In this section, we present web sites that explore the way technology influences art. On one hand, there are sites that promote digital art, whether in the form of installations or as an extension of computer science with techniques such as animation and digital painting. And on the other, the various festivals and organizations who are active in research and promotion of innovative ideas to the public.
Eyebeam is a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 in New York City and aiming to promote digital art works to the general public and explore new forms of creativity that incorporate a strong element of technology. In the fifteen years it is operating it has established itself as one of the top places for artistic expression and hosting of digital art and it has extended its activities to educational programs for young people, promotional services for up-and-coming artists, organizing of symposia and operation of creative workshops. The center is hosted in an industrial building of 16,145 square feet in Chelsea and it has a permanent collaboration with more than twenty artists.
In Eyebeam’s web site visitors can find an archive with all the events that have been organized there from 2002 until today while also available is a section with running projects which are carried out by the artists permanently collaborating with the center; each project is hosted in a different web site which allows it to function semi-autonomously from the main one. This section also includes a separate archive with all the projects that have been carried out since 2002.
The arts, science and technology Waag is a foundation in the Netherlands focusing on the development of creative forms of technology that help social innovation. Through various studies, development of prototypes and realization of various proposals it helps independent organizations and individuals explore how technology applies in socially oriented innovative methods in various fields such as health, logistics, biotechnology, development of open methods for the dissemination of information etc. the foundation is housed in a historical 15th century building which used to be the gate and part of the walls that surrounded Amsterdam.
The web site’s content is impressive; the same is true for Waag’s activity in a broad spectrum of scientific and technological fields. Visitors can find information about the various research laboratories classified by their object, about the organization’s events and about its projects –running or past. There is also a section with the services it offers among which or particular interest are those dealing with the provision of Internet infrastructure services for cultural organizations and the educational programs for elderly citizens; the latter aiming to teach both the use of technology and creative expression.
Renderosity is directed to hardcore exponents of digital art and more specifically to those involved with 3D graphics created with the use of computers. It was founded in December 1998 as poserforum.com and focusing on the 3D graphics software Poser but after one year of operation, and after repeated prompts from the community it changed its name to the one using today (incidentally the name was put to a vote). Its community numbers more than 700,000 members both professionals and amateurs and with the years it has become a hub for 3D enthusiasts who present their work but also a market where artists can sell their creations.
The volume of information contained in Renderosity is stunning; a testimony to how active its community is. There are thousands of tutorials about how one can create one single character or a whole city, fora with hundreds of thousands of posts, galleries with members’ creations classified according to the software used for their making or according to genre, contests, polls, members’ articles, blogs and more; also offered is a subscription service with privileged access to the site’s services. As for the market, the section where members can buy or sell their works it is not limited to 3D graphics but extends to other fields such as photography.
In one of our articles about urban art, we have introduced an installation in Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia; behind this impressive project one can find Canadian company Moment Factory that specializes in digital technology installations combining video, special lighting, architecture, sound and special effects. The company was founded in 2001 and in the years of its operation it has performed more than 300 installations for such illustrious clients as Disney, Microsoft, Madonna and more.
As is usually the case with companies having such a rich portfolio, what is really interesting in the web site is samples of these installations –and Moment Factory’s web site will not disappoint in that respect. It features its creations in indoors and outdoors, in music venues and public spaces and for each category visitors can view selected projects with photographic material, descriptions and videos from the final installation. The company also maintains a Vimeo channel featuring tens of videos from its installations; several of these videos also provide scenes from the setting up thus providing viewers with the volume and the complexity of the work needed to complete these projects.
Factory of Art Rurality and Media (FARM) is a project exploring methods for the growth of cultural wealth and a productive environment in rural areas. The perspectives FARM examines are not limited to the concept of soil development but are linked to a critical analysis of the economy, the culture and the society in said areas aiming to point out innovative and sustainable technological practices that will help local societies integrate with the modern way of life.
