This year’s symposium program is the outcome of an effort to dispense as much as possible with conventional segregation on the basis of genres and disciplines, and thereby to really do justice to the festival theme and the multiplicity of views and perspectives it implies. Accordingly, the presentations of the Prix prizewinners too will not take place, as usual, strictly within the context of the Prix Forums, but will instead be integrated into the Theme Symposium lineup. Consideration of the scientific, artistic and sociopolitical aspects of the festival theme will dominate the agenda of the three-day symposium.

Because of some copyright-issues, not all the streams are available on Youtube.


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Overview Effect

SEED has put together the opening session. The point of departure is the proverbial Overview Effect triggered by the appearance in the mass media of the first pictures of our planet taken from outer space. Thus, the subject here is the role of pictorial media in forming, imparting and propagating images of the world as well as the question of which visualization techniques we can utilize in our efforts to understand, depict and get across the complex interrelationships of our time.

Fr/Fri 31. 8. 10:00 – 13:00
Brucknerhaus, Mittlerer Saal

10:00 – 10:15 Gerfried Stocker (AT)
10:15 – 10:40 Adam Bly (CA)
10:40 – 11:00 Johan Bollen (BE/US)
11:00 – 11:20 Manuel Lima (PT/US)
11:20 – 11:30 Break
11:30 – 11:50 Paola Antonelli (IT/US)
11:50 – 12:10 Golan Levin (US)
12:10 – 12:40 Panel
12:40 – 13:00 Discussion
Moderated by Adam Bly (CA)

Adam Bly (CA) is the founder and CEO of Seed, an online science magazine, as well as the initiator of the data visualization site. He has given speeches and made presentations at the World Economic Forum, MoMA, the Royal Society and Harvard University.

Johan Bollen (BE/US) studied experimental psychology. He teaches at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing. His specialties are data mining, digital libraries, infometrics, and adaptive information system architectures.

Manuel Lima (PT/US) works for Microsoft Bing. He initiated for the mapping of complex networks and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Prior to Microsoft, his employers included Nokia and Siemens. Lima is one of the leading experts in information visualization.

Paola Antonelli (IT/US) is a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and one of the world’s foremost experts in contemporary architecture & design. She has designed numerous exhibitions (e.g. Workspheres and SAFE) and written books about design. She teaches the history of design at UCLA and Harvard.

Golan Levin (US) designs artifacts and experiences that investigate new forms of expressing reactions. In his work, he concentrates on the design of systems to simultaneously produce, modify and depict images and sounds. Levin teaches and does research at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the recipient of an Award of Distinction in the 2012 Prix Ars Electronica’s Hybrid Art category.

Mapping the World

The afternoon session is entitled Mapping the World. Getting things started is philosopher Thomas Macho (AT) with a fundamental cultural-historical survey of the images of the world that humankind has brought forth. Totally new pictures of the world—here meaning the whole universe—will be the topic of Lisa Kaltenegger (AT), an astronomer whose field is the discovery and measurement of planets beyond our solar system. The Tsunagari Project then shifts attention back to Planet Earth. Mahoro Uchida (JP) of Japan’s big Miraikan Science Center heads this spectacular and educational visualization project, and will present it together with architect Hajime Narukawa (JP), who has taken Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion idea and developed it further. The first day of the symposium concludes with a film: One Day on Earth doesn’t depict the world in one big integral overview but rather as a mosaic of countless subjective glimpses. This global project, which now convenes on an annual basis, will be presented by its initiators, Brandon Litman (US) and Kyle Ruddick (US).

Fr/Fri 31. 8. 15:00 – 17:30
Brucknerhaus, Mittlerer Saal

15:00 – 15:30 Thomas Macho (AT/DE)
15:30 – 15:50 Lisa Kaltenegger (AT)
15:50 – 16:30 Hajime Narukawa, Maholo Uchida (JP)
16:30 – 16:45 Break
16:45 – 17:15 Brandon Litman, Kyle Ruddick (US)
17:15 – 17:30 Discussion
Moderated by Ariane Koek (UK/CH)

Thomas Macho (AT/DE) studied philosophy, music and pedagogy. He has held a chair in cultural history at Humboldt-Universität Berlin since 1993. He is currently guest professor at Linz Art University and a member of numerous research groups and societies.

