The Dutch Electronic Art Festival (DEAF) is an international and interdisciplinary biennial that focuses on art, technology and society. DEAF presents a wide range of program segments, including a large exhibition of interactive artworks and installations in the former Post Office at the Coolsingel, Rotterdam. There will be concerts, performances, seminars, workshops and an academic symposium. The festival is characterized by a thematic approach. Its aim is to bring current developments and themes around art in our technological culture to a diverse audience.
In our daily lives, nonliving matter plays a crucial role in nearly everything we do, often beyond our immediate control. For example, the food we eat influences our mood and behavior; the technologies we use shape our social interactions; and climate impacts on our daily rhythms. On a more global level, modern material science, recent natural disasters and the current state of the global environment also indicate that the causal power of nonliving matter can no longer be denied. Acknowledging this ‘power of things’ not only provides new insights into many phenomena, but also changes the way we relate to the world, as we step away from our contemporary, arguably hazardous, human centered worldview. With The Power of Things as its theme, this edition of the Dutch Electronic Art Festival explores a radically different worldview: one that breaks down the categorical distinction between the living and the nonliving and attributes a vital force to both.
The theory that there is a vital force within nonliving matter has appeared at various points in history, but the idea that matter has causality and agency seems to be becoming more widespread than ever at present. “Vitalist” philosophies and materialist approaches are flourishing in philosophy and science. But art is the field where material causality exerts its strongest force. As every artist knows, the outcome of an artistic process is largely determined by the materials used. While scientific experimentation predominantly aims for a better understanding of what matter is, art explores what matter does. Knowing what matter does contributes to a greater knowledge of how things – whether foodstuffs, commodities or something else – act and what their particular propensities or tendencies are. Recognizing the power of things could even reveal how seemingly passive things have crucial impacts on social issues, political affairs and environmental problems. By embodying it in tangible works, art helps us to acknowledge this power.
The clean, digital world of bits has become inextricably tied to dirty, messy old atoms … – Daniel Nye Griffiths, Forbes
Deze editie van DEAF dwingt de bezoeker stil te staan bij het feit dat ons leven is opgebouwd uit dingen. Zelfs het digitale is uiteindelijk slechts materie, (…) Daar ligt de kracht van de tentoonstelling, in het gebruik van schoonheid om mensen te verleiden beter naar dingen te kijken. – Pim Verlaek, Metropolis M
Deze intrigerende expositie onthult dat het verschil tussen levende organismen en matierie minder groot is dan we vaak denken... – Jeroen Junte, de Volkskrant
DEAF 2012 is produced in collaboration with V2_, Rotterdamse Schouwburg, REWIRE, WORM, De Gouvernestraat, Virtueel Platform, Todays Art, CBK.