Ars Electronica Festival 2013 Kicks Off Lineup, Now thru 9/9
This year's Ars Electronica Festival is set for today, September 5-9 in Linz. The title is TOTAL RECALL - The Evolution of Memory. The festival program will consist, as always, of a splendid array of symposia, exhibitions, performances, interventions and concerts; the details will be announced online at www.aec.at/totalrecall/en.
This year's Ars Electronica will bring together neuroscientists and computer engineers, artists and philosophers for an in-depth consideration of TOTAL RECALL and an endeavor to elaborate on how we human beings deal with storing our memories, preserving them, and also, at times, trying to forget. In going about this, the focus will be on three key aspects: (neuro) scientific findings and insights about what memory actually is and what meaning it possesses for our consciousness and our identity; the various cultures of remembrance and the diverse storage media used in the past and the present; and future forms and methods of conserving memory.
Since 1979, the Ars Electronica Festival has been coming to grips with reciprocities at the interface of art, technology and society. Symposia, exhibitions, performances, interventions and concerts variously elaborate on a specific theme chosen each year on the basis of its importance and timeliness. Another signature element of this conclave is the consistent effort to put on events in extraordinary, unconventional settings. Linz's Danube harbor infrastructure, tunnels cut into the city's rocky hills, monasteries and cathedrals, factories and mills, and a downtown parking deck are a few of the venues at which Ars Electronica has staged its annual discourse amidst the public sphere. The jam-packed festival line-up features hundreds of artists, scientists and hightech insiders from all over the world. It's produced by Ars Electronica, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of Linz, and co-produced by the ORF - Austrian Broadcasting Company's Upper Austria Regional Studio, the Brucknerhaus concert hall and the OK Center for Contemporary Art.
The 2013 Festival Highlights:
WIR SIND HIER - The Opening Event Thursday, September 5 / 8:30 PM / Tabakfabrik Linz (Courtyard)
WIR SIND HIER [WE ARE HERE] opens this year's festival with a bang! This actionist live performance in the Tabakfabrik's courtyard takes the 80th anniversary of the first book burnings in Nazi Germany as an occasion to increase awareness about recent developments in surveillance and censorship. The crossmedia art project launched by Salvatore Vanasco and supported by several prominent artists already got underway in mid-July. Ever since, the project website www.wir-sind-hier.org has been publishing submitted texts, photos and films as well as updates about ongoing actions. The mission: expressing opinions, taking a stand, giving advice, developing ideas, lodging demands and amassing knowledge. The guiding principle: have your say and listen up when others respond. WIR SIND HIER is designed for people who oppose the government's data retention efforts, PRISM and the many other forms of digital surveillance and censorship, and for people who refuse to yield to the sense of hopelessness and the indifference that come with this territory. And all of it in total awareness that this endeavor is no doubt ultimately futile, and the project will fail in the end. What nevertheless remains is the hope that all over the world, over and over again, people are standing up, demonstrating solidarity and proclaiming loud and clear: WE ARE HERE!
TOTAL RECALL Symposium
Friday, September 6 / 10 AM-1:30 PM, 2:30-6 PM / Brucknerhaus (Mittlerer Saal) Sunday, September 8 / 2:30-5 PM / Brucknerhaus (Mittlerer Saal)
The centerpiece of this year's Ars Electronica conference program is the TOTAL RECALL theme symposium. The three sessions will be held on Friday, September 6th and Sunday, September 8th in the Brucknerhaus. On Friday, the focus will first be on human recollection and on nature's capacity to remember. Attendees will then consider the future of memory. Atop Sunday's agenda is cultural & technological history.
Session 1 / Friday morning
Following opening remarks by Gerfried Stocker (artistic director of Ars Electronica), psychologist and neuroscientist John-Dylan Haynes (Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience at Charité Berlin) will provide an introduction to the latest research on cognition and the brain. He'll screen selected scenes from some classic science-fiction films-including "Total Recall" with Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course-to portray the current state of research in neuroscience and future prospects in this field. Aleida Assmann (University of Konstanz), a scholar in the fields of literary studies and English, will deal with forms of forgetting. Her point of departure is the tense interrelationship between the selective character of memories and the omnipresence of the past, which, thanks to new media and virtually unlimited data storage capabilities, can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Mapping
the network of nerves in the human brain will be the subject of a speech by neuroscientist Alfred Anwander (Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences). He'll report on diffusion tensor imaging and connectome research, methods scientists are now using to better understand human memory. Neuroscientist Arno Villringer (Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences) will then discuss the loss of memory and go into dementia from neurological and clinical perspectives. His elaborations will lead into remarks by Helga Rohra, a woman suffering from Lewy Body Dementia. She'll give an account of daily life with this condition.
Session 2 / Friday afternoon
To kick off the second session, molecular biologist Barbara Hohn (Friedrich Miescher Institute) will elaborate on how plants pass on what they remember despite their lack of neuronal memory via genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. Then, mathematician and zoologist Nick Goldman (European Bioinformatics Institute) will report on the first successful attempt to convert an MP3 file into DNA sequences, store them to memory, and send them in this form to a recipient able, in turn, to decode this material and play it back without error. From this point of departure, Nick Goldman will consider the future of data storage and, together with artist and filmmaker Charlotte Jarvis, present an artistic-scientific joint research project in which a specially composed piece of music in the form of DNA sequences has been stored to memory. It will be impossible to be played back until the decoding procedure necessary to do so is available to the general public. The future of memory will also be the subject of the next speeches. In a live remote broadcast, computer scientist Dharmendra S Modha (IBM Cognitive Computing Center) will talk about the challenges that have to be overcome in order to depict human memory on the computer. A rather more skeptical view of this mammoth undertaking will then taken by Hans-Ulrich Dodt (Vienna University of Technology), an expert in medicine, physics and bio-electronics. To conclude this session, physicist and mathematician Rodrigo Quian Quiroga (head of the University of Leicester's NeuroEngineering Lab) will talk about his research on so-called concept cells, which the media often refers to as Jennifer Aniston neurons.
