Bozar Electronic Arts Festival

From the 26th till the 30th of September, the Bozar Electronic Arts Festival (BEAF) will take place at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels.

“It is a forum for all electronic arts,” said Barbara Porteman, press officer at Bozar. “There will be plenty of music, of course, but also visual art, performances, workshops and conferences. As the electronic arts developed more and more in several directions, Bozar wanted to follow this evolution closely. We believe it’s important.”

During the festival, the six winners from the STARTS Prize 2017 will show their installations. STARTS is where Science, Technology and the Arts (S T ARTS) come together. These three disciplines stand at the core of innovation and are needed to face the many social, ecological and economic challenges that lie ahead for Europe. The STARTS Prize, an initiative created by the European Commission and Ars Electronica in cooperation with BOZAR and Waag Society, rewards projects that bring significant progress in these domains. For this second edition, ‘I’m Humanity’ by the Japanese singer Etsuko Yakushimaru won the Grand Prize for Artistic Exploration.

“It’s truly amazing what she’s done,” said Miss Porteman. “She’s composed a piece where music is converted into genetic information, which is then put into the chromosomes of blue algae. If you think about it, if the human race were to disappear and these algae survived, future species would be able to listen to our music, the music that’s been embedded in the DNA of these algae.”

Starts Prize I m humanity C. RR
Starts Prize “I’m humanity”, by Etsuko Yakushimaru

The festival will hold diverse exhibitions. FEAT will display the works of artists who collaborate in scientific research, trying to tackle problems that go from carbon capture to the monitoring of pollution levels. In Tendencies, the focus will be art that incorporates scientific and technological innovations, and one of the exhibitions’ main goals is to tear down the borders between contemporary arts and other so-called hybrid arts movements. Tendencies’ curator, Stéphanie Pécourt, decided to show the work of six Belgian female artists: Alex Verhaest, Stéphanie Roland, Anne-Marie Maes, Claire Williams, Katia Lecomte Mirsky and Esther Venrooy, all of them artists who have stood out for the quality of their work.

“Women are outnumbered by male artists in the art scene in general,” said Miss Porteman. “That’s the reason why the curator made that choice. She wanted to make the point that there are also female artists in the electronic arts scene.”

Bozar’s new art space, Bozar Lab, will be inaugurated during the festival. It will be a place where artists, researchers and the public in general can meet.

“The idea is to reflect on innovation,” said Miss Porteman, “to stand at the crossroads of different disciplines and appreciate all the links between art, society and technology. At Bozar Lab, there’ll be conferences, exhibitions, calls for projects, and a lot more.”

Spacetime Helix ©Anna Da Prato
“Spacetime Helix”, by Anna Da Prato

The exhibition that will be shown at Bozar Lab is Archaeology of the Screen. The Estonian Example, which aims to showcase how Estonia, since the early 1990s, chose information technology as one of its developmental priorities and launched a unique e-state project. The works in display are associated, in one way or another, to the wealth of possibilities that can be created by new technology.

Other artists present during the festival include: Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner, Jóhann Jóhannsson, the American composer William Basinski, who will offer the Belgian premier of his emotional tribute to David Bowie, the Australian Ben Frost, the producer and shoegazer Pantha du Prince, and many more.