The enriching discourse program of 15th festival edition of TodaysArt will explore the theme of ‘CONSCIOUSNESS.’ With keynote speeches by Douglas Rushkoff and Koert van Mensvoort, an inspiring talk between philosopher Srećko Horvat and Sea-Watch captain Pia Klemp alongside a dialogue between thinkers Daan Roovers and Maxim Februari.
What is going to be humanity’s role and relevance in our digital future, and what role will philosophy, ethics, and creativity play? What is our relationship with artificial intelligence? Do we choose nature over technology? And how fine is the line between them, if there is a line at all? These are some of the questions the international festival for art, music and technology TodaysArt aims to answer this September in The Hague, together with its artists, audience and speakers.
With this year’s festival theme, ‘CONSCIOUSNESS’, TodaysArt leaves the dystopian scenarios on conflict, ‘black boxes’ and artificial intelligence from previous years behind. Instead, the festival focuses on the possibilities of digital technology, on topics like artificial emotions, digital consciousness, machine hallucinations and meditations, and especially humanity in the digital age.
Our Technology Future
Keynote speaker Douglas Rushkoff, one of the most influential thinkers of our time, thinks we should refocus on the human in our digital future. The widely celebrated author, speaker and media-expert describes in his newest book ‘Team Human’ how money has become a tool for exploitation, education has become a factory and the internet being something that divides rather than connects us. The human consciousness is complex and incomprehensible, Rushkoff states, which is why any attempt to express it through algorithms
is just another attempt to escape from ourselves and humanity as a whole. This is why he calls for a new
society, one that is based on collaboration and consciousness — a ‘Team Human’ that focuses on human
connection rather than the digital infrastructure that undermines it.
The birth and death of Europe
Philosopher Srećko Horvat and Pia Klemp from Sea-Watch will hold a panel discussion at TodaysArt. The two will talk about migration, democracy and the borders of the European Union. Europe is outsourcing more and more rescue operations in the Mediterranean. And while 3D reconstructions of a rescue mission, created by Forensic Architecture and Forensic Oceanography, have shown the Libyan Coastguard is impeding the missions rather than leading them, Europe keeps sending money their way. Migrants, lost at sea, are left to die, and the ones who do make it onto the boat are locked up and even assaulted after their return. Why is it that the European citizen is not − or doesn’t want to be − conscious of what is happening just outside the borders of their ‘Fort Europe’? Which way is European politics headed? And are there still opportunities for the European citizen to change direction?
(In)Dependence of technology
Additionally, TodaysArt will take its audience to a philosophical, but also personal aspect of the festival theme. As users of technology, we all put enormous amounts of trust into systems we don’t understand, without even realizing it. In fact, these systems were designed for easy use and not for understanding, making us vulnerable and dependent on the very technology we love. How far does this dependence go, and how does it relate to our autonomy? Is it time for a new renaissance? In this panel, held in Dutch, philosopher Daan Roovers and publicist, philosopher and jurist Maxim Februari will talk about our current tipping point in the technological revolution.
The extensive art exhibition at The Electricity Factory will also expand on the festival theme. In order to give more background and context to the artworks and installations, some of the artists will explain their works in a series of Artist Talks. Among others, Refik Anadol, Pablo Valbuena and Ralf Baecker, whose works all explore technology’s potential, will dive deeper into the ideas and tech behind them. A presentation that also can’t be missed is the one by Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand, artists in residence at the Crossing Parallels program in collaboration with the TU Delft. Their complex, scientific works lay bare the aesthetics of technology in a way that’s almost surreal.
TodaysArt is a Dutch festival and a cultural organization that focuses on the transdisciplinary intersection of art, music, technology and society. Its annual festival TodaysArt has been a part of the Dutch cultural infrastructure for more than 15 years. Born at the dawn of our digital age, TodaysArt is and always has been a true pioneer in the fields of media art, music and technology. Its extensive global network is reflected in its programming, as well as its curious approach to presenting and supporting new works and artists. TodaysArt has built up an impressive international profile by presenting and producing works that are developed through direct and intensive relationships with some of today’s leading artists. A member of European networks and festival associations We Are Europe and SHAPE, TodaysArt is consistently involved in international collaborations, by connecting artists to creative centres across the globe and bringing pioneering talent to local audiences.
Photo credit: Douglas Rushkoff – Seth Kushner