First Look at the Festival Program 2014


Media outlet representatives in front of St. Mary’s Cathedral (Mariendom), Photo: Martin Hieslmair

Public and semi-public spaces in downtown Linz are the featured sites of this year’s Ars Electronica Festival September 4-8. We recently presented the key venues in a get-acquainted stroll through the urban campus we’ve dubbed Festival City. Yesterday, less than a month before the opening, we invited local media outlet representatives to take a close-up look at these extraordinary Festival grounds in the company of Ars Electronica Artistic Director Gerfried Stocker, Linz Mayor Klaus Luger and Deputy Mayor Bernhard Baier, representatives of Festival co-producers and partners, and some of the participating artists.

The specific details of this extensive lineup of works of art, conferences and events are progressively emerging on Festival to go, Festival to think & talk, Festival that shows—these are just a few of the rubrics subsuming the many productions lined up this year. This walkabout staged for the ladies and gentlemen of the press provided a good overall impression accentuating what’s newsworthy. Here’s a quickie look to whet your appetite.

Big Opening Event on Domplatz

Domplatz, the square in front of the cathedral, will be the hotspot of a don’t-miss opening event on September 4th at 8:30 PM. The spectacular highlight is “Archifon III,” an impressive sound & light show staged on and about the structure’s neo-Gothic façade. Prague-based artists Dan Gregor and Tomas Dvorak will transform Austria’s largest church into an immense audiovisual instrument that festivalgoers will be able to play via laser pointer.

Archifon III, Photo: Tomáš Dvořák/Dan Gregor

The cathedral’s interior will also be hosting one of the opening night’s featured attractions. The “Water Light Graffiti” LED wall by Antonin Fourneau lights up when it comes into contact with water—delivered, for instance, via sponge, brush or water pistol. “Constellaction” is an illuminating audiovisual display by a Polish crew named panGenerator. Their array of hundreds of tiny translucent tetrahedrons is an innovative medium for the propagation of waves of light. And “OscFluctuation” can be seen as an interactive audiovisual instrument that’s played by installation visitors’ physical movements.

Water Light Graffiti by Antonin Fourneau, Foto: FotoFilip

Hear Here

And the beat goes on … in nearby Bischofshof, artists Anatol Bogendorfer and Peter Androsch take festivalgoers on an auditory excursion through Acoustic City Linz. Their “Sonotopia” lets participants eavesdrop on the interplay between urban architecture and everyday life. So-called listening strolls and a specially conceived workshop will accompany the staging of this audible event.

katrinem during one of her audio reconnaissance patrols, Foto: Silvia Keller

The Akademisches Gymnasium one block away is the starting point of sound artist katrinem’s acoustic explorations. Together with groups of festivalgoers, she’ll show how a person’s distinctive gait sounds in the context of a particular architectural environment.

The press tour during a stopover in the Gymnasium’s courtyard. Photo: Martin Hieslmair

The Akademisches Gymnasium, the school’s courtyard and the adjacent street, Spittelwiese, are serving as headquarters of u19 – CREATE YOUR WORLD, Ars Electronica’s five-day festival-within-a-festival for young people that features 40 open labs, workshops, presentations, art projects and exhibitions. Even though school restarts on September 8th, the gyms and several classrooms are being made available for the presentation of projects and some playful R&D aimed at nurturing solutions of great future promise

Buddha on the Beach

The Akademisches Gymnasium is also hosting “Buddha on the Beach”, a large exhibition delving into Taiwan’s difficult process of identity formation in the shadow of mighty Mainland China. The show includes works by outstanding Taiwanese artists including Jui-Chung Yao’s “Long Live” documenting the military destruction of the world, and “September’s Work 2012” in which Jihong Lee takes spectators out for a spin around an underground garage.

Long Live, Photo: Jui-Chung Yao

From its underground garage to the bank’s spacious lobby and on up to the executive suites—the Sparkasse Oberösterreich is taking the Festival’s theme “C … what it takes to change” literally and making its premises available for conferences and symposia. The Future Innovators Summit offers a diversified portfolio of lectures, discussions, workshops and performances staged jointly by experts in the fields of art and design, engineering, startups and social activism.

And that’s just a sampling. In the coming days here on the Ars Electronica Blog, we’ll be keeping you posted with event updates and interviews with artists. By the way—now’s a great time to order your Festival ticket and to line up hotel accommodations. We’re very much looking forward to seeing you in Festival City September 4-8 in Linz! C you!