Lisa Kaltenegger (AT) is an astrophysicist and astronomer. She conducts research on extra-solar planets—especially their atmosphere—whereby she seeks indicators for extraterrestrial life forms. Kaltenegger works at MPIA Heidelberg and teaches in the Harvard Astrophysics Department.

Hajime Narukawa (JP) is an architect whose honors include the Salon de Printemps Prize. Since the mid-1990s, he has been working on geometric theory. He worked for the Arnhem Academy of Architecture and Sasaki Structural Consultants before founding AuthaGraph in 2009.

Maholo Uchida (JP) is a curator and exhibition developer at Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. The mission of this new type of science museum is to enrich human culture by presenting and imparting ground-breaking scientific work and pioneering technologies.

Brandon Litman and Kyle Ruddick (US) are the initiators, director (Ruddick) and producer (Litman) of “One Day on Earth,” a film that is both a global media movement and a global community. Made together with 70 NGO partners including the UN, “One Day on Earth” is the first film in history to be shot collaboratively with approximately 19,000 cast & crew members from all countries worldwide.

Ariane Koek (UK/CH) was a multiple award-winning producer at BBC TV and BBC Radio for over 20 years, as well as director of the Arvon Foundation for Creative Writing. Since 2010, she has headed the International Arts Development Program at CERN.

Science & Art I

On Saturday, the symposium scene shifts from the Brucknerhaus to the Lentos, an ideal venue for a discussion of the respective roles allocated to art and science, and the real-world possibilities of and limits to collaboration between them. Scientist George Church (US) and artist Joe Davis (US), brilliant transgressors of the borders of their respective disciplines, will present their positions and work in the area of new biotechnologies. Afterwards, they’ll take part in a panel discussion about the theory and practice of collaboration among artists and scientists with curator and bio-art expert Jens Hauser (DE/FR) and CERN physicist Michael Doser (AT/CH). Then Gabriele Lohmann (DE) will elaborate of the role of new imaging methods in brain research, and give us an idea of the enormous potential the latest findings in the neurosciences have to change our views of humankind.

Sa/Sat 1. 9. 10:30 – 13:00
Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz

10:30 – 11:00 George Church (US)
11:00 – 11:30 Joe Davis (US)
11:30 – 11:50 George Church (US), Joe Davis (US), Jens Hauser (DE/FR)
11:50 – 12:00 Break
12:00 – 12:20 Hiroshi Ishiguro (JP)
12:20 – 12:45 Gabriele Lohmann (DE)
12:45 – 13:00 Discussion
Moderated by Michael Doser (AT/CH)

George Church (US) holds a chair in genetics at Harvard Medical School and heads the Center for Computational Genetics. In 1984, he became the first to decode a genome, which led to many other revolutionary discoveries and software developments in the fields of genetic engineering and synthetic biology.

Joe Davis (US) is an artist, researcher and scientist who works at, among other places, MIT’s Department of Biology. He has done intensive research in molecular biology and bioinformatics, created genetic databanks, and developed new biological art forms and numerous uncategorizable works at the nexus of art and science. His “Bacterial Radio” was honored with the 2012 Golden Nica in Hybrid Art.

Jens Hauser (DE/FR) lives and works in Paris as an author, cultural journalist and curator of such exhibitions as Synth-ethic (Vienna, 2011) and Fingerprints… (Berlin, 2011; Munich, 2012). He has dealt extensively with interactions between art and technology, and contextual aesthetics that transcend the boundaries of individual genres. He was a juror in the Prix Ars Electronica’s Hybrid Art category.

Hiroshi Ishiguro (JP) is a scientist and artist. He heads the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at the University of Osaka’s Department of Adaptive Machine Systems. He has made numerous guest appearances at Ars Electronica with extraordinary robots and robotics feats—for instance, his mechanical doppelgänger Geminoid H-1 and, most recently, Android-Human Theater (2011).

Gabriele Lohmann (DE) studied mathematics, mathematical logic and philosophy. She develops new methods of analyzing visual data—first, of satellite images of Earth for cartographical applications at the DLR–German Aerospace Center, and since 1995 in the field of brain research at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig.

Michael Doser (AT/CH) is a particle physicist working at CERN. He has been working with antimatter since 1983. In 2002, he was part of the team that made cold atoms of antihydrogen for the first time, and currently leads the AEGIS experiment that will measure how antimatter falls.

