HAPPENINGText: Tomohiro Okada

I would like to introduce the theme of this year’s festival. This year’s Ars Electronica reached its 20th anniversary, and it was the last milestone in the 20th century. Therefore, the festival looked over the past 20 years and also made a challenge to new ideas for the future.

"Symposium Ars Electronica 79-99" looked back over the past 20 years on the first day and final day for the entire day. In the symposium, the staff who have made essential contributions to the development of Ars Electronica talked about past moments that marked the development of media art.

On the other hand, there was a challenge to new ideas in this memorial symposium. The place of the symposium on the final day was named ‘Chill-out Room’. A salon with a huge projector and video/PC terminals was set up in three corners of the room. It allowed the speakers to have a linear talk with each other while developing a flexible discussion. It was also intellectually exciting for audiences and allowed them to join the discussion in a relaxed atmosphere. Stocker mentioned that a tele-conference using satellite circuit and network could be a prototype to change the style of symposium for next year. In fact, it was exciting and enjoyable for its flexibility in spite of the non-stop symposium lasting four hours.

The main theme symposium "LifeScience Symposium" was also challenging. In the past Ars Electronica had focused on art of electronic/media technologies and changing society and humans. But this year’s ‘LifeScience’ focused on understanding the important events for the future of culture and humanity, and building cultures. Its attitude clarified the position of Ars Electronica as a pioneer of culture and a navigator to the future.

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