Humans have adopted different values in different eras. Since the advent of digital technology, humans have developed a language and an aesthetics befitting the new technological environment. With the term “New Aesthetic,” James Bridle describes the emergence of a visual language and mixed reality in the post-digital era. As social networks and virtual media have a ubiquitous presence in our daily lives, we are experiencing unpredictable errors and solid messages reacting differently from their original intentions as we experience a combination of real and virtual environments and turbulent changes of the future.
The 2020 festival defined “the third life” as an issue concerning the relationship between reality and virtuality caused by the rapidly changing technological environment in the late 20th century. Conversely, the 2021 festival attempts to expand the realm of art education based on the Internet as an art school in the post-COVID era. Prompted by Ars Electronica, the attempt began by running an international collaborative education program called “Korea National University of Arts X Ars Electronica Academy,” which transcends physical limitations. The program included a team of emerging artists from various disciplines at Korea National University of Arts and international mentors from Ars Electronica. It supported eight teams to lead convergence arts education and create artworks during the first semester of 2021, through two curriculums: “Interactive+” (three teams) and “Immersive Performance” (five teams). Each program focused on games and immersive performances as new art media and created artworks that experimented with the interaction and artistic immersion of digital media. I am proud to introduce them in this festival.
The results from the various artistic education and creative attempts in a rapidly changing society will be presented at 2021 Ars Electronica Garden Seoul in September. Under the theme “Code H,” the festival focused on humor as a way to explore the new aesthetics and enable future art and technology to coexist with humanity. Henri Bergson defined humor as “very humane and a remedy for anti-sociality.” Humor is a universal language, more persuasive and inclusive than other means of expression; it has always played a significant social role. Through lectures by experts, showcase, and performance screenings, this year’s festival rediscovers the value of humor to overcome hardships during this post-COVID era and elucidate the relationship between humor and convergence art.
Director | Chungyean Cho (Director of Center for Art Convergence, Korea National University of Arts)