STUDIO(dys)TOPIA – At the Peak of Humankind and Ars Electronica Gardens

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Welcome to Planet B
A different life is possible. But how?
Ars Electronica Festival 2022
September 7 – 11, in Linz / Austria

What if …? Those three words have introduced many good stories, including the story the Ars Electronica Festival 2022 wants to tell — in conjunction with 1,000 artists, researchers, designers, developers, entrepreneurs and activists, as well as anyone who wants to drop by from September 7-11 and contribute their thoughts and chapters.

But what is the story all about? In view of all the crises and the fruitless bickering between governments, parties and lobbies, the Festival for Art, Technology and Society is doing a thought experiment: What if we had already made it? If we had mastered the challenges of our time and developed into a society characterized by its ecological, economic and social sustainability? How would we live then? And what would our path there have looked like?

“Welcome to Planet B. A different life is possible. But how?” is Ars Electronica’s headline, implying that we can still manage to launch a different future. With hundreds of artistic projects, it shows what this future could look like and that contradictions don’t automatically have to lead to failure; on the contrary, they’re starting points for formulating shared solutions. But it also emphasizes that the clock is ticking and that we need to get to these solutions as quickly as possible.

Almost 30 artistic perspectives on “Planet B” are bundled in the exhibition “Studio(dys)topia — At the Peak of Humankind,” while another 15 perspectives are presented in the “Ars Electronica Gardens” show. Both exhibitions can be seen from September 7 to 11 in “Kepler’s Garden,” on the campus of Johannes Kepler University Linz.

STUDIO(dys)TOPIA – At the Peak of Humankind

It is an irony of history that we — imagining ourselves at the peak of our success one moment — proclaimed the “Age of Man,” only to be forced to radically change course the next…
“STUDIO(dys)TOPIA — At the Peak of Humankind” is the motto of the theme exhibition at this year’s Ars Electronica. The exhibition comprises almost 30 artistic perspectives from all over the world. The starting point for its narrative is the unique course of our cultural and technological history and the consequences that have (or have not) resulted from it. It is not our great achievements that are illuminated, but rather their darker sides, and the dramatic effects that our actions have had and continue to have on ourselves, other living beings and nature. Because no technology, no matter how powerful, will change any of that, it is up to us to change ourselves.

“STUDIO(dys)TOPIA — At the Peak of Humankind” asks which economic, ecological and social values we must base our future actions on, and how we can ensure that these values remain an integral part of our cultural self-image, our cultural identity. Art and science are cited as two decisive strategies for this change, because by their very nature they grow from contradictions and contrasts, indeed they need them — and do not break down as a result.

the Intersection / Superflux (GB)
The film “the Intersection” is set in the near future, in a time after modern technology has brought social and economic inequality to critical levels. Influenced by Ken Burns’ documentary “The Dust Bowl,” the film tells the stories of people who once struggled to rethink technology, serve community, protect nature, and value planetary relationships. The film aims to inspire us to question our relationship with technology and encourages us to work toward a more just, pluralistic world.

Carbon Echoes / Kat Austen (UK/DE)
“Carbon Echoes” is an artistic trilogy that revolves around carbon, the central element of organic chemistry. Kat Austen (UK/DE) addresses the impact of fossil fuel extraction on landscapes, ecosystems and our society, and what the increasing prevalence of microplastics means for trees and forests.

INVISIBLE SEAM / Siobhán McDonald (IE)
Siobhán McDonald (IE) investigates particles hidden in the air and the ground from times and worlds long past and tells their story. “INVISIBLE SEAM” focuses primarily on that thin layer between earth and stone, where the most important changes always take place, become visible and are buried again. The project focuses on the marshland, its ecosystem, its history and mythology.

