Ars Electronica 1986
Festival-Program 1986
Back to:
Festival 1979-2007



'Karl Gerbel Karl Gerbel / 'Hugo Schanovsky Hugo Schanovsky / 'Horst Stadlmayr Horst Stadlmayr / 'Hannes Leopoldseder Hannes Leopoldseder

This year, Ars Electronica, the great festival of art, technology and society is held at Linz for the fifth time.

It had its premiere in 1979 combined with the International Bruckner Festival. This connection was maintained in 1980, 1982 and 1984—and the "ARS" established its own rhythm as a biennial festival.

This year, however, Ars Electronica is seperated from the IBF, which usually is held in early autumn, and the "ARS", this our second festival, a festival opened to contemporary experiments, now takes place in the early summer, exactly in the third week of June. Municipal cultural policy and planning of events expect numerous impulses from this new configuration, which will be able to reach the cultural life of the city as well as sectors of economy, tourism and hotel business. Culture will thus become an enormous motor of social development.

Being the mayor of this Upper Austrian Capital, I would like to thank all the organizing members of LIVA and ORF in the context of this informative publication, especially drawn up for the purposes of Ars Electronica, to thank in the name of the City of Linz for the successful cooperation up to now.

The future of course requires a specialization in concrete fields of duties. Thus within LIVA a separate department for further plannings and organizations dealing with Ars Electronica has already been established. The ORF in turn contributes independent items adapted to the concept and structure of the festival's overall program. Its contributions are mainly concentrated on the ORF—Upper Austria Regional Studios. Extensive radio and television coverage is meant as a tribute to the nationale and international status due to this large cultural event also from the point of media politics' view. The concept of this program drawn up by LIVA is based on the idea of Ars Electronica being an enormous event of contemporary art and technology on one side, on the other side it allows a critical examination of art, technology and society.

With its range of topics Ars Electronica stands alone worldwide. There is no other comparable festival. Apart from the BRUCKNERHAUS and the ORF—Upper Austria Regional Studios, the performances take place at Neue Galerie, Nordico, Shipyards, Posthof, Musisches Zentrum, Stadtwerkstatt, Main Square and Danube Park near Brucknerhaus.

A lot of open-air projects will be held to give as many people as possible the chance to participate. For example, the opening events will take place at Main Square and Danube Park, which as artificially accentuated cultural landscapes have a special, fascinating character for the air performances.

For this our Upper Austrian Capital, I hope that the open minded audience will make optimum use of this exclusive cultural program within Ars Electronica. The numerous guests from home and abroad help to distribute and spread the reputation of this our young festival, which already reaches far beyond our boarder lines.

All our thanks, once more, to all the planners, organizers, participating artists and scientists for their efforts.

Prof. Hugo Schanovksy
Lord Mayor of the City of Linz, Capital of Upper Austria

Art holds the banner of utopia, and that alone justifies art.
(Max Frisch)
Ars Electronica sees itself as a contemporary festival without an historical view but equally without euphoria regarding the future and blind belief in technology. The Linzer Veranstaltungsgesellschaft m.b.H. (LIVA), which is responsible for the program of Ars Electronica, tries to accord to technology the status which is due to it according to Robert Rauschenberg: a tool for the realization of artistic ideas and not meaning.

In the age of technological revolution we live in a process of change in all spheres of life: These catchwords are also valid for the organization of Ars Electronica.

New technologies make the militarization of space possible; open up the view into still unknown micro and macrostructures for scientists to revolutionize medicine; make work easier and/or ruin jobs; render us conscious of a possible man-made apocalypse.

This process of redefinition of our culture is thus experienced in an ambivalent way by the individual and the single interest groups.

Artists also face up to this new development. Many of them have exchanged brush, piano or film for computer, video or laser and the attempt to come to terms with new technologies has become a factor in cultural activity: Nam June Paik, pioneer of video art, ridicules technology; John Sanborn renders it gentle; Cabaret Voltaire presents it as violent and Minus Delta T as mystical.

Ars Electronica, as a seismograph of the artistic avantgarde in the field of tension between art and technology, now tries to present this variety of artistic approaches. However, artistic projects are not supposed to get the audience used to, or simply accept, new technologies. Ars Electronica sees itself as a place of cultural confrontation, which is to add a critical dimension to the artistic and social reflection on our future.

