Intersections Durban creates city-wide showcase

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ISEA2018 is the 24th International Symposium on Electronic Art, a major global conference on new media art, in Durban from 23-30 June.

A still photo by Durban photographer Samora Chapman, from the introductory video on Durban’s response to ISEA2018
A still photo by Durban photographer Samora Chapman, from the introductory video on Durban’s response to ISEA2018

It will create a city-wide showcase of dozens of exhibitions, events, installations, walks, festivals and activities all talking to the theme Intersections. ISEA2018 is the first ISEA to be held in the African sub-continent. Hosted in venues across Durban, this event will incorporate the fifth iteration of the Durban University of Technology Digital Festival (DigiFest) and Innovate Durban’s 2018 Innovation Festival (IF Durban) in a strategy to build a local partnership and legacy.

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ISEA2018 is a festival in two parts: an academic symposium at DUT City Campus (25-27 June) comprising peer-reviewed papers, panels and keynote presentations for registered delegates travelling from around the world; and then the dozens of events on the cultural programme (23-30 June) and public workshops (22-24 June).

To the uninitiated, the public cultural component of ISEA2018 is an intense and lively ten-day festival featuring some of the world’s most prominent digital artists, comprising a vast array of interesting, brave, fun, innovative and insightful happenings taking place in various venues across the city. The works combine existing art forms (such as illustration, design, dance, fashion, architecture, photography, film and music), re-invented and re-considered to make them interesting and relevant in a new-media, technologically-savvy world.  In most instances there is a cross-over with science; sometimes with a research component.

FREE SUNSHINE! mini robots powered by the sun – a project by Miranda Moss (South Africa) Thulile Gamedze (South Africa) and Oliver Walkhoff (Switzerland) funded by Pro Helvetia.
FREE SUNSHINE! mini robots powered by the sun – a project by Miranda Moss (South Africa) Thulile Gamedze (South Africa) and Oliver Walkhoff (Switzerland) funded by Pro Helvetia.

Expect virtual reality-based art viewed only through a tablet or smart-phone; tiny solar-panelled robots; large-scale building projections; electronic jazz performed to a silent film about dinosaurs; underwater soundscapes; imagining the Zambian space race; digital artworks; app-guided walking tours; video installations on the beach and animated wire art.

The cultural programme is structured in such a way that visitors can follow the daily diary and be part of a set schedule – visitors can follow the ISEA itinerary and move easily from one event to the next.

Partner venues are DUT City Campus; KZNSA Gallery; Durban Art Gallery; Denis Hurley Centre; Emmanuel Cathedral; BAT Centre; Bond Shed; Green Hub; Warwick Junction; Treasure Island; uShaka Marine World; KCap; Bulwer Park and Durban City Hall.

Most events are open to the public, are family-friendly and are free of charge.

ISEA2018 culminates on Saturday evening, 30 June, with the ninth edition of Interpret Durban taking over the magnificent Durban City Hall – inside and outside the whole building from 6 pm. The space will be re-imagined by a team of artists from all over the world – using the spaces in an unusual way and displaying art in various forms throughout the building. The centrepiece will be the main hall which will become a dance floor for the evening.

Mapped in virtual reality, a destroyed Monument becomes a Nonument - by Kaja Brezoènik
Mapped in virtual reality, a destroyed Monument becomes a Nonument – by Kaja Brezoènik

“ISEA2018 / Digifest05 / IF Durban’s theme, Intersections, brings new audiences, academics, and practitioners together. It positions creative technological innovation as an activist engagement into public space and allows for creative collaboration between artists, artisans, designers, technologists, entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists and inventors. Intersections brings together projects, networks and programmes that not only push the local debate on art, science and technology collaboration but builds a national network of practice and collaboration,” explains ISEA2018 artistic director and The Trinity Session director, Marcus Neustetter.

“The city-wide cultural programme will host local and international projects and presentations in public spaces across Durban and surrounding areas. These will include artist interventions and performances, site-specific workshops, talks in alternative spaces, thematic exhibitions and activation tours. This will culminate in a series of public engagements through the Technology, Innovation and Design Expo (TIDE) and Interpret Durban,” he said.

Local ISEA2018 / Digifest05 / IF Durban partners are Durban University of Technology’s Faculty of Arts and Design, Innovate Durban, eThekwini Municipality, Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau and The Trinity Session.

Among the exhibits is FREE SUNSHINE! mini robots powered by the sun – a project by Miranda Moss (South Africa) Thulile Gamedze (South Africa) and Oliver Walkhoff (Switzerland) funded by Pro Helvetia. FREE SUNSHINE! is a public intervention consisting of a temporary electronics lab set up in Durban’s public space offering free solar-powered robotics workshops en masse to interrogate the media storm highlighting Eskom and NERSA’s decision to develop legislation requiring citizens to register (and in the process pay for) any small-scale, independent energy sources (e.g solar power).  Part of the Life Hacking ISEA 2018 Gallery takeover at the KZNSA Gallery.

The “Nonument” project comes to Durban as part of ISEA2018. A much-loved public fountain was destroyed in Detroit. As part of the protest action an app was created which mapped out the fountain in virtual reality – allowing the former “monument” to become a “nonument”, pushing the boundaries of architecture and our notion of reality. The “Nonument” project comes to Durban as part of ISEA2018.

To find out more:
Facebook: @intersectionsdurban
Instagram: @intersectionsdurban
The detailed programme can be found on the ISEA2018 website.

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