eArts Festival

Digital arts & magic moments

du 19 au 23 octobre 2007 (Shanghai)

Shanghai eARTS Festival

Beauty in Technology Art in Life : Shanghai eARTS Festival--Wisdom of Crowds. Time: Oct.19-Oct.23,2007

The 2007 Shanghai eArts Festival is the first new cultural program Shanghai has founded and represents an important new cultural development trajectory in the city. It will be held each year, every October, with the central activity venue set in Pudong. The Shanghai eArts Festival is now centered at the Pudong Government Huamu Cultural Center, at the recommendation of international experts and the leaders of the Municipal Committee Publicity Department. The purpose is to encourage Pudong (Huamu) to develop as a new cultural center of Shanghai, to enrich the cultural content of Pudong, and to create a new cultural base for Pudong's development. The range of the 2007 Shanghai eArts Festival activities may well constitute the largest and most ambitious electronic arts festival in today's world. It is hoped that the Shanghai eArts Festival will generate a warm response from the world culture and arts communities and receive a large amount of positive attention. In short, the ambition of Shanghai eArts Festival is to be noted and welcomed by the world.

The 2007 Shanghai eArts Festival will take place in two districts: Pudong Huamu will act as the central activity location; Puxi will be the satellite activity location. It will include a number of kinds of activities: Outdoor Interactive Installations; New Vision Electronic Art Concert; AEC Exhibition; @ Future; Wisdom Forums; a range of electronic art exhibitions; and a series of public events.

ARS ELECTRONICA - Digital Art and Magic Moments

In the Indo-European family of languages the words for magic and for machine have a common etymological ancestor: «magh-» which meant «to be able, have power» which is also the base for might. It is an intriguing idea, to think of artists as the magicians of the machines, the ones who are able to master the machines and have power over them. An idea that also refers to a role of artists that goes beyond the mere creation of beautiful expressions. A role that puts artists right in the middle of the current social and cultural challenges which have been brought up by the rapid and massive invasion of digital technologies in our daily Life. Digital artists are creators as well as engineers of experiences: by employing the new means of digital technologies, they give us a look behind the backdrop of our modern information society, they provide new and alternative ideas that are not only based on the rational and economical approach of technology but on the demands and desires of humans.

The Magic Moments of Digital Art are manifold. Some of the works bewitch the visitor with aesthetic translations of scientific phenomena shedding new light on the way how we are still always intertwined with the laws of nature, no matter how tricky our technology becomes. Some beguile you by involving you in an interactive process that entangles your senses in a playful way, bringing you close to the experience of being part of the creative process itself. Some just leave you stunning about the new ways of thinking that they introduce and their new perspectives of the relation between man and machine. Some open your eyes with their critical reflections about social implications and possible conflicts based on certain applications of technology. They all help us to understand the dynamics and changes that are going on around us; they help us to find our position in this new situation. They encourage us to take things into our hands and to move from the position of the mere consumer to the one of a creator.

Thus it assumes also a symbolic gesture when the Italian artist Sonia Cillari puts a human person right into the center of her interactive installation, surrounded by oscillating computergrafics. «Se mi sei vicino» which means «if you are close to me» engages the visitor in many ways. First you have to give up the role as a mere spectator because nothing will happen if you are just standing there watching the scene. You have to approach the person standing in the middle of the platform and right in that moment you are part of the scene yourself. A sophisticated invisible interface measures the distance between you and the person in the center. The closer you get the more you stimulate the surrounding computergrafic as if it would directly express the emotions and suspense of two humans getting close to each other: a convincing experience of the exciting as well as contradictory relations between us and our technological environment.

Digital codes, programming languages, computers and electronic components are the tools as well as the material of digital art. But as soon as you engage with them, the technical setup disappears from attention, pushed away by their artistic momentum and the sensation of being involved in communication and exchange.

The works presented in the exhibition «Digital Arts and Magic Moments» outline the richness and diversity of artistic work based on digital technology but foremost they are general and profound statements about the human condition in the digital age.

Gerfried Stocker
Artistic Director

Ars Electronica Linz