Ars Electronica 2010

06.09.2010 21:48

I spent the weekend in Linz visiting this year's Ars Electronica festival. I hitched a ride with a group from Kiberpipa that has been visiting the event for several years.

The festival is huge and two days we had in Linz was just barely enough time to walk though all the exhibitions. It's happening all over the city and it's surprising how much effort the city as a whole puts into modern art - Ars Electronica Center and most other venues host exhibitions all year, not just during the festival.

The exhibitions themselves ranged from what looked like completely commercial exhibits of modern technology, science-museum-like presentations to installations and abstract art involving computer graphics, electronics and mechanics.

"Hylozoic Grove" installation

This machine, for instance, mimicked a living creature. It sensed your presence with what looked like IR sensors and responded to it by contracting muscles made out of memory alloy.

"Measuring Angst" installation

This one replayed the break-up of a glass bottle in slow motion, going forward and backward in time.

I also saw the results of the toaster project, cigarette flinging robotic hands, electric drill powered monowheels, giant rabbits and a whole bunch of robots that fell well into the uncanny valley.

So a lot of interesting ideas. Imagine something like the Art & Beauty place in CCC multiplied by several orders of magnitude. What did caught my attention however was how often these ideas were lacking in implementation. All too often some robot or installation wasn't working because "it takes 6 hours to charge it and it only runs 5 minutes on batteries". Some of the most interesting things you could only see on a video recording (the rain mirror for example).

Some parts of the exhibition I also couldn't quite connect to Ars (homeopathic medicine demonstrations for instance) or Electronica (performances where people hang themselves on meat hooks).

I should mention that this year the official motto is repair and I can't agree more with the Repair Manifesto. There was a whole floor dedicated to workshops on how to repair everyday things like clothes or shoes (again, not really Electronica).

Linzer Klangwolken 2010

Last, but not least, I was blown away by Klangwolken "Baby Jet" event on Danube. Kind of a science fiction action movie combined with a musical played live in front of you. Helicopters, ships, trains, lasers, explosions and a story involving a secret invention by Konrad Zuse. I hope there will be a video available somewhere so I can watch it again and hopefully understand a bit more about what was going on.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life


Baby Jet (finale) on Vimeo -

Objects of art are not supposed to work :-) You are too much of an engineer!

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