Barcelona prepares to be the global epicenter of electronic art

The combination of art, science and technology opens up endless creative possibilities and some of them will be seen in Barcelona from June 10 to 16 with the arrival of the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA). Talks and round tables with leading experts in this field will be accompanied by activities open to all citizens, such as a mapping at the Sant Pau modernist site, a drone show at Somorrostro beach or a large immersive installation at the CCCB made by Maurice Benayoun y Refik Anadol —recently popular in the Catalan capital for its mapping in Casa Batlló, which had a millionaire sale price—.

The 27th edition of the ISEA will concentrate the bulk of its program at the CCCB and MACBA, where international figures of reference such as Olga Goriunova y Christl Bauras well as places like Joan Fontcuberta y Ricard Solé. More than 300 presentations, talks, screeningsdemonstrations, round tables, workshops and performances They will be part of the symposium that will serve as a meeting point for artists, scientists and technologists.

All this creativity and disruption will be framed under the motto The possible onesa theme “very typical of Barcelona”, says the director of ISEA 2022, Pau Alsina. The symposium, promoted by the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), will address issues such as the creative capacity of artificial intelligence, the possibilities offered by immersive experiences, the imaginary of biotechnologies in art, the challenges posed by climate change or new ways of approaching education.

In times of uncertainty, the Deputy Mayor for Culture of the Barcelona City Council, Jordi Martí, sees in this event a way to “illuminate different paths and face a life together that is becoming more and more complicated”. “Art connected to science and technology opens up new spaces for reflection that must allow us to formulate new questions”, remarks Martí.

The research will be accompanied by artistic expression to exemplify the discussions that take place in the symposium. More than 80 works will make up the ISEA 2022 exhibition project, the largest ever held in Spain in this artistic discipline. Santa Mònica will host the main exhibition, The irruptionwhich will investigate the current ecological and social crisis from different points of view, with works by Robertina Šebjanič, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Eric Berger, Joan Soler-Adillon o Andy Gracie. La Capella and Sant Pau will be the other two spaces that will organize exhibitions.

Barcelona will not be the only protagonist of ISEA 2022. Beyond the Catalan capital, one of the main protagonists will be Reus. The Cal Massó art center will have an exhibition on electronic art, with works by Joan Fontcuberta. There will also be a mapping on the modernist façade of Casa Navás. L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Mataró, Vic, Tarragona, Girona, Lleida, Amposta, Berga and Balaguer will be other venues for this international event.

One of the drone shows performed by Flock Drone Art Barcelona, ​​combining technology, lights and electronic music.

later legacy

Alsina states that the “transforming spirit” of the ISEA goes beyond the days that it will be present in the city and ends up leaving a legacy, as has happened in other cities that have organized it, reinforcing and articulating the existing ecosystem. For the vice-rector of the UOC, Pastora Martínez, the involvement of the new hub of Art, Science and Technology in the organization of the symposium, which represents its first appearance on stage, will be one of the most powerful grounds. “I hope it will be the seed of many future projects,” adds Martí.

After more than ten years without landing in Europe, the Catalan capital will host this new edition of ISEA. “It’s no coincidence that it’s in Barcelona because the city brings together a cultural, artistic and technological fabric that has the will to participate in the future by designing it,” defends Martínez. This will also mean that the symposium will extend its program in collaboration with local actors such as Graner, Hangar, Sónar, Casa América, the Institut de Ciències Fotòniques (ICFO), the Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona (PRBB), the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), EINA, CosmoCaixa, Sala Beckett or the Mercat de les Flors. “There is no better sign of capitalism than when they look for you because there is already an ecosystem,” says Martí.

ISEA 2022 presentation
Organizing entities of the ISEA 2022 edition.

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