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Beneath the Spectacle of Interactive Art

By Arts & Culture

INST-INT provides a place for prominent artists and designers to talk about their use of technology

A visual strategist at NASA, a composer for Kronos Quartet and a Guggenheim fellow will be speaking at the much-anticipated INST-INT art and technology conference in Minneapolis September 25-27. Such a gathering of speakers will include three days of insight from all angles of art and technology. Other speakers include professors, executive directors and company founders, all of whom identify as artists and designers whose work directly engages with technology.

Image: Local Projects, Gallery One. Photo: provided by Local Projects

Image: Local Projects, Gallery One. Photo: provided by Local Projects

“One-off projects made for one-off locations can make you pull your hair out, and/or go broke in the process,” states the INST-INT conference’s site. The event strives to acknowledge the very real issues at the heart of this emerging practice. All of the conference’s speakers have experienced the same set of problems as any artist in the audience.

INST-INT’s clearly honest passion for technology and art is complimented by a set of workshops such as Interactive Light Sculpture and Incorporating Kinect v2 Into Creative Coding Experiences. The allure of Joshua Noble’s “Helping Little Things Talk”’s title compensates for the title’s lack of clarity. Many of the conference’s sessions carry similarly ambiguous titles: “Just Get Lost,” “Please Touch The Art” and “Inside The Ecstatic Epiphany.” These titles remove technical emphasis and instead provoke consideration of the concepts behind the technologies. Jen Lewin’s “Please Touch The Art” considers how people experience interactive art installations and connect with one another as a result. Although the technical nature of the event is present in all of its materials, the speakers on INST-INT’s schedule explore the larger social implications and what it means to use technology.

Image: Sputniko!, Menstruation Machine. Photo: Rai Royal

Image: Sputniko!, Menstruation Machine. Photo: Rai Royal

Image: Minimaforms, Petting Zoo. Photo:Apostolos Despotidis

Image: Minimaforms, Petting Zoo. Photo:Apostolos Despotidis

Sputniko!, who will give a keynote speech on INST-INT’S opening night, explores gender taboos and futuristic design in works like The Moonwalk Machine, a fictional story of a girl who sends a machine to the moon that lands on high heels, leaving a symbolic gesture of a woman’s presence. Sputniko! believes in using social media to build conversation around her work, which shies away from standard art criticism and instead connects it to the everyday.

Kyle McDonald, a developer of openFrameworks, open source coding toolkit, engages with the open source community through creative coding, but his work spans various media. In his session “Space Filling” he’ll discuss his interest in accessibility, touching on collaboration as well as budgets.

The open source movement is just one example of how speakers’ philosophies extend into social practices. The themes of INST-INT will likely make a conference full of geniuses interesting to people from all backgrounds. “They’re rockstars,” boasts the site. But these speakers are passionate about sharing ideas and approaches to art and technology, and INST-INT provides the perfect environment.

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