Living Dead — On the Trail of a Female / Laura Deborah Cinti (IT/ZA)
Encephalartos woodii is one of the rarest plants on earth. In 1895 the last male specimen was found in the Ngoye Forest in South Africa, taken from nature and its offshoots propagated in botanical gardens. All the specimens that exist today are therefore clones of one and the same male plant. Numerous expeditions have since tried to find another — female — specimen to save Encephalartos woodii from extinction. So far without success. However, since the Ngoya Forest has not yet been fully explored, there is still the possibility and hope that such a specimen does exist. “Living Dead — On the Trail of a Female” participates in this search and wants to make clear how easily and quickly we lose species and thus the biological diversity of the earth.

Archive of Spatial Knowledge / Irakli Sabekia (GE/NL)
“Archive of Spatial Knowledge” collects memories of people who have been displaced from their homes or oppressed in their new homes. The online archive uses a mobile software application that enables people to link their very personal stories to very concrete places. This turns a mere archive into an intervention and form of resistance. “Archive of Spatial Knowledge” gives people back their voice exactly where their silence was initially enforced.

The Fallen Clouds / Josefina Buschmann (CL), Daniela Camino (CL), Nicole L’Huillier, Francisca Saéz(CL), Poli Mujica (CL).
Selfies, memes, tweets — they all live in the cloud. But where are these clouds actually? What footprints do they leave behind and how can we make them visible? “The Fallen Clouds” is a speculative, research-based installation that explores the socio-ecological resonances of digital infrastructures and aims to break the myth of cloud computing once and for all. The project tells the story of a digital cloud in search of its body and its origin — a search that begins with submarine cables in the Pacific and leads to data centers in Santiago and lithium mines in the Atacama Desert. On its journey, the Cloud becomes entangled with human and superhuman beings, with myths of the past, present and future. The exploration takes the form of an atmospheric installation consisting of floating sound sculptures and a film projection, opening up an immersive experience.

Synthetic Messenger / Tega Brain (AU), Sam Lavigne (US)
“Synthetic Messenger” is a botnet that artificially inflates the value of climate news. Day after day, the Internet is scoured for climate change news, and 100 bots then visit all the articles they find and click on every ad they can find. In our media landscape, which is dominated by algorithms, the news thus massively increases in value — because page views and ad clicks decide value patterns and thus influence which stories and topics will be reported on in the future. “Synthetic Messenger” is a climate-friendly manipulation of the algorithmic systems that shape our narratives today. The project by Tega Brain (AU) and Sam Lavigne (US) raises, if nothing else, the question of whether we might not consider the media itself a form of climate engineering?

The Data Nutrition Project / Kasia Chmielinski (US), Sarah Newman (US), Matthew Taylor (US) & Team
Increasingly, the recommendations of AI systems are contributing to decisions that have adverse consequences for communities that already face discrimination. One cause of this is the data used to train these models. Biased data sets are like mirrors of societal ills, and that is what “Data Nutrition Project” aims to make visible. Like a nutrition label for food, the “Dataset Nutrition Label” conveys information about a dataset and aims to help mitigate the harm caused by problematic data. The team is also working on educational initiatives, including a children’s book and podcast, to raise awareness of algorithmic risks.

A Letter from Yene / Manthia Diawara (ML/USA)
Manthia Diawara’s documentary presents itself as a kind of letter to the viewers. The filmmaker not only acts as a narrator, but is also a protagonist of the plot, who owns a house on the beach of Yene and reflects on his encounters with fishermen and stone collectors. He asks about the intersections of their lives and how they consciously and unconsciously undermine the functioning of their common habitat.

Biobot: AI ARThropods / Zoran Srdić Janežič (SI)
Zoran Srdić Janežič (SI) works with biotechnological processes and algorithms to create a “biobot” — a zoomorphic being that is, by all appearances, alive. The artist creates a narrative around the biotechnological body and its representation; the search of an algorithm fed with biological data becomes an evolutionary process.

Calico Human / Kuang-Yi Ku (TW/NL)
By activating melanin-producing cells, human skin can be tanned without being damaged. A procedure such as this could help reduce the high risk of skin cancer for people originating in Europe but living in Australia or New Zealand. “Calico Human” asks whether it is desirable, and if so, to use such new biomedical technologies. The project explores the future of biomedical services and revolves around racism, migration, health and fashion.