Ars Electronica presents 34 projects, 19 of which are commissioned works initiated by Ars Electronica. Artists from nine different countries present their original events. Here is no place for finished products from the "supermarket" of art. With the projects under the title "Art in Open Space" LIVA consciously opens up new paths towards an aesthetic communicative and not superficially technologic recovery of the "res publica". In 1986 two projects are exemplary for this:

AURORA ELETTRONICA, the opening event on the Main Square in Linz in light, laser, music and multivision by KRYPTON. The Main Square at Linz will not just serve as a stage but as the subject of the event itself—KRYPTON will try to recover the square aesthetically by means of a new visual technological language.
A. E.: BLA BLA BLA, a life performance opera from sunrise to sunset by Arleen Schloss will be staged in the Danube Park at Linz. Odyssey-like, this day leads through contemporary culture. Natural and technological media are blended together to a unity, just like artists and audience.

LIVA is also concerned with quality and variety as regards the art events held in concert halls and other "closed" premises.

METAMUSIC—by Diamonda Galas is the central musical event of Ars Electronica 86. In "The Divine Punishment" she creates an atmosphere of mechanically animated ritual with her voice and the electro-acoustically manipulated vocal material.

The Ars Electronica emphasis on MEDIA OPERA was started in 1984 with Peter Weibel and in 1986 will be continued with John Sanborn and his friends as well as with Cabaret Voltaire. John Sanborn sees technology as a perfect tool, while Cabaret Voltaire diagnose video, computer, film, etc. as the tools of decay, which are used with black humor as razor-sharp intellectual weapons.

TERMINAL ART by Jürgen Claus presents by means of different laboratories new technologies as interactive systems to the audience in the foyers of Brucknerhaus.

A series of thirteen concerts of experimental music in connection with different visual media is offered in the Stiftersaal of Brucknerhaus.

Ars Electronica 1986 is thus hoped to become a meeting place for inquisitive and critical contemporaries who consider culture to be an animated and pleasurable matter.

Dr. Horst Stadlmayr
Karl Gerbel

Directors of the board of management of the Linzer Veranstaltungsgesellschaft m.b.H. (LIVA)
Ars Electronica—A Media Festival
Computer Culture Days Linz with ORF-Videonale

In my introduction to the catalogue of the first Ars Electronica in September 1979, I wrote: "The ORF—Upper Austria Regional Studio wishes to give an impulse in order to establish in Linz a centre for electronic art—for a very specific but at the same time very important aspect of avantgarde art". This was a declaration of ORF's intentions for this initial phase of Ars Electronica. With the establishment of this festival in Linz from 1986 onward this pledge can be considered as fulfilled. The starting point for the original concept of Ars Electronica—elaborated by Hubert Bognermayr, Herbert W. Franke and myself—was the idea of creating a forum for discussing the possibilities of micro-electronics in the fields of art and technology. At that time, the topic 'art and technology' was still more controversial than it is today. In the meantime, some of yesterday's critics have become today's supporters. This change is characteristic of the 1980's as a period of upheaval: Never before has technical innovation taken place at such an explosive speed as is the case in the present development towards an information society.

In ARS ELECTRONICA 86, ORF as a broadcasting corporation consequently once again treads new paths in its cooperation in a festival: electronic art, and this is what Ars Electronica really means, happens within the electronic medium television, the most effective vehicle of culture in our days. At the same time, the ORF—Upper Austria Regional Studio concentrates on the hard core of Ars Electronica that had been the starting point in 1979: digital art, computer art, computer, and culture.

Therefore, ORF combines its Ars Electronica projects, for which it bears the overall responsibility, in the "COMPUTER CULTURE DAYS LINZ", computer culture to be understood as the signal concept. A new culture is in the process of emerging: computer culture demands a new alphabet, a new language, new ways of thinking and new ways of learning.

Ars Electronica COMPUTER CULTURE DAYS very consciously comprises a triple offer:
  1. The artistic offer—12 international video artists create original videos for Ars Electronica; they will be presented for the first time, live on television, within a video vernissage.

  2. The media offer—the ORF Videonale presents 20 hours of video and computer art programs during the week from June 20th to June 27th, 1986. A television week with different images.
  3. The scientific offer—the symposion on computer culture unites international scientists, artists and experts for a theoretical discussion of the new image culture.
The triple offer of ARS ELECTRONICA COMPUTER CULTURE DAYS is a multiple invitation to the future: for artists, for an expert audience and for the broad public through a television week with different images.

Dr. Hannes Leopoldseder
Managing Director, Austrian Broadcasting Corporation—Upper Austria Regional Studios