FARM functions as a platform of expression which spreads over various forms such as festivals, permanent collaborations with artists, workshops, a documentary and it focuses on the practices and the lessons learned from the Partenio area in Italy. On the web site, visitors can see the events agenda for the years the festival has been organized, information about the artists that have participated and about their work as well as an archive with previous festivals which also offers the texts of the speeches given by the participants.
iMAL is a nonprofit organization founded in 1999 in Brussels with an aim to support art forms and creative practices that use computers and networking technologies as expression vehicles. In 2007 it opened a 6,458 square feet space that hosts digital and contemporary art exhibitions and other events such as conferences, lectures, music concerts and various other performances. The center has standing collaborations with artists offering a Media Lab for experimenting with new forms of expression and communication while it also organizes creative workshops for a broad spectrum of individuals such as designers, computer programmers etc.
In the center’s web site, visitors can read a detailed profile of the organization and its development over the years, about the new services being added, about the events it organizes (the events are categorized according to genre), about the projects and the events that have been organized in the past etc. Also offered is an excellent Wiki with advice and guidelines for the reproduction of various forms of digital art which in effect could stand alone as a separate web site.
Athens Video */Art Festival is the biggest international digital arts and new media festival in Greece. Since 2005, it has been held every year, in spring, initially in Athens and then touring around various cities all over the country thus assuming an educational role and familiarizing Greek society with the new trends in digital arts. The AVAF is collaborating with international institutions, academic organizations and similar festivals organized all over the world while it is also Greece’s official video art festival. Even though it mostly focuses on video art, it also promotes works from other fields such as animation, digital image, web art, installation art και performance art as well as various other performances (music concerts, academic features etc.) In the seven years it has been operating, it has received support from 7,000 artists and has received more than 75,000 visitors.
In the festival’s web site, visitors can find an analytical profile of the event, the categories of the works featured with descriptions for each, the institutions and foundations it has been collaborating internationally and locally and a comprehensive archive structured by genre and year offering an abundance of pictorial and audio visual material.
ISEA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1990 in the Netherlands with the aim to promote intra-scientific dialogue among different organizations and individuals active in the arts, sciences and technology. The main activity of ISEA is the organization of an annual international symposium on digital art; this is also where the name comes from (i.e. International Symposium of Electronic Arts). During the symposium various events take place; these events include academic conferences, digital art exhibitions, visual performances and creativity workshops. Since 2009, the organization has been based in Brighton because of its collaboration with the local university.
In ISEA’s web site, visitors can find information about the organization’s goals and history, read news related to activities and other developments related to the next year’s symposium and apply for participation. Also, they can see data related to previous symposiums and browse the archive containing a summary of all the previous symposiums’ lectures and presentations.
Fonlad is an annual digital art festival organized since 2005 in Portugal. Initially, it was a purely Internet event which was very well received by the online community but with time, it became apparent that it needed to expand offline so it could become more accessible to a broader public not well acquainted with digital art forms. More than four hundred artists participate in Fonlad which collaborates with similar events in various European countries and the majority of the works presented are related to various forms of video art.
In the festival’s web site, we can see its history with an emphasis on the birth and evolution of video art, an archive of previous festivals classified by year and a summary of each festival’s most important moments. Also included are external links to works of artists that received distinctions, information for those interested in participating and a list of similar events in other European countries where the festival is represented.
Transmediale is an annual festival organized ever February in Berlin and also an ongoing project exploring the relationship between art, culture and technology. The festival’s aim is not just the presentation of digital art works but also the research on the ways technology co-exists with culture; from this view point, it can be considered an interdisciplinary platform promoting activities from the fields of art and science. It was founded in 1988 as VideoFilmFestival, an event parallel to the Berlin Biennale with the intent to bring to light productions not usually accepted in the traditional video and film festivals and in 1998 it took the form it has today.
In Transmediale’s web site, visitors can find information about various projects culminating in the material that gets presented in the festival proper. For every project, there is an analytical description of its goals as well as audio presentations of its contributors accompanied by a small resume of each contributor. Also offered is a very interesting and frequently updated blog which presents the progress of various collaborations included in the next festival.