Linz, AUSTRIA – Sunday, September 2, 2012 – The Big Picture, New Concepts for a New World is the theme of Ars Electronica 2012. Ars Electronica made its debut in Linz, Austria in 1979. Since then the festival is a place of coexistence between art and technology where these two disciplines interweave and inform each other and as consequence are presented as one.

The festival is exploring The Big Picture through artwork, seminars, cinema, animation, music and language in an effort to identify all-encompassing images that capture the world that is coming to be. It is not only the variety of mediums to make the festival reach in contents and events, it is also the intense calendar taking place in different locations of the city from early morning till late night.

Spending a day at Ars Electronica the visitor might find him/herself swinging between buildings multiple times to make sure not to miss performances, concerts, outdoor installations and any interactive piece that requires the viewer participation.

A must-be-seen is the exhibit at the Ars Electronica Center titled “Out of Control” (Aßuer Kontrolle) on multiple levels. A series of projects focus on the issue of Telecommunications Data Retention (TDR) and possible implications for citizens’ privacy and freedom. In particular artist Manu Luksch presents a MANIFESTO FOR CCTV FILMMAKERS (2007) stating that due to the increasing number of surveillance cameras installed in public spaces there is no need for filming permit to stage a movie in public spaces anymore. Everything a potential director might want to film it might be already on records.

On the same topic, a group of austrian students from the Vienna University of Technology have launched an initiative that aims to create a comprehensive database of locations where surveillance cameras are installed. They take pictures and upload them on with the geographic coordinates of the site. This way the public could know if they have been on camera.

With 800 millions users Facebook seems to be an endless resource of data of all sorts about us. In a project titles “Europe Versus Facebook” Max Scherms created a puzzle out of a full size picture of himself. Matching puzzle tiles with the cut outs on the near by wall allows the viewer to discover the categories under which data about its users are collected by Facebook. Scherms also put together a website and states that “the way Facebook gathers and sells info is legal in US although violates existing data protections laws in Europe”. The battle is on.

Scientists might not like the attempt to humanize the machine and they might also dislike thinking that machine have a life on their own which transcends their functionality. On the second level of the Ars Electronica Center that seems to be exactly the point. Right when visitor might start to feel overwhelmed by technology there is a chance to go back to man or better to humanize animated objects. “What Machines Dream Of” is the section of the exhibit where that happens. As the statement reads: “There’s no machine in the world that even come close to what nature can create, every single one of them -whether a product of industry, science or art- is, in any case, impressive testimony to humankind’s striving to discover, to comprehend and to master nature and nature’s inter-most forces”.

Also in this section Peter Ablinger, Winter Ritch and Thomas Musli present “Deus Cantando” exploring fascinating territories at the nexus of language and music. A piano plays automatically every hour while words are projected on a screen. Still possible to catch this human made piano performance. Hans Polteraurer presents “Regular Randomness”, “Stroboscope Disc” and “Shadow Spiral”. All three projects play with the physical inability of the human brain to process individually images that move at a certain speed. It is known that when a picture moves faster than 16 frames per second our brain is no longer able to differentiate among the single images and interprets the sequence as continuos motion.

Sunday ended with a concert conducted by Phil Glass and performed by Linz Symphonic Orchestra.
Monday is music day at Ars Electronica and still more to visit. Stay tuned!

More info on Ars Electronica

Edited by Valeria Federici – Art Editor


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