Session 3 / Sunday afternoon
The third session of this year's symposium is set for Sunday afternoon. The focal-point theme: cultural & technological history. Claudia Schmölders (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), a philosopher and scholar of German language & literature, will report on the almost total absence of female voices in archived sound recordings. Then, media philosopher Frank Hartmann (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar) will take us back to the early history of Information Society-to Paul Otlet and his ground-breaking prototype of a universal library that's often called the first forerunner of the internet. Michael Buckland (UC Berkeley, professor emeritus), a historian and scholar in the field of library science, will introduce another pioneer of modern information processing, Emanuel Goldberg. Catapulting us back into the present will be Hiroshi Ishiguro (Osaka University), the star of Japanese robotics research. He'll discuss the androids he aims to use to preserve the memory of outstanding individuals.
HR Giger and the Art of Biomechanics
The Art of Biomechanics: Thursday, September 5 / 10 AM-9 PM, Friday, September 6 to Monday, September 9 / 10 AM-7 PM / LENTOS Art Museum
Giger's World: Friday, September 6 / 10 PM / Ars Electronica Center (Deep Space)
HR Giger is the featured artist at Ars Electronica 2013. The creator of the Oscar-winning Alien figure in the landmark sci-fi film of the same name was one of the first to integrate biomechanics into his artistic work, and is one of the pioneers of fantastic art. Even now, his art draws inspiration from his childhood fears and obsessions, including global atomic war and being victimized by technological progress. He also incessantly deals with the cycle of birth, eros and death, which he endeavors to manifest artistically in the form of disturbing "biomechanoids," the cyborgs that are typical of his work. During the Ars Electronica festival, some of the artist's world-famous but never-before-exhibited works will be on display in the LENTOS Art Museum. HR Giger - The Art of Biomechanics will trace the development of Giger's inimitable style. The point of departure is the Necronom cycle of the 1970s; the latest chapter is Ridley Scott's 2012 film "Prometheus." The legendary "Alien Diaries" by HR Giger will debut in book form. Giger's World is the title of a series of high-definition gigapixel images the artist will screen in Deep Space at the Ars Electronica Center.
Thursday, September 5 to Sunday, September 15 / 10 AM-9 PM / OK Center for Contemporary Art
This year's CyberArts exhibition at the OK Center for Contemporary Art presents 15 prizewinning initiatives and projects from four Prix Ars Electronica categories-Digital Communities, Hybrid Art, Interactive Art and Digital Musics & Sound Art. Initiatives from the Digital Communities category are El Campo de Cebada (ES), Refugees United (DK) and Visualizing Palestine (PS). There are five works from the Hybrid Art category: The Cosmopolitan Chicken Project by Koen Vanmechelen (BE), Five Variations of Phonic Circumstances and a Pause by Tania Candiani (MX), Mycotecture by Phil Ross (US), The Blind Robot by Louis-Philippe Demers (CA/SG) and Pancreas by Thomas Feuerstein (AT). Pendulum Choir by Michel Décosterd (CH) and André Décosterd (CH), Rain Room by rAndom International (UK), AHORA. A song in the Hypertemporal Surface by Hernán Kerlleñevich (AR) and Mene Savasta Alsina (AR), Angles Mirror by Daniel Rozin (US), Down with Wrestlers with Systems and Mental Nonadapters! by Kawarga Dmitry & Elena (RU), Ishin-Den-Shin by Olivier Bau (FR), Yuri Suzuki (JP) and Ivan Poupyrev (RU) are the six works from the Interactive Art category. The Digital Musics & Sound Art category is represented by frequencies (a) by Nicolas Bernier (CA), SjQ++ by the Japanese artists' collective of the same name, and Borderlands Granular by Chris Carlson (US). The show was curated by Genoveva Rückert and is running until September 15, 2013.
IL(L) Machine - Ars Campus Israel
Thursday, September 5 to Monday, September 9 / 10 AM-7 PM / Linz Art University (Brückenkopfgebäude West)
A Campus exhibition highlights the Ars Electronica Festival program once again this year. The innovative tweak for 2013: the spotlight won't be on a single college but rather on the art school network of a whole country. "IL(L) Machine - Ars Campus Israel" presents works by 67
undergrads at Israel's 10 leading academic institutions including schools in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ramat Gan. The exhibition's theme is technology and how it increasingly pervades everyday life. The point of departure of these artistic reflections is the fact that new technologies have long since become mediators between us and our surroundings. We use technologies to communicate with the world and to experience it; they are omnipresent and indispensible. At the same time, though, we're increasingly troubled by the actual or purported impact this incessant use of technology is having on our emotional makeup, our interpersonal relations, and the construction of our identities. The show is initiated and directed by Lila Chitayat and curated by Yael Eylat Van-Essen.