Festival As Lab €10,000 Commission Awarded

A €10,000 Festival As Lab Commission was launched by the new European festivals network, ECAS. The commission called for projects that engage festival audiences and artists in a participatory experiment. This could be creating a new kind of artwork, a new form of participation, new understanding on technology, or a new and innovative way of presenting inspirational art.

Following a fantastic response from candidates, the jury has now awarded the prize equally between two winning projects that address the Festival as Lab theme in different ways:

OurCity, by Adam Nieman with Lancaster University and Manchester Communication Academy.

OurCity uses the FutureEverything Festival to enable thousands of people to have their voice heard and to shape the future of their city. Beginning with a series of questions or ‘provocations’ devised by pupils of the Manchester Communications Academy, the Festival audiences and the inhabitants of Manchester will have their say via web, SMS or mobile app. Their crowdsourced data will be shaped into a visualisation and presented to policymakers as a collective action toward developing the city.

CHET (Collective Hedonistic Environment Toolkit) by IntoLIGHT

CHET is a software toolkit for the easy collaborative creation of body-reactive environments at festivals and public events. Interactive sounds and graphics combine with motion-sensing interfaces, allowing club music, soundscapes, real-time 3D graphics and visual effects to respond and react to the movement of festival audiences.

The winning projects are officially announced on Friday 4 February at CTM/Clubtransmediale (Berlin, January 2011). The winners‘ projects will then be presented as part of the FutureEverything Festival (Manchester, May 2011) and CYNETART (Dresden, November 2011).

– ENDS –

Editor’s Notes

Adam Nieman is an artist who works predominantly with science. He is known for the interactive techniques he has developed as a graphic artist specializing in scientific visualisation. He is the Creative Director of Carbon Visuals and also the Creative Director of GovEd Communications.

IntoLIGHT is a group of musicians, vjsual media artists and product designers. They have realised a variety of media art projects, ranging from interactive environments to participative performances of contemporary dance and interactive setups for the club dancefloor. IntoLIGHT want to change the relationship between performance and audience, by enabling the audience to use their body movements to play with sound and image. Developed by an open source community, the software prototype consists of a sophisticated patch of tracking data, as well as graphic and sound modules.

The ECAS 2011 theme of Festival As Lab turns the idea of a festival on its head. More than just showcasing cool art and music, here festivals are places where we can experiment and play with future art, music and ideas. Festival as Lab was developed over 15 years by FutureEverything, one of the ECAS festivals, which is conceived and designed as a ‚living lab‘ for prototyping the future. The Festival As Lab Toolkit has now also been published on a creative commons license, to facilitate the sharing and adapting of this process by others. The toolkit is an open source project that will be updated and maintained by a community of developers and users.

ECAS is European Cities of Advanced Sound, a new European festivals network supported by the European Union within the CULTURE PROGRAMME (2007-2013), which strives to create collaborative partnership between the international festivals.

The focus in ECAS is upon cultural festivals and events that support emerging cultural forms and new forms of audience participation. Beginning in 2006, the ECAS network has brought together a large number of cultural events from different EU countries with a commitment to supporting and nurturing connections through advanced sound. It has since given rise to International (ICAS) and Americas (ACAS) partner networks.

ECAS is a co-production between:

FutureEverything – FutureEverything Manchester (GB)

Skanu Mezs Festival – Association Skanu Mezs Riga (LV)

Unsound – Tone Foundation for Music and New Art Forms Krakow (PL)

Todaysart – Stichting The Generator, The Hague (NL)

musikprotokoll – Osterreichischer Rundfunk ORF Vienna (A)

Insomnia Festival – Stiftelsen Insomnia Festival Tromso (N)

CIMATICS Festival – Cimatics v.z.w. Brussels (BE)

CYNETART Festival – Trans-Media-Akademie Hellerau e.V. Dresden (DE)

Organiser: CTM (Clubtransmediale) – DISK (Initative Bild & Ton e.V.) Berlin (DE)

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