Center for Plant Immigrant Integration / Kuang-Yi Ku (TW/NL)
The Center for Plant Immigrant Integration explores the relationship between plants and bacteria as a metaphor for human migration. Kuang-Yi Ku (TW/NL) is from Taiwan and lives in the Netherlands, and is interested in parallels between the integration of immigrants into European societies and that of asian plants into European ecosystems.

Floating Codes / Ralf Baecker (DE)
“Floating Codes” is a light and sound installation that traces the inner processes and hidden aesthetics of artificial neural networks. The exhibition space itself becomes an open artificial neural network that continuously processes information. 250 artificial neurons (perceptrons) are arranged here in a hexagonal topological grid. All neurons can register and respond to light stimuli, in turn sending out light pulses to communicate with other neurons in the space. The signals loop, change, provide feedback, and cancel themselves out, resulting in complex and continuous changes in visual and auditory motion.

Echinoidea Future — Adriatic Sensing / Robertina Šebjanič (SI)
“Echinoidea Future — Adriatic Sensing” explores biogeological and morphological conditions in the habitat of sea urchins, where anthropogenic liquid waste is causing increasingly low oxygen levels in the water. Using aquatic species as an example, Robertina Šebjanič (SI) aims to illustrate the local impact of global human activity. Her project includes the art installation “Echinoidea Future — Adriatic Sensing”, workshops, the technological innovation “S.M.A.R.T Urchin” by Marjan Žitnik and a ZPA initiative for social innovation.

ECOLALIA / Klaus Spiess (AT), Ulla Rauter (AT), Emanuel Gollob (AT), Rotraud Kern (AT)
In the year 2100, one third of biological species and nine tenths of languages will have disappeared. Given this decline in diversity, Klaus Spiess (AT), Ulla Rauter (AT), Emanuel Gollob (AT) and Rotraud Kern (AT) declare themselves literati of the post-Anthropocene and make microbial reproduction and death the sources of their poetry. The fragile oral flora of their audience serves as a metaphor for them.

FASHION FRONTIER PROGRAM / Yuima Nakazato (JP), Ryua Honda (JP), Takahito Iguchi (JP), Yukari Wada (JP)
What can fashion do in the face of climate crisis, pandemics and war? The “FASHION FRONTIER PROGRAM” was founded in 2021 by fashion designer Yuima Nakazato (JP) in the belief that appropriately sensitized future fashion designers can contribute to becoming a better society. However, the “FASHION FRONTIER PROGRAM” also aims to motivate the general public to think about clothing, raise our social awareness, and encourage us to usher in a new era.

Feral Automated System: ULTB-1 / Posthuman Studies Lab (RU)
“Feral Automated System: ULTB-1” represents a networked, communistic body composed of plant, digital, and technical layers. Here, plants are a hyle, a primordial substance, and form the scaffolding and material of a network that conceives of the ecological status of plant biodiversity as a legacy of agrobiological experimentation. Once cultivated in Soviet laboratories and communal households, these plants still perform their work as green proletarians, accumulating toxic resources at the margins of abandoned industries. The products of their labor, in turn, become the power source that sustains the network.

LIQUID SKY / Mauricio Lacrampette (CL), Santiago Valdivieso (CL), Diego Gajardo (CL), Lucas Margotta (CL)
In the Chilean Atacama Desert, a camera captures an image of the sky reflected from a rotating water surface and transmits this image live to Linz. Here, in turn, the image is projected and the presence and movement of its viewers is recorded by sensors. From the collected data, a variability pattern is created, which in turn is sent back to Chile, where it influences the rotation speed of the water surface. The result is distortions of the projected image in Linz. “Liquid Sky” creates a space-time portal that turns the observers into the observed and vice versa.

