[artinfo] ElectroSmog - International Festival for Sustainable Immobility

Eric Kluitenberg epk at xs4all.nl
Wed Jan 6 19:26:44 CET 2010


International Festival for Sustainable Immobility

Amsterdam / New York / Madrid / Helsinki / Riga / London / Banff  / 
New Zealand / Munich / & on-lIne

March 18 - 20, 2010


ElectroSmog is a new festival that explores the concept 'Sustainable 
Immobility' in theory and practice. Sustainable Immobility is first 
of all a critique of the growing global crisis of mobility. Current 
forms of hyper-mobility of people and products in travel and 
transport are  ecologically increasingly unsustainable. The will to 
slow down, however, seems thoroughly absent. The economic crisis may 
have temporarily slowed matters down, long term projections still 
point towards exponential growth of worldwide mobility and exploding 
energy needs.  Alternatives for the current state of hyper-mobility 
need to be designed urgently.

The exploration of Sustainable Immobility is a quest for a lifestyle 
less determined by speed and constant mobility. A lifestyle that 
celebrates stronger links to local cultures, while at the same time 
deepening our connections to others across any geographical divide by 
means of new communication technologies, instead of physical travel.

The ElectroSmog festival will engage one of the main promises 
information age: that communication technologies can replace the need 
for physical mobility and thereby contribute directly to ecological 
stability. Our increased tele-connections would lead to a more 
rewarding deep local lifestyle (homework in the electronic cottage) 
and to richer connected experiences with the rest of the world (the 
global village). While these promises have existed since the dawn of 
the information age, they were never fully realised. The  expanding 
mobility and energy crisis requires us, however, to re-examine these 
promises and find out how to turn them into viable life-style choices.

ElectroSmog will not take the underlying premises of the information 
age for granted. We want to ask questions such as:
Are increased electronic connections truly more energy efficient and 
ecologically sustainable?
Do they lead to new forms of  electromagnetic pollution (electrosmog)?
How can the revitalisation of the local be combined with a 
responsible global consciousness?
How can remote connections become a truly rewarding experience in and 
of themselves?

Technology alone is never the answer. We are looking for both 
technological and non-technological solutions to the central question 
of the festival: How can a sustainably immobile way of life be 

Bringing Together a Broad Coalition:

The ElectroSmog festival brings together a broad coalition of 
designers, environmentalists, urban and spatial planners, 
technologists, artists, theorists, and engaged and concerned 
citizens, to explore and 'design' sustainable immobility.

ElectroSmog is a truly international festival, with everything you 
might expect: international debates and discussions, performances, 
art projects, exhibits, site specific projects, screenings, a design 
competition, and more.  ElectroSmog stakes its claim for a radical 
break with the current systems of hyper-mobility not simply by 
discussing the issue, but by actually implementing it.

No Travel Allowed!
Connecting the Local Off-Line with the International On-Line:

The very concept of an international festival and its traditional 
conventions has been rethought and redesigned from the ground up. 
This has lead us to a few basic ground rules that will apply for all 
festival events:
- No presenter will travel beyond their local or regional boundaries 
to participate in this event.
- All festival events will always take place in at least two 
locations connected in real-time.
- A crucial dimension of the festival will be its on-line presence, 
where audiences from basically anywhere with an internet connection 
can follow events on-line, join in discussions and debates, visit 
virtual theatres in metaverses such as second life, and contribute to 
the program.

A network of accomplished cultural and new media centres, labs, 
theatres and other public venues work together to create the local 
'hubs' that will inter-connect on-line for the festival.

Beyond the Broadband Enclaves:

ElectroSmog acknowledges from the start that bandwidth is not equally 
distributed across and within societies. Therefore remote connection 
to lower bandwidth spaces, do-it-yourself telematics, and information 
technologies for the majority world will be one the central concerns 
the festival will address.

Themes explored during the festival include:

- Global Views on the Crisis of Mobility
- The Promise of Ubiquity: Being everywhere at once, while staying home
- Designing for Immobility
- The Changing Path of Food to our Kitchen Table: Food and Global Mobility
- Do-It-Yourself Telematics: Technologies for everybody else
- Aesthetics of Distributed Space
- ElectroSmog is Good for You!
- Tyrannies of the Real-Time
- Going Slow: Private Agency Towards a Sustainable Immobility

The preliminary festival program will be published on February 1st.
Updates on festival preparations and news will be published at the 
festival news-blog and website at:

International Design Competition

ElectroSmog has initiated its own design competition for young 
designers, artists, students, and professionals to come up with 
design scenario's, life-style proposals, prototypes or demo-designs 
for sustainable immobility.

The competition invites proposals, scenario studies, demos, 
prototypes or other innovative ideas to in response to the question: 
How can we design sustainable immobility?

The winner will be awarded eternal fame and a fully equipped 
residency, generously hosted by the Banff New Media Institute, to 
execute her or his ideas.
For details please refer to:

Technology Transfer and Content Follow-up:

ElectroSmog will make extensive use of existing and open source 
technologies that will be integrated in a re-useable web environment, 
developed in collaboration with the Cool Mediators Foundation and De 
Balie in Amsterdam.
The technical processes will be documented in a post-festival 
documentation workshop organised with the innovative Floss Manuals 
organisation, resulting in a freely downloadable manual and a print 
on demand publication available from the Floss Manuals website.
The outcomes of the discussions, debates and theoretical seminars 
will lead to an international follow-up publication, currently under 
negotiation and planned for the Fall of 2010.

ElectroSmog Partner Organisations

De Balie, Centre for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam
ADA - Aotearoa Digital Arts Network, New Zealand.
Eyebeam - Art + Technology Center, New York.
Banff New Media Institute, Banff.
Medialab Prado, Madrid.
RIXC - Centre for New Media Culture, Riga.
Chelsea College of Art and Design, London.
m-cult- centre for new media culture, Helsinki.
Hivos - Humanist Institute for development Cooperation, The Netherlands.
Floss Manuals - Free Manuals for Free Software, (international network).
Engage! Tactical Media, Utrecht.
Cool Mediators Foundation, Amsterdam.
Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam


Further enquiries can be directed at: info [AT] electrosmogfestival.net

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