Science & Art II

In the afternoon session, the art-science discussion goes a bit deeper, scrutinizing in particular whether art is in a position to go beyond interpreting scientifically induced pictures of the world and can itself, in a comparable way, engender and propagate new concepts about our world and the interrelationships and interactions in it. Julius von Bismarck (DE), the first artist-in-residence in the program under the joint aegis of CERN and Ars Electronica, will present his work and relate his experiences, and then go into detail in a panel discussion with James Wells (US), his scientific advisor during his residency, and Ariane Koek (UK/CH), CERN’s director of artistic affairs. CERN physicist Michael Doser will moderate. The broad spectrum of positions that artistic works can take with respect to scientific issues will occupy the focal point of the rest of the afternoon session. The work presentations by prizewinners in the Hybrid Art and Interactive Art categories will demonstrate once again the great fascination as well as relevance such works can achieve beyond the discrete domain of art.

Sa/Sat 1. 9. 15:00 – 17:30
Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz

15:00 – 15:20 Julius von Bismarck (DE)
15:20 – 15:45 Julius von Bismarck (DE), Ariane Koek (UK/CH), James Wells (US)
15:45 – 16:05 Jo Thomas (UK)
16:05 – 16:25 Agnes Meyer-Brandis (DE)
16:25 – 16:40 Break
16:40 – 17:30 Isobel Knowles & Van Sowerwine (AU), Timo Toots (EE)
Moderated by Michael Doser (AT/CH)

Julius von Bismarck (DE) is the 2012 Collide@CERN prizewinner. He lives and works in Berlin, where he studies at the Institute for Spatial Experiments. Prior to that, he graduated from the MFA program at Hunter College in New York. He won a Golden Nica at the 2008 Prix Ars Electronica for his “Image Fulgarator”.

James Wells (US) is a theoretical physicist and a member of the scientific staff at CERN. The recipient of numerous prizes, he was previously a professor at the University of Michigan and the University of California, and also worked at the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg.

Jo Thomas (UK) is a London-based musician. She uses multichannel systems to produce pieces in which she works with microsounds, pure tones and interference pulses as a means of dealing musically with the polarity of failure and success. She is the recipient of the 2012 Golden Nica in the Prix Ars Electronica’s Digital Musics & Sound Art category.

Agnes Meyer-Brandis (DE) is at the experimental edge of art and science with her work in both
sculpture and new media art. Exhibited worldwide, it is exploring the zone between fact and fiction. She received an Prix Ars Electronica 2012 Award of Distinction Hybrid Art.

Isobel Knowles (AU) is an artist who works predominantly with animation. She incorporates it into installations, films, music videos, commercial work and anywhere else it might fit in.

Van Sowerwine (AU) is a media artist active in the fields of animation, installation and interaction. For many years, she has been collaborating with Isobel Knowles (AU) on stop-motion animated works and interactive installations that are exhibited worldwide. At the 2012 Prix Ars Electronica, she was singled out for recognition with an Award of Distinction in the Interactive Art category.

Timo Toots (EE) studied computer science and photography. Since 2005, he has been producing interactive art projects that analyze, comment on and reflect upon developments in Information Society. He also works on projects about public spaces. He received the 2012 Golden Nica in the Prix Ars Electronica’s Interactive Art category.

Everyday Rebellion/Prix Forum II – Digital Communities

The comprehensive cross-media project “Everyday Rebellion” by the Riahi Brothers (AT) gives the third symposium day both its theme and name. As a Web-2.0 platform as well as a documentary film currently in production, their work is a group portrait of—and homage to—courageous people putting up nonviolent political resistance worldwide. Following the presentation by Arash and Arman Riahi, we will hear from some Everyday Rebels whose commitment to a just cause has been honored by the Prix Ars Electronica. They are activists and artists who have made creative and very tangible contributions to the struggle for democratic freedom of opinion and artistic freedom in diverse countries including Syria, China and the USA. They employ artistic as well as technical and legal means.

So/Sun 2. 9. 10:30 – 17:15
Brucknerhaus, Mittlerer Saal

The comprehensive cross-media project “Everyday Rebellion” by the Riahi Brothers (AT) gives the third symposium day both its theme and name. As a Web-2.0 platform as well as a documentary film currently in production, their work is a group portrait of—and homage to—courageous people putting up nonviolent political resistance worldwide.

