New Media Art Festival in Trbovlje, Sept 13-15, 2018 (Programme & Videos)

By , 13 Sep 2018, 10:28 AM Lifestyle
Takayuki Todo: SEER: Simulative Emotional Expression Robot Takayuki Todo: SEER: Simulative Emotional Expression Robot From the Festival's website

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A three-day festival where art meets technology. 

STA, 13 September 2018 - The town of Trbovlje will host the 10th Speculum Artium festival of new media art, the closest Slovenia has to the landmark Ars Eletronica. It will kick off tonight with an experimental performance by The Stroj, a Slovenian art collective of drummers.

The festival has transformed the once industrial town into a city of new media art, featuring authors and projects combining art, science and technology.

Some 20 art-and-science projects will be presented this year, the largest number of far, accompanied by lectures and a panel debate on artificial life.

The idea is to bring the 21-century new media art to broader audiences, and to show that digital technology can be used in different ways and that it is connected with the classical visual arts, says curator Maša Jazbec, who has a PhD in new media art.

The festival was first held in Ljubljana in 2008, but then moved to Trbovlje, where it has been very well received after some initial apprehension.

At the time, the once thriving industrial town was a place of run-down industrial companies with a high unemployment rate.

But Zoran Poznič, the director of the Trbovlje Workers' Home, a cultural centre, had "a vision to do something new, different, hi-tech", says Vesna Jesih from the cultural centre.

"We could say we have arisen like a phoenix from the ashes. We had to find a new story, a kind of a recurring theme."

She says the festival as well as the Trbovlje New Media City, a project of the same cultural centre, are about "humanising technology".

"We would not like technology to make people lonely and alienated, we'd like people to understand it and use it to bring them closer together."

She adds that along with the Trbovlje New Media City project, new high-tech companies started to pop up in the area, such as Dewesoft, Chipolo and Katapult.

"It has transpired that it's possible to make a quantum leap from the ashes to a new era, which Trbovlje desperately needed," Jazbec has told the STA.

The festival has featured a number of acclaimed artists, scientists and businessmen from around the globe since its inception.

Jazbec points to robots developer Hiroshi Ishiguro, Honda Robotics' team with their humanoid robot Asimo, and Australia's artist Stelarc.

"These achievements mean a lot not only for Trbovlje but for Slovenia in general, as there is no such festival except Ars Electronica in this part of Europe."

This year's highlights are Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, the pair who will present Plant Growing, their new interactive computer installation which uses plants as an intermediary between man and machine.

The two artists teach at the University of Art and Design in Austria's Linz, where they head the Department for Interface Culture at the Institute for Media.

The festival will also feature a premiere of We Are Forging the Future, a collaboration with the Japanese company Yaskawa Robotics and Laibach, an acclaimed avant-garde art and music group which originates from Trbovlje.

Several other Slovenian artists will be put on display, including Srečo Dragan, Franc Solina, Marko Glavač, Robertina Šebjanič and Valerie Wolf Gang.

The festival, which will close on Saturday, will be accompanied by the DigitalBigScreen video festival, which annually features works by video pioneers.

This year it has taken a step forward to present a new technology of 360-degree video as the first festival in the region to do so, according to Jesih.

A special guest will be one of the pioneers of 360-degree video production, Milica Zec, a Serbian-born US-based film and virtual reality director.

She will give a talk and present Giant, her video production that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

The English website for the festival can be found here, while details of the programme are below, followed by a map showing the location of Trbovlje:

  1. 9. Thursday
  • 9:00 – 21:00  Exhibitions Nova Galerija, Delavski dom Trbovlje, Zasavski muzej Trbovlje
  • 10:00 – 10:25 πTon (performance) – Theater stage at Delavski dom Trbovlje
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Round table: Challenges of intermedia education in the beginning of 21st century – Youth center Trbovlje
    presentation of international interdisciplinary study programs (art – science – new technology):
    • Prof. Aki Yamada, PhD representing Empowerment Informatics, PhD and M.A.  level, Uni. of Tsukuba, Japan
    • Prof. Christa Sommerer, PhD and Prof. Laurent Mignonneau, PhD representing Interface Culture, PhD and M.A. level, Uni. Linz, Austria
    • Prof. Victoria Vesna, PhD and Prof. Jim Gimzewski, program UCLA Art|Sci Center and Art Sci NanoLab, Uni. of LA, California, USA
    • Prof. Peter Purg, PhD: representing Media Arts and Practices, M.A. level, Uni. of Nova Gorica, Slovenia
  • 14:00 – 15:00 Milica Zec lecture: Virtual Reality for Positive Social Change – Youth Center Trbovlje
  • 16:00 interactive installation Wet dreams, Valerie Wolf Gang (live experiment)
  • 17:00 – 18:00 Art as a Living System – Youth Center Trbovlje
    Discussion with intermedia artists prof. Christa Sommerer, PhD, prof. Laurent Mignonneau, PhD and researcher prof. Marko Grobelnik from the Artificial Intelligence laboratory Institute Jozef Stefan. Moderated by Luka Hvalc.
  • 18:00 – 18:25 πTon (performance) – Theatre stage at Delavski dom Trbovlje
  • 19:00 Opening ceremony – Cinema hall Delavski dom Trbovlje 

Friday, 14th of September

  • 9:00 – 20:00 Exhibitions Nova Galerija, Delavski dom Trbovlje, Zasavski muzej Trbovlje
  • 10:00 – 10:45 Yaskawa: presentation of professions now and in the future – Cinema hall Delavski dom Trbovlje 
  • 10:00 – 10:25 πTon (performance) – Cinema hall Delavski dom Trbovlje
  • 12:00 – 13:00 DECADES lecture: Maša Jazbec, PhD – Cinema hall Delavski dom Trbovlje
    Speculum Artium and robotics
  • 13:00 – 13:25 πTon (performance) – Cinema hall Delavski dom Trbovlje
  • 16:00 interactive installation Wet dreams, Valerie Wolf Gang (live experiment)

Saturday, 15th of September

  • 9:00 – 18:00 Exhibitions Nova Galerija, Delavski dom Trbovlje, Zasavski muzej Trbovlje
  • 11:00 – 11:25 πTon (performance) – Cinema hall Delavski dom Trbovlje
  • 16:00 interactive installation Wet dreams, Valerie Wolf Gang (live experiment)

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