Marine Caves and Benthic Terrazzo/ Hypercomf (GR), Markos Digenis (GR)
“Marine Caves and Benthic Terrazzo” focuses on the protection and conservation of marine ecosystems. As part of a comprehensive study, Markos Digenis (GR) and a team of scientists researching at HCMR documented the pollution of Cretan cliff caves by micro- and macroplastics. This also resulted in square photographs that became the starting point for the production of the prototypical floor tiles “Benthic Terrazzo.” The production process of traditional Venetian terrazzo tiles was adapted so that the micro and macro plastic collected on the coast of Tinos and all over Greece by the “Blue Cycle Network” could be incorporated into the tiles.

Ouroboros / Kat Austen (UK/DE), Fara Peluso (IT/DE)
Kat Austen (UK/DE) and Fara Peluso (IT/DE) develop a bioplastic grown from algae that not only fulfills the circular goal of leaving no trace, but also promotes the diversity of the plant world in the course of its production. With “Ouroboros,” the two artists not only create a symbol of the process of renewal and rebirth, they show people and algae as part of a habitat that is affected by the production of a new material. The latter also forms the raw material from which Kat Austen (UK/DE) and Fara Peluso (IT/DE) made the prototype of an LP record from bioplastic as part of their “STARTS Repairing the Present” residency at Ars Electronica.

Postdigital Natures of Planet B / PDNB (AT/DE/UK/IT)
“Postdigital Natures of Planet B” explores ambiguous intersections and interfaces between the natural, virtual, and built environments. 3D-printed structures with virtual overlays show the potential of combining renewable, recyclable and renewable materials with robotic manufacturing. In terms of interior design, both flora and fauna come into play. It all adds up to a positive, colorful, and post-digital vision of “Planet B.”

Project Percentage / Yi-Wen Lin (TW), Lien-Cheng Wang (TW), Aluan Wang (TW), Jinyao Lin (TW), Che-Yu Wu (TW), Newyellow (TW)
A hundred mountains rise, then an island is built. “Project Percentage” is an innovative nonprofit experiment that combines digital art and social action. Symbolizing the “Landscapes of the 100 Highest Peaks” in Taiwan, “Project Percentage” offers 10,000 generative art NFTs for sale. Collectors are invited to form a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), and all donations will in turn be pooled into public cryptocurrency funds.

TerraPort / Dorotea Dolinšek (SI)
Inspired by new findings in astrobiology and concepts of planet terraforming, Dorotea Dolinšek (SI) has developed an artistic machine for automatic enrichment of Martian regolith. She uses the soybean (Glycine max) as a model organism, which is planted in the regolith and mixed with processed urine, dried menstrual blood, and chopped hair. Inside the regolith, which moves on a conveyor belt, the organic and mineral substances gradually decompose and turn into a substrate that can host microorganisms and plants. “TerraPort” is part of a series of projects motivated by awareness of the fragility of our planet. Dorotea Dolinšek (SI) uses the female body in her work to highlight the essential importance of fertility for our civilization.

! brute_force – Soft Resilience / Maja Smrekar (SI), Jonas Jørgensen (DK)
Maja Smrekar (SI) and her dog are in a labyrinth and try to find each other. Although, an AI system measures the heart rates of the two and shifts passages and floor plates of the labyrinth so that no passage is possible. Only when their heart rates are completely in sync does the AI system clear the way and make it possible for humans and animals to meet. “! brute_force” asks about our relationship to and dependence on technology and emphasizes that any imbalance in this relationship makes our progress impossible. The performance can be experienced in Kepler Hall.

The NeuroRight Arcades / Roel Heremans (NL)
Neuro-wearables and BCIs (brain-computer interfaces) will soon be in use everywhere. As is often the case, technological innovation is happening faster than the discussion and implementation of its social and ethical framework. Researchers at Columbia University have therefore developed five “NeuroRights”: Intellectual privacy, personal identity, freedom of will, equal access to mental augmentation, and protection from algorithmic bias. Roel Heremans (NL) and his team, in turn, created five interactive installations to make each of these “NeuroRights” tangible. The project is on view at the Learning Center.

