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How the BeFantastic Festival bridges the worlds of technology and art

10 6 5
sunday

Citizens are not just consumers of digital technology, but creators, artists and activists as well — as illustrated at the recent BeFantastic Festival (‘Bengaluru Fantastic’).

Highlighting the use of technology as art, and to create momentum for a sustainable and inclusive society, the BeFantastic Festival featured interactive artworks by 26 artists from India and overseas. Put together by Jaaga, the displays were featured at the Rangoli Metro Art Centre over the weekend, breathing new energy into the normally traffic-choked M.G. Road area. There were 30 artworks, 11 talks, six workshops and six performances – all with no entry fee.

The activities featured simulations of cubism, personal rainbows, upcycled eco-products, machine learning applied to traditional art designs, drum jams, unicycle dances, music interfaces mimicking gestures, cyborgs in saris, and even an immersive experience of a tornado. Participating artists shared their insights in interviews and in panels on art ecologies, tech ethics, design education, urban spaces, digital experimentation, and green futures.

Technology as art

“Technology is a means of action, like a pencil or a canvas. What counts is the finality, the intention, how to use it,” explains Marguerite Courtel, secretary general of Art of Change 21. The Paris-based organisation links art, innovation and environment to imagine a sustainable future. (See also YourStory’s coverage of the Glass Sutra Studio, India Art Fair, and artist-activist Paramesh Jolad.)

“What is the point of this technology, how many people can benefit, does it make people’s life better? Does it make the planet’s life better? These are the kind of questions we should ask ourselves about new technologies. It’s the same as art, there has to be a deeper meaning,” says Marguerite.

Digital technology is the latest of a series of tools used by artists, according to Jayanth ‘The Sine Painter’ Ramachandra. “To me, my mouse, keyboard and text editor or DAW are what a paint brush, pallet and canvas would be to a........

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