chance for a new and fair coexistence of humans on this planet.” This is not the only festival that has eyes for this but the attention paid to the challenge of redefining our humanity gives it its special flavour : “If our idea of innovation has been primarily associated with technology, with systems and processes, with optimization, streamlining, and increasing profits, in the next ten years we will have to give ourselves an enormous innovation push.
We will need every bit of technology, every organizational, logistical optimization that can help us reduce emissions and filter them back out of the atmosphere. But the biggest innovation project in human history this time has to be ourselves, our ability to rise to the challenge as a global community — a reinvention of humanity!
During the festival several exhibitions are to be seen. First there is the CyberArts Exhibition presenting the winning works selected by experts from around the world for the Ars Electronica Prizes. The Prix has always served as a mirror of society, granting us a different look at the relationship between society and technology and even the world at large each year. One other very special exhibition is the one in cooperation with the Vatican Museums and the Austrian Embassy to the Papal See in Rome in Deep Space 8K, featuring gigapixel images of two outstanding works of art by the great master Pietro Perugino from the Sistine Chapel – the main chapel in the Papal Palace.
But Ars Electronica is also and foremost a meeting place for young and old, finding themselves in the belief creativity is one of the best ways to adapt to challenges as a society, informing themselves on experiments for the future and discussing the state of the ART(ists) in all this.
Today, Friday is dedicated to the STARTS initiative of the European Commission.
Tomorrow is Plan B Day, which is meant not only to remind us of the festival theme Planet B – A different life is possible! But How? but, as they see it, also brims with irony. Because what plan B? We only have this one plan(et).
This Sunday, “Prix Day” – the last day of the Ars Electronica Festival is devoted entirely to the Prix Ars Electronica – and thus to art. With 2,338 projects submitted from 88 countries, the 2022 Prix Ars Electronica once again presents itself as a central hub in the global network of media art. The prize winners will receive 10,000 euros each for the “Golden Nicas” that have been awarded annually since 1987 by an international jury and a prominent appearance at the Ars Electronica Festival. Parallel to the Prix Ars Electronica, another competition was also initiated together with the Austrian Foreign Ministry, the “Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity“ This prize wants to emphasize in equal terms the humaneness and humanism that must dictate the development of new technologies. The award honours projects and artworks that inspire a fundamental rethinking in our contemporary approach to technology: It’s time to resign our roles as mere data-generating machines and actively partake in the shaping of our digital future. Could digital applications be more oriented towards human needs and based on cultural values that respect the autonomy of users over their data? Could software solutions build on the values of cultural diversity instead of infrastructural uniformity? Could digital tools be increasingly of benefit in cross-culture collaboration, international cultural relations, and mutual understanding?
All questions that we need to reflect on and act upon. This prize, worth 10000 euros is for sure a good incentive to bring it into the societal debate via artistic interventions.Is Linz too far for you to get there this WE? The website Ars Electronica Blog – Art, Technology, Society offers plenty of material , including livestreams on a you tube channel, to savor online, or go more near to Brussels to the exhibition ‘In Transfer’, which runs until November 27 in Esch sur Alzette, the cultural capital of Europe this year, and is curated by staff members of Ars Electronica. More info on this exhibition to follow here soon and in our October magazine.