Maa Kheru / Christian Kosmas Mayer (AT/DE)
Egyptian mummies are relics of a highly developed civilization for which the pursuit of immortality was a crucial cultural impetus. In his performance, Christian Kosmas Mayer refers to the belief that the dead can only attain eternal life if their voices are revived. Using computer tomography (CT) scans, the artist was able to work with scientists to create an exact replica of the vocal tract of an Egyptian mummy and then fit it with a movable silicone tongue. The artificial vocal organ allowed Christian Kosmas Mayer to produce a series of sounds from which he composed a multi-channel piece. “Maa Kheru” will be presented at the Mariendom.

LightSense / Uwe Rieger (DE/NZ), Yinan Liu (NZ), Tharindu Kaluarachchi (LK), Amit Barde (IN)
Uwe Rieger (DE/NZ), Yinan Liu (NZ), Tharindu Kaluarachchi (LK) and Amit Barde (IN) transform the interior of the Mariendom in Linz into a fantastic world of light, form and structure. With “Light Sense” they stage a huge, walk-in architecture that communicates with its visitors and, depending on their emotional state, presents itself as a pavilion of love, anger, curiosity or joy. “LightSense” can be seen in the Mariendom.

The Ars Electronica Gardens Exhibition
From global crises and their local consequences

Art, technology, society — the timeless relevance of this triad is one of Ars Electronica’s success factors. The co-operation and co-creation with partners that necessarily derive from it is another. The pandemic, of all things, made this more visible than ever before and became the initial spark for the evolution of the festival.

2020/21: Ars Electronica Gardens around the globe

In March 2020, a lockdown was declared in numerous countries, and travel restrictions came into force. Virtually overnight, the self-evident nature of our globalized world was gone. The Ars Electronica team quickly realized that it would not be possible to hold a festival as usual this fall, but there was no question of canceling it. The only way out: the festival, which by then had developed a kind of gravitas and established itself as Europe’s leading platform for art, technology and society, has to rediscover itself. Gradually, the concept of a completely decentralized, hybrid communication experiment was developed, which tried to stay in conversation with each other despite public life running on the back burner. All over the world, Ars Electronica found partners who supported the endeavor, and in September 2020, the most international festival ever for art, technology and society finally took place: A whopping 180 “Ars Electronica Gardens” on all five continents came into bloom.

2022: Ars Electronica Gardens in Linz

In 2022, Ars Electronica will once again invite visitors to come to Linz. Eleven locations in the city will be occupied, and around 1000 creative minds will be involved in hundreds of program offerings. Many of them represent museums, universities, galleries, labs, associations and initiatives that have created and organized “Ars Electronica Gardens” around the globe over the past two years. In 2022, it’s now up to Ars Electronica to make its own “Gardens Exhibition” accessible in Linz; the international origins of its contributors couldn’t be more conducive to this: This year’s “Ars Electronica Gardens Exhibition” will demonstrate the consequences of global warming around the globe and how people in Auckland, Barcelona, Bologna, the Bahamas, New York, Seoul, Tokyo and Utrecht are dealing with it.

NUBIA – Metaverse Platform / INTRONS / ESPRONCEDA – Institute of Art and Culture (ES)

The Institute of Art and Culture (ES) presents us with a new proposal for our presence and form in virtual spaces. The project created 1500 dynamic generative NFTs – called INTRONS – that can store and represent 15 features of the human genome. After a saliva sample is taken, a DNA serum is injected into this INTRON, where the serum begins to mutate and form a new digital identity using the matching NFTs. The genome of a particular person is thus digitally represented and henceforth walks in the metaverse. The project combines genetic engineering, virtual worlds and creates an artistic narrative. It propagates a visual alternative and a new understanding for a social ecosystem that is severely damaged by the reification of the body and the overemphasis on the personal image.

Collaborative Ecosystems for a Sustainable World / Institut Ramon Llull, Catalonia (ES), NewArtFoundation (ES), Hac Te (ES)
Only through collaborative practices can we develop proposals that lead to concrete projects and ultimately to a more sustainable world. Together with the NewArt Foundation and Hac Te, the Ramon Llull Institute presents what such collaborative practices look like in Catalonia and what innovative results they produce. On display will be six artworks created as part of the 2020 and 2021 “Ars Electronica Garden Barcelona,” the funding programs of ISEA2022 Barcelona, the Foundation . NewArt {foundation;} and interdisciplinary research projects developed by Hac Te.

