An Inside View of the Festival, the Futurelab and a Special Story about St. Stephen’s Cathedral

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(Linz, 2.8.2021) Fascinating exhibitions, inspiring talks and conferences, theme-specific guided tours, workshops and great concerts with digital and/or classical music, and all this in Linz and 100 other locations around the globe: from September 8 to 12, the Ars Electronica Festival will once again take place as a hybrid event. The thematic starting point for our journey around the world this time is the call for a “New Digital Deal.” At Ars Electronica Home Delivery on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, Veronika Liebl and Andrew Newman will focus on the topic of “Critical Journalism,” presenting a total of four projects that address this topic from different perspectives. The live stream will start at 15:00 (CET). On Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, Episode 5 of the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s anniversary series will be devoted to the topic of “Computation & Beyond.” Matthew Gardiner and Marianne Eisl will be exploring the question of how people can be inspired to actively design the future and, above all, to do it together. Starting time is 18:00 (CET). On Friday, 6.8.2021, get ready for round 5 of the series History & Stories about St. Stephen’s Cathedral: in “Steeple with a Crescent Moon” you will learn interesting facts about the Viennese landmark. Starting time is 14:30 (CET).

Inside Festival (Episode 4): Ars Electronica 2021 kicks off in 34 days or 835 hours or 50,040 minutes
4.8.2021 / 15:00 CET

Veronika Liebl (Managing Director, Ars Electronica) and Andrew Newman (Producer European Platform for Digital Humanism, Ars Electronica) dedicate the fourth edition of Inside Festival to the topic of “Critical Journalism” and present a total of four projects that address the topic from different perspectives.
The artistic project of Celeste Rojas Mugica (CL/AR) “Ejercicios de aridez (Aridity Exercises)”, developed between 2017 and 2021, focuses on the image of a two-kilometer-long “Corvo” knife, a historical emblem of the Chilean armed forces, meticulously drawn with chalk on the surface of the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth. There is no certainty about the authorship of the drawing, but the image testifies to intention and the permanence of the physical territory into which it was etched.
Curated by the recipients of the first ever Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity, Branch Magazine, this year’s theme conference explores the ways in which, moving forward, the internet must serve society’s collective liberation and ecological sustainability. Four panels chaired by Michelle Thorne, Chris Adams, Christine Lariviere, Andres Colmenares and Alex Deschamps-Sonsino engage critically with topics such as climate justice and equality, populism and the dismantlement of power structures, solidarity and care as well as low-carbon design and education.

Ars Electronica Festival
On September 18, 1979, the first Ars Electronica Festival saw the light of day in Linz. It was a pilot project that took the emerging digital revolution as an occasion to inquire into possible futures and to locate this inquiry at the interface of art, technology and society. With this philosophy, which is still valid today, the cyberneticist and physicist Herbert W. Franke (AT), the electronic musician Hubert Bognermayr (AT), the music producer Ulli A. Rützel (AT) and Hannes Leopoldseder (AT), then director of the ORF regional studio in Upper Austria, laid the foundation for the success story of Ars Electronica. Today, more than 40 years later, Ars Electronica is one of the world’s largest hybrid platforms for media art, a festival for digital music, a showcase for creativity and innovation, and a playground for the next generation.

Ars Electronica Futurelab 25th Anniversary Series / Episode 5 – Computation & Beyond
3.8.2021 / 18:00 (CET)

How can we inspire people to actively and collectively design our future? This fifth episode of the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s 25th Anniversary Series, Computation & Beyond, addresses this far-reaching and highly important social question. Difficult or elusive content often requires a change of perspective in order to affect.
A wide variety of the lab’s ideas and concepts have found their way directly into the hearts and minds of audiences for 25 years now: art, creativity, random chance and even failures have been responsible for the most amazing results.
Matthew Gardiner and Marianne Eisl, both Artists and Key Researchers in the Ars Electronica Futurelab, present their approach to this issue using key exhibits from the lab’s present and past: A gesture-controlled spherical labyrinth, a mirror that can transform gestures into an interactive experience, kinetic sculptures somewhere between robotics and origami, or shadow silhouettes of digitally captured bodies. Using innovative concepts at the crossroads between art, technology and society, they show that it takes much more than a machine can compute to create tangible links: It is about reducing complexity to handy bits of information in order to transform important issues into playful interactive experiences.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral – History and Stories
Episode 5 / Steeple with a Crescent Moon / 6.8.2021 / 14:30 (CET)

Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the quintessential Austrian landmark. Michaela Obermayer and Reinhard Bengesser from the Ars Electronica Center invite you to Ars Electronica Home Delivery for a fascinating 3D trip through St. Stephen’s Cathedral, where they will not only show you places that are normally off-limits, but will also tell many interesting stories about religion, customs, power and politics. Episode 5 explains why for over a hundred years, a crescent moon adorned the steeple of the “Steffl” and what role numerology played in its construction.

Ars Electronica Home Delivery
“Ars Electronica Home Delivery” is a weekly program that includes guided tours of Ars Electronica exhibitions, excursions to Ars Electronica Labs, visits to the Machine Learning Studio, concerts with real-time visualizations, Deep Space LIVE sessions, workshops with engineers and talks with artists and scientists from around the world, as well as offerings for schools, universities and companies. “Ars Electronica Home Delivery” aims to make the artistic and scientific exploration of the future accessible to the widest possible audience.

Ars Electronica Festival / Foto: Ars Electronica / Printversion

Ejercicios de aridez / Virtual Project / Celeste Rojas Mugica / Printversion

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Video Inside Festival, Episode 4