This is the first time that the general public is being invited to attend a serial vernissage staged on the evening before the Ars Electronica Festival commences. The festivities begin at 7 PM in LENTOS Art Museum, 8 PM at Linz Art University, and 9 PM at the Ars Electronica Center.
Time’s Up (AT). Credit: Elisa Unger
Light Echoes – Aaron Koblin (US), Ben Tricklebank (US)
VRLab, Credit: Martin Hieslmair
9 PM / Ars Electronica Center
Last stop on the evening’s itinerary is the Ars Electronica Center, where the featured attraction is the new VRLab in the MainGallery. Plus, you can catch the opening of the Pacathon in the Lobby and a screening of a Best Of compilation of the festival lineup in Deep Space 8K.
Several new features highlight the program on Day 1. Ars Electronica is launching its Ars Electronica Gallery Spaces designed primarily to foster interpersonal communication and enhance networking among media artists and gallerists, as well as to call attention to (online) art market scenarios with great future promise. The discursive element of the Ars Electronica Gallery Spaces also kicks off on Thursday with the Gluon Session followed by a tour of the art exhibitions on the Lower Level of POSTCITY. Another debutant is the opening symposium on the festival theme, which sets the stage for the perennial Thursday evening celebration that gets these proceedings off to a high-energy start. The CyberArts show opens its doors at 6:30 PM in OK; the opening performance of “L‘ Enfant” in Mariendom (St. Mary’s Cathedral) is at 7:30 PM; and the festival opening’s performances and concerts begin at 8 PM in POSTCITY.
Future Innovators Summit, Credit: Tom Mesic
Opening Symposium at POSTCITY, Credit: Tom Mesic
3 – 4:30 PM / POSTCITY
How Culture Shapes Technology are the watchwords here. Ars Electronica’s attention is usually focused on new technologies’ impact on our culture and society. But actually, technology has always been a core element of culture and not just at the moment of its introduction. At a much earlier stage, even during its development, while still a vision, it’s an expression of the culture and the time that produced it. So, how do different cultures form technological developments and applications? That is the central question at this year’s Opening Symposium at Ars Electronica. Offering answers are Mark Coeckelbergh (philosopher, University of Vienna), Zenbo Hidaka (Zen monk and AI expert) and Shunji Yamanaka (robot designer, University of Tokyo).
3:30-5:30 PM / POSTCITY
The Gluon Foundation aims to foster collaboration by artists and scientists, and is using this year’s festival as an occasion to present its new model for cooperation among artists, scientists and art collectors. In concrete terms, this has to do with scientist-in-residence positions—a scientist gets the opportunity to join the staff of a renowned artist’s atelier, with an interested collector acting as patron of this endeavor and the work that results from it. Initiating this program conceived by Christophe de Jaeger is the GLUON SESSION at Ars Electronica, a round-table discussion of experiences and expectations as well as the misunderstandings that can arise when art and science actually get down to work. The panelists are Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery, London), Paul Dujardin (Bozar, Brussels), Beatrize Gelder (neuroscientist, Brussels) and Damian Ortega (artist and author, Mexico); Ars Electronica Artistic Director Gerfried Stocker will moderate.
Light Barrier 3rd Edition / Mimi Son (KR), Elliot Woods (UK) / Kimchi and Chips
Beginning at 6 PM / POSTCITY, OK & Mariendom
It’s decision time again—the choices include a Guided Tour through the art exhibitions on the Lower Level of POSTCITY in conjunction with the Collectors Program, the official opening of the CyberArts exhibition at OK, and the opening performance of “L’Enfant” in Mariendom. Whatever you select, you should definitely be back at POSTCITY by 8 PM when the curtain goes up on the evening festivities…
7:30 PM / Mariendom
First performance of the Taiwanese dance performance L’Enfant (Derjk Wu)
Mariendom, Credit: I-Chun Chen, He-Lin Luo
Credit: Ramiro Joly-Mascheroni & Aline Sardin-Dalmasso
10 AM – 6 PM / POSTCITY
“AI – The Other I” is the festival theme and the topic of the Ars Electronica symposium. Kicking off these proceedings is a consideration of the theoretical potential of the ever-more-sophisticated integration of neuronal networks and machine learning in the latest technologies. Ideas for a guaranteed minimum income as well as concerns about public security have never before been as hotly debated as they are today. New technologies to reflect our thoughts and emotions flow into the development of intelligent machines that, in turn, open up the chance for us—or, rather, impose upon us the obligation—to question what we represent as individuals as well as to rethink and redefine the way we organize ourselves as a society. And in light of past experience showing just how difficult communication can be in the case of a conflict among individuals, communities and states, there’s an urgent need for principles and rules governing the communication and interaction between human beings and future forms of intelligence.