The New Real Observatory / The New Real, Edinburgh Futures Institute & Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

The New Real Observatory is an AI experience system developed with and for artists and scientists. It aims to help learn more about how AI systems can complement and enrich art, and to what extent data science and art can cross-fertilize: Research, for example, with new low-energy approaches and methods that make the workings of AI systems more tangible; art, in turn, with its representations of nature generated by AI systems, the questioning of our capacity for action and control made possible by different ways of creating and encoding data, and the staging of that speculative point where the boundaries between humans, machines, and nature blur.

Coded Biophilia & Un Suono in Estinzione / Umanesimo Artificiale (IT)

Umanesimo Artificiale’s projects are a celebration of bits and atoms. The themes range from bio-design to marine ecology to sound art and creative coding. An experimental approach is always followed, exploring the intersections between art, science, technology, biomaterials, and critical thinking: “Coded Biophilia — Hacking Marea” by Giulia Tomasello IT), for example, focuses on biotechnologies, circular fashion, and DIY techniques; “Un suono in estinzione,” on the other hand, is an experimental art and science research project that aims to make visible the effects of the climate crisis on Alpine glaciers.

And We Thought / Sineglossa (IT)

What does it mean to be a human being? What distinguishes inanimate objects from living things? “And We Thought” rehearses an intimate, collaborative relationship between a human artist and an artificial neural language model trained with a database around psychedelic experiences. Human and machine respond to each other’s stimuli, the output of one becomes the input of the other and vice versa. The machine mixes concepts and creates alternate realities, which in turn causes humans to produce their own worldview — together they create texts, videos, and sounds. Rather than correcting the machine toward efficiency, “And We Thought” shows us a new form of collaboration between the living and the non-living. The paradigm that man uses the machine for his own purposes is thereby dissolved.

Inescapable Entanglement / XRE (Extended Reality Ensemble) (US), MEDIACOELI (IT)

The question “How can technology serve us now?” forms the starting point of a narrative about our emotional response to the climate crisis. “Inescapable Entanglement” blends insights around plant communication with aesthetics reminiscent of depictions of nature gods and hearth fairy symbolism. The project combines performance, soundscapes, augmented reality and biometric data visualization to search with the audience for new ways of living together on our planet and with our planet.

Summer Sessions at Ars Electronica 2022 / V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media (NL)

In the form of the “Summer Sessions,” an international network of cultural organizations supports promising young artists in the realization of their projects. The participating institutions scout talents from their region and enable them to spend time with other network partners, who provide the artists with professional production support and expert feedback. The compelling results produced by these “Summer Sessions” can be seen in a “pop-up exhibition” at Ars Electronica. In addition, there will be an informal network meeting at which network partners and current and former participants in the “Summer Sessions” can share their experiences.

next to me, next to you / Japan Media Arts Festival (JP)

Year after year, the “Japan Media Arts Festival” awards prizes for outstanding works in the fields of media art, online art, videos, games, animation and manga. Two of these will be presented at Ars Electronica 2022:

Miki Hirase (JP) points out that virtually all images of our time are digital. Displaying these ever-higher resolution images requires energy everywhere and at all times. Energy, however, is a scarce commodity and very expensive these days. So will we need other forms of representation in the future? For her “Projection for the next three thousand years,” Miki Hirase (JP) uses a stone into whose polished surface she engraves a text and a photo by laser. She then illuminates the stone and projects the resulting reflection onto a wall. Miki Hirase (JP) uses stone as a semi-permanent recording medium and a technique that requires only light for projection. Like the ancient stone slabs that still exist today, her work functions as a recording medium that could last several thousand years.

“Maihime” by Shota Yamauchi (JP) is a human-technical romance. Here, man is addicted to technology, and technology in turn is addicted to man. In the context of the performance installation, a human and technology try to become one — but whether they embrace or hold each other back, the two lose themselves in a sea of distance.

