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Global Art and Technology Crossover Event to Take Place at Culture Lab LIC Next Month

Queens residents will get a chance to experience a digital art gallery at Culture Lab LIC next month (Photo provided by Extended Reality Ensemble)

Aug. 18, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

A global event that explores how art and technology can come together is taking place at the Culture Lab LIC next month.

The event, called Ars Electronica Festival Garden NYC, will run from Sept. 8 through Sept. 12 at 5-25 46th Ave. in Long Island City.

The five-day festival will feature various physical and digital artworks, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology, workshops and music. It is being organized by a coalition of artists called Extended Reality Ensemble (XRE).

Ars Electronica Festival Garden NYC will be a mixture of in-person experiences combined with virtual meet-ups with other people who are taking part in similar events around the world. There will be dozens of Ars Electronica Festival’s – each with a different digital theme – taking place simultaneously in countries such as Japan, Egypt and Australia, organizers said.

“It will be pretty special to connect this way,” said Clara Francesca, an artist and co-founder of XRE.

The first Ars Electronica was held in Austria in 1979 to discuss the onset of the digital revolution and it has since grown into a global annual event. The event in Long Island City will represent the festival’s New York “garden” venue and seeks to delve into the intimacy and accessibility of technology through a theme called “A Portal.”

The carpark area at Culture Lab LIC will be turned into an augmented reality square, Francesca said.

“Attendees will be given a QR code to scan with their phone and then various virtual artworks and pop-up sculptures will appear on their screens,” she said.

The main building at Culture Lab LIC will host the bulk of exhibits and other experiences.

For example, there will be a gallery with a selection of digital Non-Fungible Token (NFT) exhibits on show. NFT’s are forms of artwork where the creator has established ownership of an item via blockchain technology.

The gallery will be turned into a digital party space at night where various New York City-based audio and visual artists will showcase their art through music and light.

The event will also host live poetry sessions whereby a poet will read out a poem to a digital artist. The digital artist will then try to interpret the dialogue from the poem and convert it into a digital painting.

Another art form production includes a digital creator turning the moves of a physical performance artist into an avatar on a big screen.

“It is a new era of making art together,” Francesca said. “We are asking the artists how we dialogue when we come from very different backgrounds, when one comes from tech and one comes from analogue. How do we learn to co-create in the space?”

A large audio dome will also be erected where attendees can go inside and make noises which are then transmitted into digital sounds known as “audio reactivity,” Francesca said.

Additionally, organizers plan to have panels to discuss how technology can be used as a form of healing.

Entry to the event is free although attendees are asked to make a financial contribution if possible at the door or online via a Go Fund Me page. Attendees are required to register in advance. To register click here.

Each day, the festival will be live-streamed via the links below:

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