ars electronica 2007 – first impressions

i’ve only been here for one day and was quite tired yesterday after spending a night from hell in a sleeping coach with two strange men, both of them heavy snorers. but i have a feeling that this year’s ars electronica festival is gonna be a good one – despite the rain and the crappy, cold weather, *sigh*.

be-geistert.chneoanalog 2
kunst restmüllaufbau

goodbye privacy

i agree with marco peljahn, the featured artist at the lentos museum this year, that privacy, the theme of the festival, couldn’t have come one minute later. it is spot on as it will be one of the major themes that will preoccupy us over these coming years. how to protect our privacy in times of ubiquitous, always on connectivity? i am usually one to advocate total vulnerability, for laying it all out there and i am quite allergic to some of the conspiracy theories out there. but when a company like microsoft announces their redesigned seach engine pushing the fact that it won’t track nor store the user’s search patterns as one of its major selling points, it should be clear that this theme is on many people’s minds.

hybrid art

i am not a big fan of inventing new terminology just for the sake of it, especially when they dont explain themselves – like “hybrid art”. everyone seems a little puzzled what the new prix ars category should mean. from a quick visit at the ok center i can gather that it was used for artwork that is hard to otherwise classify because different approaches merge, it used where science meets art, performance meets new media etc. some of the pieces shown are quite “performative” and must haven presented quite the nightmare to the curator. i mean, how do you exhibit a piece like camera lucida that requires a dark room and people need stay in the dark for 3 minutes until their eyes switch to nightvision?


now here’s a neologism that fully works, because quite simply it explans itself. i have a feeling that this years campus – or sorry, i should say campus 2.0 – will be one of the highlights of this years festival. basel’s hyperwerk has invited students and professors from different schools to participate in finding art works that bridges the gap between the digital and analog worlds. the results are impressive, a knitting machines producing creditcard patterns on shawls, plastic construction pipes used in loop sequencers, an ars electronica logo made from underwear stretching over the city’s main square and much more. buzzing with exitement. a simple yet very effective trick gave the exhibit its distinctive appearance, all the signs and texts for the exhibit have been lasercut into plain cardboard, and it looks awesome.

dr. whippy

this project is such a symbol, an ice cream machine that will evaluate your voice using voice stress analysis and decide how much icecream you receive according to these findings, if you sound unhappy you will receive a bigger portion. so in theory, gief ice cream to mr. grumpy, huge scoop! but with this shitty weather ice cream is the last thing on my mind. a soup version would be in order.

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.