Credit: Florian Voggeneder
Inquiry into the essence of artificial intelligence inevitably raises the question of the nature of our own intellectual capacities. Whosoever delves into the matter of AI cannot but confront HI, human intelligence. Ars Electronica’s first-ever Brain Hackathon was initiated by g.tec and produced in cooperation with that firm. For two days (Fri & Sat), 100+ participants will be grappling with the matter of how else today’s brain-computer interfaces can be deployed. From sewing machines to robots to earth movers—basically speaking, all kinds of equipment can be steered by a human being’s thoughts.
Credit: Robert Bauernhansl
Small Cities Forum. When we talk about innovation, we think of Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Tokyo, New York, London, of the megacities, which is understandable since they’re the locations of the elite universities, financial markets, big corporations and political heavyweights. But in fact, most economic output is produced by small-to-midsize companies located in outlying regions. Precisely these regions or small cities can be the starting points of extraordinary innovation. They’re epicenters of development that have to be nurtured and supported. The Small Cities Forum is a platform for representatives of regions, cities and communities that are doing interesting things to nurture regional innovation.
Credit: Florian Voggeneder
6:30 PM / Brucknerhaus
At the big Ars Electronica Gala, the winners of the Prix Ars Electronica and the European Commission’s STARTS prize will be called up to the stage and their well-deserved statuettes bestowed upon them. One of the stars is Lisa Buttinger, a native of Upper Austria who garnered the Golden Nica in the u19 – CREATE YOUR WORLD category. She’ll be joined by: David O‘Reilly (IE), whose animated film “Everything” was honored in Computer Animation; Cedrik Fermont (CD/BE/DE) and Dimitri della Faille (BE/CA) for “Not Your World Music: Noise In South East Asia” in Digital Musics; and Maja Smrekar for “K-9_topology” in Hybrid Art. The STARTS Prize in Artistic Exploration goes to Etsuko Yakushimaru for “I’m Humanity”; the recipient in Innovative Collaboration is Gramazio Kohler Research of ETH Zürich and the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT for their “Rock Print” installation.
BATTLE-AX, Credit: Susanna Hofer
7:30 PM– 4 AM / POSTCITY
The Ars Electronica Nightline lineup is a mix of electronic music, performances and media art; the venue is the Gleishalle in POSTCITY.
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM / Train Hall Mainstage / NOISE OPENING
I.M. FREE / SPECTRO DUO; Interface Cultures Sound Performances; Stevie J.Sutanto – Spirit Spaces; Gabriela Gordillo, Irene Ródenas Sáinz de Baranda – Fuzzy_Logic Machine; Julia del Río – Communication Noise; Monica Vlad – Lost, but not lost forever
8:30 PM – 2 AM / Train Hall MAIN STAGE + MAIN STAGE 2
DARKSTAR (Warp); DORIAN CONCEPT (Ninja Tune); THROWING SHADE (Ninja Tune); LORENZO SENNI (Warp); KOENIG (Laub Records); BATTLE-AX
11 PM – 4 AM / SALON STAGE
DJ MARCELLE / ANOTHER NICE MESS DJ-Set (Jahmoni); MORAST (Whistling Cattle)
Credit: Tom Mesic
9 AM – 5:15 PM / POSTCITY
The Helpers Conference. The curatorial text limning the festival theme ponders: “How in the world are we supposed to understand or come to terms with the utter Otherness of artificial intelligence when we still have such a hard time accepting human beings from other geographical, cultural and religious backgrounds?” In fact, this is what the Helpers Conference is all about—what goes into the many successful examples of people working with and on behalf of one another amidst a society in the process of changing. Speakers include migration expert Gudrun Biffl of Danube University Krems, Kenan Güngör, director of the think.difference consulting firm and research lab, Josef Bauer, an activist in the area of housing for asylum-seekers (Wohnen mit Asyl), journalist and author Petra Ramsauer, and Philipp Etzlinger of uugot.it.
