Conference ‘eSphere: Living in the cloud’ at STRP Festival reflects on a new networked reality
What if trees, lighting and shop windows become social media? What if everything is connected to everything? What’s art and culture like in such a networked reality? At the conference ‘eSphere: Living in the Cloud’ international artists, (neuro)scientists and media scholars reflect on the meaning of new technologies for our culture on Friday the 26th of November. Together with Baltan Lab’s Funware symposium the next day, they present their view on a future full of RFID-chips, brain implants and unimaginable possibilities. The conference takes place in parallel with the STRP field trial of the eSphere, a large scale exploration of RFID and the experience of art.
As we are well underway in the 21th century, our culture is evolving into a new direction. Mobile digital technologies allow us to connect anytime and anywhere to “the cloud” that the internet has become. Recent developments in converging technologies such as RFID and near-field communication (NFC) promise to extend this web even more by adding a seamless yet pervasive augmented layer into our daily lives. The world has become the web.
In a parallel development, scientists are unraveling the workings of the machine we call human. Through groundbreaking research, such as the Genome Project and the Blue Brain Project, the inner bits of our bodies are made visible with technologies such as fRMI and EEG. Cognitive enhancements, nanobots and body-machine integrations are no longer futurists’ dreams. Bits and atoms connect, boundaries between humans and machines, and online and offline become blurred.
A new reality?
The developments that spark this transformation – notably, information technologies such as RFID and NFC, biotechnologies and cognitive- and neuroscience –inspire many artists, scientists, philosophers and creative thinkers. ‘Cloud culture’, ‘web 4.0’ , ‘synaptic reality’, and ‘the internet of things’ are only just a few of the labels that are used to come to grips with an altering sense of reality. STRP Conference ‘eSphere: Living in the Cloud’ reflects on this cultural transformation and explores the meaning of the new technological culture. What if all our operations can be instantly performed somewhere in the web? What are the cultural implications of this technological restructuring of our society? How do artists envision these technological developments and how do these technologies change our experience of art?
The conference consists of three inspiring keynotes and two sidetracks with four speakers each. Te international well known data-artist Aaron Koblin will discuss the changing relationship of humans with data. Professor Kevin Warwick – with his implants, the first human cyborg – explains how in the future, neural implants will link us directly to the internet. Final keynote professor Semir Zeki shows how beauty, love and desire are wired in our brains.
In addition to these keynotes, there are two side tracks. In the sidetrack ‘The Artful Brain’, the artistic interpretations of the ‘cognitive turn’ will be discussed in three exciting presentations, featuring Matthew Fuller (UK), Warren Neidich (UK), Paolo Cirio (IT) and Marlena Novak & Jay Alan Yim (US). In the sidetrack ‘The World is the Web’, the possibilities and pitfalls of RFID and ‘the internet of things’ are put to the fore by acclaimed speakers such as Lorna Goulden (NL), Christian van ‘t Hof (NL), Geert Lovink (NL) and Gordan Savicic (AT).
eSphere: the field trial
The conference takes place in parallel with the STRP field trial of the eSphere, a large scale exploration of RFID and the experience of art. During the upcoming edition STRP, visitors use RFID wristbands to “tag” art in which the virtual world and physical reality collide. For the first time, a collective experience of visitors will be visible and a collective mind map is made from an art festival. For this unique project, STRP is working closely together with TU Delft, TU/e, Philips, TNS Consult, Relate4U, U-Approach and several young companies in the field of new media..
The conference ‘eSphere: Living in the Cloud’ takes place at November 26th, during STRP Festival (Eindhoven, the Netherlands). The programme starts at 10.00 hrs. and ends at 18.00 hrs. Tickets are for sale via www.strp.nl/tickets and cost 45 euro (including lunch and drinks), or 25 euro for students. With the ticket, visitors can also visit the art exhibition of STRP Festival.
STRP Festival is one of the largest art & technology (e-culture) festivals in Europe which melts music, art & technology together. The multidisciplinary program is an accessible mix of 360 degrees experience and adventure. More than 20.000 people visited the festival in 2009. This year, STRP is held from 18-28 November in Eindhoven (the Netherlands). For more information, visit www.strp.nl.
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