New Narrative for Europe

On November 9, 10 and 11 Waag participated in the ICT&ART Connect 2013 workshop. The goal of the workshop aimed to bring technologists and artists together to collaboratively work on new themes, ideas, practices and technologies. The workshop results were presented at the European Parliament during the afternoon session on 11th November, hosted by the Directorate General.

The larger context for the workshop is the development of a New Narrative for Europe, which aims to show that the European Union is not just about fixing an economic crisis and creating jobs, but is also a political and cultural context based on universal values and shared beliefs. In addition to the workshop this was showcased during exhibitions in the HLP Gallery and Bozar, looking at different ways information is produced, shared and edited in physical and digital networks and how this tiggers new ways to look at our lives and surroundigs.

The ‘New Narrative for Europe’ initiative was launched earlier this year, in the presence of EC president Barroso. So far, the discussion has been largely fuelled by input from politicians and intellectuals; this event aimed to bring the creativity of artists working with interactive media into the conversation.

At the workshop an interdisciplinary group of some 60 artist, designers, technologists and makers gathered at iMAL. At the beginning of the workshops 12 ideas were pitched to be further explored during the workshop and collaborations were formed around those ideas. Looking back central to all ideas might be the notion of putting the human factor back into technology enhancing creativity, in both society and technological development. Technology wise remote sensing, augmented reality and brain activity was explored, amongst others. Topic wise ideas ranged from embodied interaction, community activation and participation to biodata and (personal) data ethics.

The results of the workshop will be communicated through the website of the ICT&ART CONNECT, where also video documentation of the technology and topics of the working groups can be found.

The results of ICT & Art Connect in both Brussels and earlier Vilnius where presented and discussed with Robert Madelin, Dirctor-General of the Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology of the EU. He is convinced that art and creativity should play a role in the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission and will come soon with recommendations.

As for the New Narrative for Europe initiative the next steps will be announced on the European Commission website, but will also be highly dependant on cultural players like the Brussels Bozar Museum that is stronly convinced of the narrative importance and any other cultural institution that adheres or engages.

The workshop was organized in cooperation with iMAL, Sigma Orionis, Brunel University, Stromatolite, and BCC. ICT&ART CONNECT 2013 was organized by DG CONNECT, the European Commission’s Directorate General in charge of ICT, in cooperation with the European Parliament, Artshare, iMAL, Bozar, HLP Gallery, Hotel Bloom, and the FP7 funded project FET-ART.



Lucas Evers