Credit: Florian Voggeneder
10 AM – 2:30 PM / OK
The Prix Forums (10 AM-1:30 PM) and STARTS Forums (1:30 PM-2:30 PM) offer opportunities to get personally acquainted with the Prix Ars Electronica prizewinners and those honored by the European Commission’s STARTS initiative. The artists will present their work, elaborate on their approaches and methods, speak about their perspectives and visions, and take questions from the audience. The sessions will be moderated by competition jurors.
Beginning 10 PM / OK (Deck)
The OK Night is a festival classic. Markus Reindl curated this year’s lineup:
Zíur (DE) / Honorary Mention from the 2017 Prix Ars Electronica; Gancalo F. Cardoso & Ruben Pater: A Study into 21st Century Drone Acoustics (PT) / Award of Distinction from the 2017 Prix Ars Electronica; Mischmeister M (AT); Heap (AT); AT-AT-AT (AT); Visual Design: das gegenlicht & Leonardo
The Memories of Borderline, Kay Voges and CyberRäuber
Ars Electronica Center, POSTCITY, OK
Theater and Digital Media: The theater is said by many to absolutely epitomize analog art—conveyed exclusively by human actors and their performances. Nevertheless, the theater has actually always been a forerunner in experimentation with new technologies, trying out new forms of storytelling and on-stage performance. In light of digital and interactive media’s massive permeation of everyday life and the important roles that Facebook et al. now play in social and cultural life, we’re now opening a new chapter in the shared interests of the performative and media art scenes, whereby this common interest goes far beyond video or projection mapping and stage design. The latest hype surrounding virtual reality and augmented reality has not only brought forth a new generation of gaming gadgets; it has also attracted the attention of theatrical producers who have recognized this development’s huge narrative and performative potential. Conversely, theatrical expertise is providing valuable stimulation for the design of new technologies like social robots, digital assistants, chatbots, autonomous systems, learning machines and, by no means least of all, artificial intelligences. In cooperation with the European Theatre Convention, Ars Electronica is staging its first international network get-together and think-tank focused on the interaction of digital media and theatrical performance. European Theatre Lab: Drama Goes Digital cordially invites theater producers, media artists and cultural activists to convene and work together on a digital strategy for European theater.
Credit: Florian Voggeneder
7:30 PM – 1 AM / POSTCITY
The Big Concert Night. A unique and extremely successful cooperative relationship is being carried on and reinvented. Ars Electronica’s Big Concert Night in collaboration with the renowned Bruckner Orchester Linz is a jewel of the festival. There’s scarcely a comparable opportunity to experience such an intensive encounter of instrumental music-making and digital sounds, and of the music of the past and present. This year, Markus Poschner, the new conductor of the Bruckner Orchester, will add a new musical wrinkle to this encounter amidst the huge Gleishalle (Track Hall) of POSTCITY. Poschner is also a superb jazz pianist and has invited several other soloists working in this genre to join him on his Big Concert Night. Classical orchestral music—Scherzo and Adagio from Bruckner’s 8th Symphony—jazz, sound art and digital visualizations will be presented on multiple stages set up throughout the Gleishalle, among which the audience can experience the evening’s tonal realms in peripatetic fashion. Next up are the prizewinners in the Prix Ars Electronica’s Digital Music and Sound Art category. The third part of program is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the ORF–Austria Broadcasting Company’s Ö1 Kunstradio.
10 AM – 4 PM / POSTCITY
„Future in a Nutshell – Future for All“ is a special event—an intensive encounter with the key developments and technological trends of the coming decade, with presentations on an introductory level that’s understandable by all. Experts in business, science and technology will conduct half-hour sessions treating topics that are highly relevant here. What’s the current state of the technology? Where are technologies like machine learning and AI already being used, and what can be expected in the near future? Other important topics here are autonomous mobility, the impact on urban planning, smart cities, digital assistants, social robots and the internet of things. What’s behind all this and what’s emerging on the horizon right now? We’ll also discuss Blockchain and Bitcoin, game-changing developments, the impact of which goes far beyond a technological context to affect our economy and our very lives. Complementing these presentations will be guided tours of the festival venues. At the Ars Electronica Center, for example, visitors can peruse the new VR Lab that, together with Deep Space 8K, offers total immersion in the world of virtual reality and a solid introduction to this technology’s possibilities.
Credit: Cori O-Lan
7:30 PM – 9 PM / POSTCITY
Maki Namekawa in Concert: The 2017 Ars Electronica Festival concludes on a high note with an extraordinary concert in Gleishalle. Pianist Maki Namekawa plays all 20 etudes by Philip Glass; Cori O-Lan contributes the real-time visualizations.