Ars Electronica Futurelab – The first 25 years and beyond

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(Linz, 9.9.2021) The Ars Electronica Futurelab is celebrating its 25th anniversary. – A good reason to look back and into to the future. To mark this occasion, the Ars Electronica Festival from September 8 to 12, 2021, will feature a very particular multimedia program and a whole series of innovative highlights from the Ars Electronica Think- and Do-Tank. With Alchemists of the Future, the lab presents a hybrid space that connects people on-site and from a distance with a great deal of creativity and technology – entirely in the spirit of A New Digital Deal. Whether directly in the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, via remote-controlled robot from a distance or video stream, per chat or drawing pad – on this journey through time, the Ars Electronica Futurelab leads visitors through a vast space of experiments and adventures on a path to the future.

Alchemists of the Future – The Journey
Alchemists of the Future – The Journey provides an exciting glimpse into the lab’s ideas, methods, and tools. This hybrid, interactive and participatory exhibition format uses works from the Ars Electronica think tank to open a multifaceted view of the digital transformation.
Numerous exhibits demystify concepts like artificial intelligence and virtual reality or get to the bottom of the creative potential of algorithms. With living ink that independently generates mysterious messages, they make the relationship between nature and technology visible or process visitors’ biometric data into a musical composition through the creativity of an AI. If you have always wanted to explore the most remote parts of the human body, you can do so with Virtual Anatomy. And in the CoBot Studio, visitors can find out how creatively researchers are working today on successful teamwork between humans and robots in a working environment of tomorrow. Beyond that, Alchemists of the Future offers one thing: inspiration and visions for a personal, but also the collective future.
A Hybrid Space allows virtual and real worlds to merge. Visitors can network and interact creatively with each other on site, online and through a telepresence robot. Guided tours through Alchemists of the Future – The Journey open a view into the black box of technology and demystify what lies behind the current debate about technological progress in our society.
Find out what to expect on this journey through the ideas and visions from 25 years of the past, present, and future of the Ars Electronica Futurelab and its Alchemists of the Future in this video tour that takes you through the exhibits in the Ars Electronica Center.

Futurelab Day: September 9, 2021
The Futurelab Day on September 9th will be dedicated to profound topics such as the climate crisis, migration, and digital transformation with Morning Inspirations, talks and discussions. Together with selected experts, future activists, researchers, young innovators and partners of the Lab, important questions of the present and future will be discussed in Deep Issue Talks and an Open Discussion. The varied program invites you to be inspired by the perspectives of the Ars Electronica’s Future Alchemists.
Embedded in an atmosphere of visualized sound and electric noise from the render engines of artists, researchers and Deep Neural Networks, the Futurelab Day is approaching an electrifying climax with Night Performances in Deep Space 8K, while pointing the way to a potential future.
To kick off the evening, The Experts of the Future present their perspectives, developing new narratives for the future. Selfmade Electronic Origami Instruments demonstrate what hybrid art on the border between origami and robotics sounds like, and Sounding Letters accompanies the event with a musical tribute to the letters AEF and AEC, which translates the initials of the jubilarians into AI-generated sound. An Online Networking Session invites you to reflect together with artists and researchers from the Ars Electronica Futurelab virtually yet personally on their perspectives and possibilities for working collectively on the future. The multi-faceted program concludes with a trip to the lowest point of the Mariana Trench, audio visually exploring the geographical edge of the planet and the chronological edge of the evening.

Alchemists of the Future – The Book
The book “Alchemists of the Future – Ars Electronica Futurelab – the first 25 years and beyond,” produced in collaboration with author and curator Andreas J. Hirsch, interprets the work of the Future Alchemists in literary terms and forms the basis for this particular reflection on a history of the future. It reveals insights into the lab’s DNA and the milestones on its path to the future and is available both as a download and to order as a hard copy.

Inside Futurelab – Alchemists of the Future /Foto: Birgit Cakir / Print version

Bio Ink Experience – Kids Workshop / Foto: Birgit Cakir / Print version

Alchemists of the Future – The Journey / Foto: Birgit Cakir / Print version

Ars Electronica Spaxels / Ars Electronica Futurelab / Foto: Martin Hieslmair / Print version