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The famous Ars Electronica Festival turns 30 this year. The topic of the festival is Human Nature and my expectation is to see several discussions and talks focusing on desires and achievements of Humankind in relation to technology, art and society.

On the festival website it is stated: "We are entering a new age here on Earth: the Anthropocene. An age definitively characterized by humankind's massive and irreversible influences on our home planet. Population explosion, climate change, the poisoning of the environment and our venturing into outer space have been the most striking symbols of this development so far."

The schedule of the 30th Ars Electronica looks pretty intense and covers different fields of electronic arts and apparently there will be many interesting projects focusing on visualizations as well. This post mainly focuses on the projects related to the fields of infographics and data visualization.

In the Cyberarts Exhibition; Reconstitution from SosoLimited is one of the highlights for me. It is one of the nicest projects done based on the election debates last year. default the public, (Award of Distinction winner in Interactive Art category) brings a documentation about their public twitter display project. On the other hand, the new piece from Julius von Bismark (Golden Nica winner of 2008): Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus will take a place in the show as well. It consists of a device illustrating an endless story of the patents. Sounds very intriguing.

Mapping the Archive: Prix Ars Electronica from Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in collaboration with Moritz Stefaner is certainly one of the most interesting piece of the exhibition. I am very eager to see the massive data visualization of the Prix Ars Electronica archive they designed. Another event from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute will be one of the side exhibitions during the festival: See This Sound (homepage). An exhibition which has 8 different sections to study the visualization and image of sound.

As many of you may know, the Ars Electronica Center completed an extension to its original building at the beginning of this year. The new building has an impressive façade consisting of 40,000 programmable LED lights. Façade Festival is a special event about this new 'toy' of the center and in the scope of this mini-festival there will be many façade visualization projects/performances. The Behind the Façade forum also looks interesting to learn more about how to produce projects for media facades in a city context.

MIT Media Lab is the guest school of the festival. In the campus exhibition, projects such as Proximeter - Ambient Social Navigation Instrument, Cartagen - Dynamic mapping framework, g-stalt: Gestural Interaction, Telekinesis, the Hand, and Cartoons and Sourcemap - Map of Open Supply Chains look very promising to see. For a full list of projects, you may check here. The second part of the Campus exhibition will consist of student projects from the Interface Culture department of the Art University in Linz. I will write another post about the Information Visualizations projects from The Royal Interface Culture Masquerade Ball.

As a bonus, I'd highly recommend not to miss the performance: datamatics [ver.2.0] meets unitxt Ryoji Ikeda & Alva Noto in concert. I am not really sure whether they performed at the same stage before, but it is obvious that the audience has really high expectations from this event. I hope that it will be one of the greatest data-noise-music performance!

Among the conferences an talks, I highlighted History Talks and Cloud Intelligence Symposium. New Media Pioneers (7th of September 15:30) has a really rich speaker list and Cloud Intelligence Symposium (5th of September 10:30) has a visionary topic about the role and effects of the digital artists in the future world.

Of course this is not all! There are many more projects from Human Nature, History Lounge and the Ars Electronica Center. During the festival week, Information Aesthetics will try to cover projects related to infovis and infographics from Linz. It is also recommended to follow the Ars Electronica Stream and #ars09 on Twitter.

This guest blog post was written by Mahir M. Yavuz, an instructor at Interface Cultures in Kunstuniversität Linz and researcher at Ars Electronica Futurelab.


A great overview with lots of links to investigate. Thanks Mahir!

Re: your comments about Ryoji Ikeda & Carsten Nicolai - they have shared a stage before and have an ongoing collaborative project named Cyclo.

Wed 02 Sep 2009 at 12:28 AM

I second Greg. Lots of exciting projects and links to check out. Thanks for this valuable overview. I also like the idea of "guest blogger". Brings a fresh perspective. Keep it up!

Wed 02 Sep 2009 at 8:36 AM
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