STARTS

The jury made up of international experts charged with selecting the recipients of the 2018 STARTS Prizes awarded by the European Commission recently convened for an entire weekend at the Ars Electronica Center. Their mission: to recognize outstanding work at the interface of science, technology and art. The outcome is still confidential; nevertheless, jurors Francesca Bria and Seiichi Saito briefed us on a few trends in this interview.

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They usually perform their tasks in huge factories or on construction sites, executing identical routines thousands or millions of times, over and over again. Or they vacuum our apartments, fully automatically. But things are different at the Ars Electronica Center. The Creative Robotics exhibition that opens on May 9, 2018 will show how robots are now being used in creative fields.

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CenterDeep Space LIVE

Nature downtown—couldn’t be much more than a few weeds amongst the concrete, could it? That’s what you think, says Friedrich Schwarz of Linz’s Botanical Garden! He goes into detail about the inner city’s hidden flora and fauna in “Linz, Naturally”, his ongoing series of talks in Deep Space. On April 19, 2018, his topic will be the forest. He gave us a preview in this interview.

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Mini-satellites the size of a coke can, a rocket launch at the Austrian-German border and three teams of students from all over Austria, competing for the title as best CanSat team (and the participation in the European CanSat Competition from June 28, 2018, to July 1, 2018 in the Azores islands) – that’s the first Austrian CanSat competition in a nutshell!

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“Error – The Art of Imperfection” is the theme of this year’s Ars Electronica Festival that’s set for September 6-10 with POSTCITY as its hub. Gerfried Stocker, artistic director of Ars Electronica, talked to us about the festival theme, how we deal with mistakes, and errors as a source of innovation.

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How are VR and AR changing the gaming scene and computer games? In Part 2 of our interviews previewing the virtual and augmented reality-themed weekend April 6-8, 2018, we discuss the upshots of these developments with Jeremiah Diephuis of the Playful Interactive Environments research group at the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences’ Hagenberg Campus.

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Export

Two outstanding pianists, one visualization artist and three challenging pieces are what go into “Pianographique.” This musical co-production of Ars Electronica and the Abu Dhabi Festival combines sound and light—Maki Namekawa and Dennis Russell Davies provide the keyboard artistry at one or two pianos; Cori O’Lan accompanies them with real-time visualizations. Find out more in this interview with the piano duo.

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The Ars Electronica Center’s lobby will be transformed into a colorful playground well-equipped with laser cutters, robots, drones and other forms of digital technology from April 4th to 8th. Otelo Futurespace – The Digital Playground will be the setting of an innovative organized game. In this interview, Otelo eGen executive Martin Hollinetz tells us more.

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While teams of school kids throughout Austria are hard at work creating their cola-can-size satellites to be launched during the CanSat Competition April 9-11, 2018, the Space Team at TUW–Technical University of Vienna is also busy with its preparations—building the rockets that will take these mini-satellites aloft in April. We just paid a visit to the Space Team workshop in Vienna to find out more.

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The 2018 NEXTCOMIC Festival is about open in Steel City. One of the venues is the Ars Electronica Center, where, on Saturday, March 17th, comics illustrator Titus Ackermann will present a book entitled “COMIC CULTURE CLASH” in which 20 artistic duos deploy the comic medium to deal with 20 political conflicts. In this interview, he talks about his project’s origins and what we can expect on Saturday.

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Futurelab

“And then, fortunately, the birds didn’t fall out of the sky,” said Michael Treml in a terse summary of the outcome of work over many months by an Ars Electronica Futurelab team at Rock in Rio 2017, the first public SPAXELS® drone show using Swarm3D software developed in-house in Linz. We were interested in finding out what this program can actually do and why this Futurelab custom creation is now also available as a plug-in for 3ds Max?

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Futurelab

What are some real ways to achieve climate & energy goals? What measures have to be implemented and where do you get started? The Ars Electronica Futurelab was invited by the department of Spatial Planning (TU Vienna) and the City of Linz (Planning, Technology, Environment) to join a consortium working on E_PROFIL, a toolkit that can be used to take the first step.

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Solutions

How does one blend innovation and tradition? Technology and handicraft? The zeitgeist with a time-honored history? In three projects commissioned in conjunction with the makeover of Café Sacher Eck, Ars Electronica Solutions had the opportunity to come up with answers. In this interview, Solutions project manager Harald Moser and Reiner Heilmann, director of Hotel Sacher in Vienna, provide insights into their collaboration.

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2018 is European Year of Cultural Heritage, and the Ars Electronica Center is taking part by hosting several events devoted to our cultural heritage throughout the year. Kicking things off will be a themed weekend on January 27-28, 2018 in Deep Space, where one of the featured speakers will be Stefan Traxler, archeologist at Upper Austria’s Landesmuseum. In this interview, he discusses cultural heritage and his upcoming talks as well as how technology has changed archeology.

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CenterDeep Space

Clothing made of desert plants or organic plastics, rediscovered technologies and state-of-the-art high-tech top the list of attractions at DE/MATERIALIZE, a showcase of exciting work being done by students in Linz Art University’s Fashion & Technology program, on November 23, 2017 in Ars Electronica’s Deep Space. Fashion designer Ute Ploier, the program’s director, gave us a preview in this discussion of fashion, technology, sustainability and the future of the fashion industry.