Following the presentation by Arash and Arman Riahi, we will hear from some Everyday Rebels whose commitment to a just cause has been honored by the Prix Ars Electronica. They are activists and artists who have made creative and very tangible contributions to the struggle for democratic freedom of opinion and artistic freedom in diverse countries including Syria, China and the USA. They employ artistic as well as technical and legal means.

10:30 – 11:00 Leila Nachawati (ES)
11:00 – 11:30 Arash T. Riahi, Arman T. Riahi (AT)
11:30 – 11:50 Sherien Al-Hayek (US)
11:50 – 12:00 Break
12:00 – 12:20 Hexie Farm (CN)
12:20 – 12:40 Agnes Aistleitner (AT)
12:40 – 13:00 Discussion
15:00 – 15:20 Mathias Jud, Christoph Wachter (CH)
15:20 – 15:40 James Burke (UK)
15:40 – 15:45 Discussion
15:45 – 16:00 Break
16:00 – 16:20 Shawn Sims (US)
16:20 – 16:40 Sebastian Pichelhofer (AT), Oscar Spierenburg (NL)
16:40 – 17:15 Discussion

Leila Nachawati (ES) is a Spanish-Syrian blogger, communications strategist and human rights activist. She has written for Al-Jazeera, Global Voices, Periodismo Humano, et al. In 2012, she was a juror in the Prix Ars Electronica’s Digital Communities category.

Arash T. Riahi (AT) is the founder of Golden Girls, a film production company. He is the producer, author and director of prizewinning documentary and experimental films, music videos and commercials. His works include “Exile Family Movie” and “For a moment, freedom” as well as the Everyday Rebellion project and communications platform focusing of nonviolent resistance.

Arman T. Riahi (AT) has been an author and director of TV productions for the ORF – Austrian Broadcasting Company (Sendung ohne Namen; Sunshine Airlines) since 2005 as well as the Red Bull Media House’s “Momentum” documentary series. In 2011, he produced “Schwarzkopf,” his first cinematic documentary film. He launched the Everyday Rebellion platform with his brother Arash.

Sherien Al-Hayek (US) is a member of the group Syrian people know their way, a coalition of cultural creatives in or originally from Syria who are using artistic means in various social media sites to support the efforts of their countrymen and -women to bring democracy to Syria. Al-Hayek produces the Arabic-English-language blog Tabasher/Charcoals.

Hexie Farm (CN) is the freelance cartoonist behind the series (of the same name) of political cartoons against censorship and state propaganda in China. He uses the internet to anonymously publish his work. His online campaign “Dark Glasses.Portrait” was honored with an Award of Distinction in the Prix Ars Electronica’s Digital Communities category this year.

Agnes Aistleitner (AT) was born in 1993 in Upper Austria and graduated from Linz’s High School for Artistic Design in 2012. She shot her 15-minute video “state of revolution” independently in Egypt. It won the 2012 Golden Nica in u19 – CREATE YOUR WORLD.

Mathias Jud and Christoph Wachter (CH) have been collaborating since 2000 on open participatory community projects for which they have been honored with various prizes including [the next idea] voestalpine Art and Technology Grant. In their project, they implemented an overlapping, open communications system in which WLAN-capable computers and mobile devices can form a direct, spontaneous network independent of the internet and telecommunications providers.

James Burke (UK) is an expert in interaction design and user experience. He is associated with the Netherlands-based P2P Foundation that was honored with [the next idea] voestalpine Art and Technology Grant in 2011 for its Choke Point Project, an investigation of who actually controls—or can control—the internet.

Shawn Sims (US) is the founder and director of Synaptic Lab that is developing new technology applications in the area of form. A graduate of the Pratt Institute School of Architecture and Carnegie Mellon University’s Computational Design Lab, he is currently working in robotics and advanced digital design & production methods. He won a 2012 Award of Distinction in the Prix Ars Electronica’s Hybrid Art category.

Sebastian Pichelhofer (AT) is director of the Apertus Open Source Cinema project that was honored with a 2012 Award of Distinction in the Prix Ars Electronica’s Digital Communities category. Apertus is an open platform for filmmakers with about 15 core members and 100 additional participants. Its aim is to develop a top-of-the-line, high-performance film camera on an open-source basis.

Oscar Spierenburg (NL) is a painter and filmmaker. He conceived Apertus Open Source Cinema (2012 Award of Distinction winner in the Prix Ars Electronica’s Digital Communities category) and established its international community of developers. He lives in Belgium and is currently working on his first full-length feature film.