CODE 2022: Reclaiming Digital Agency / IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture] (NL), School of Machines, Making & Make Believe (DE), Werktank (BE), Privacy Salon/Privacytopia (BE)
How can we get politicians to stand up for our digital rights? What role should governments play and what can we do as concerned citizens, researchers and artists to fill it? Together with artists, politicians, researchers and the broadest possible public, CODE wants to initiate a critical discussion about digital rights that raises awareness and outlines new ways of what laws and regulations we concretely need to be better protected as digital citizens and consumers.

The Shape of Things to Come
MencheLAB (AT), powered by Max Perutz Labs (AT), a joint venture of the University of Vienna (AT) and the Medical University of Vienna (AT)

“The Shape of Things to Come” presents futuristic scenarios developed by scientists and artists from the Vienna BioCenter (VBC), the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine, the Institute of Technology Austria (ISTA) and the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The project is a heterogeneous representation of the way experts from different fields evaluate the changes in our environment in the future and how they want to deal with them.

Garden Aotearoa / arc/sec Lab the University of Auckland (NZ), DARA Victoria University of Wellington (NZ)

New Zealand’s “Ars Electronica Garden Aotearoa” has been participating in the Ars Electronica Festival since 2020. It sees itself as a portal through which the creative and emerging technology scene of the South Pacific becomes part of the worldwide Ars Electronica community and vice versa. Three projects will be on display at Ars Electronica 2022.

Altered Realities / Leonardo/ISAST (US), Arizona State University (US)

“Altered Realities” presents experimental visions that imagine a more vibrant, just and regenerative world. Immersive virtual reality and video art address challenges such as the climate crisis and war, and ask questions about our future.

Humanity Island — Data to be Continued / Virtual and Physical Media Integration Association of Taiwan (TW)

Pandemic and climate crisis have changed the way we live. Issues of anthropocentrism and environmental sustainability have become mainstream. Taiwan’s new media artists are also working on these issues and thinking about how we can survive in the future. “Humanity Island — Data to be Continued” reflects Taiwan’s island characteristics and cultural heritage, using the language of art to speak to the world. “Samsara” compares political prisoners in the era of white terror to the pressures human nature faces in the digital age. “Blue Tears” explores Matsu’s beautiful bioluminescent phenomenon and marine ecology. “Childhood Revisited” reproduces a Hakka community from the 1960s, and “Sandbox” immerses viewers in a “safe” information space full of irony.

Mirror Terrain / Bel Art Gallery (RS), Miloš Fath (RS)

To build a different and better future, we must not only move forward through time, but also backward. We must reprogram ourselves to see more clearly what has already passed and how we can better include our predecessors in our future endeavors. “Mirror Terrain” creates a mnemonic environment that helps us see our past and not forget it.

Hypothetical Moments / Charles Amirkhanian (US), Carol Law (US)
In the early 1970s, before the advent of the personal computer or digital art, artist Carol Law (US) and composer Charles Amirkhanian (US) teamed up in California to create media performances in a theatrical format. Their tools were high-quality 35mm Kodachrome slides, handmade slide dimmers, spatial sound recordings, and early radio studio equipment. The result is a complex and dense sound, or rather an image, reminiscent of 20th century Dada, Surrealism, Pop Art and Fluxus. The retrospective was made possible by contemporary digital technology.

!brute_force / Maja Smrekar (SI) and Jonas Jørgensen (DK) / photo: Hana Jošić / Printversion / photo album

Synthetic Messenger / Tega Brain (AU) and Sam Lavigne (US) / photo: Tega Brain, Sam Lavigne / Printversion / photo album

Carbon Echoes / Kat Austen (UK/DE) / photo: Andreas Baudisch / Printversion / photo album

YOU ARE SOURCE PROJECTION AND REFLECTION / Sophia Bulgakova (UA) / photo:Jesus Canuto Iglesias / Printversion / photo album

Tasmanian Tiger / Antoni Muntadas (ES/US) / photo: Victor Pérez-Pallarès Setó / Printversion / photo album