Fri, Dec 03, 2010 - Page 13 News List

Digital killed the analog star

The fifth edition of the Digital Art Festival Taipei casts its net wide with a diverse lineup of electronic art forms ranging from German video art of the 1960s to the latest Internet art projects

By Ho Yi  /  Staff reporter

Cyrille Brissot, Comme Narcisse …

Photo courtesy of Digital Art Festival Taipei

The Bopiliao Historical Block (剝皮寮歷史街區) in Wanhua (萬華) District was bustling with visitors on Sunday afternoon. Young couples and friends sat in a darkened room watching a selection of animation from the National Film Board of Canada, while parents and children played outside with interactive installations.

Though some visitors looked a little perplexed, the first weekend of the 5th Digital Art Festival Taipei, which is taking place at the Bopiliao Historical Block and three other venues across the city, appeared to be a success.

This year’s festival features a multitude of activities including exhibitions, film screenings, performances and forums put together by curatorial teams and art professionals from Taiwan and abroad.

Read on for festival highlights.

404 Festival

A nonprofit organization based in Rosario, Argentina, the 404 Festival was created in 2004 to promote electronic art around the world.

The 404 Festival holds an annual event where people meet, share ideas and make new art together, according to Gina Valenti, the festival’s artistic director. Each year, the 29-year-old director and musician selects works from hundreds of applicants and invites artists to join the festival, which in previous editions has toured Belgium, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. “To me, thinking comes first, technologies come second. I am looking for artists who care about new ideas and want to get involved with others rather than only thinking of their own art. If we don’t interact with others, we don’t have interactive art,” Valenti said.

For the Taipei leg of its tour, 404 Festival is exhibiting 14 interactive installations, Internet artworks, computer animations and performance art pieces.

Festival notes

What: The 5th Digital Art Festival Taipei 2010 (第五屆台北數位藝術節)

When: Until Sunday, except for the German video art program, which runs through Dec. 17

Where: Bopiliao Historical Block (剝皮寮歷史街區), Ln 173, Kangding Rd, Taipei City (台北市康定路173巷), Digital Art Center Taipei (台北數位藝術中心), 180 Fuhua Rd, Taipei City (台北市福華路180號), Red House Theater (西門紅樓), 10 Chengdu Rd, Taipei City (台北市成都路10號) and Goethe-Institut Taipei, 12F, 20, Heping W Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市和平西路一段20號12樓)

On the Net:

One example is Micro-Symphony, a musical installation composed of four microscopes that make a variety of sounds when visitors place different botanic samples collected from Bopiliao under the lens. It is the artists’ way of interacting with “the environment where the work is shown,” Valenti said.

Sign After the X, the latest Internet art project by David Clark, is an interactive Web site based on Marina Roy’s book of the same title that explores the letter X and its multiple meanings in Western culture.

As in the artist’s previous Web projects, the piece is made up of chapters and interfaces that contain hidden meanings and strange associations, all of which are thematically related.

“My background is in the field of narrative filmmaking. But I always find films limited because you have to go with a single line. What makes sense about working this way is that I can create a labyrinth of meanings that audiences can make out themselves,” Clark said.

Record > Again!

This collection of 43 German video artworks, screening at the Goethe-Institut Taipei, is the result of a massive restoration and maintenance project initiated by the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2004. To date, more than 60 pieces of early German video art, some dating back to the 1960s, have been restored and digitized.

According to Markus Wernhard from the Goethe-Institut, some 50 types of equipment manufactured over the past 40 years, most of which long ago became obsolete, were brought to life in Germany to present the videos with the equipment that was used when they were originally filmed.

In Taipei, the selected video works — made mostly in the 1970s and 1980s — are played in loop on eight television monitors simultaneously in DVD format.

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