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NEW NOW Festival for Digital Arts 2023 opens in Essen, Germany

June 1–August 6, 2023

The NEW NOW Festival for Digital Arts will take place from June 1 till August 6. Entitled Hypernatural Forces, the exhibition in the Mixing Plant and the accompanying events will focus on the powerful interactions between nature and digitality.

Developed especially for the exhibition, all the artworks in the Mixing Plant are world premieres. As part of the NEW NOW residency, seven artists were invited to develop projects for Hypernatural Forces. Over a period of seven months, they intensively researched, investigated and engaged with the locale and history of the Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site and the architecture of the Mixing Plant. In addition to the resident artists, other artists have also been invited to show new works. The festival is directed by Jasmin Grimm.

Hypernatural Forces: June 2–June 8, 2013
Exhibition with world premieres by AATB, Daniel Franke, Eva Papamargariti, Haha Wang, Jana Kerima Stolzer and Lex Rütten, Pinar Yoldaş, Sabrina Ratté, as well as Ali Phi and Cinzia Campolese. Opening on June 1 at 8:30pm.

We live in a time of hypernature. Technical knowledge and organic life are merging in new ways. Boundaries between reality and simulation are blurring. New dependencies and symbioses are appearing. Nature itself is becoming art. Over a period of nine weeks, the exhibition Hypernatural Forces will show artistic positions around the theme of hypernature in the Mixing Plant from June 2 till August 6, 2023.

Visitors enter the territory of a roaming robot pack. Listen to the beguiling song of invasive plants. Or wander through deserted landscapes of electronic waste and organic fiction. At Zollverein, they can experience how artificial intelligence (re-)interprets the site—once the largest colliery in the world—and generates new worlds from it. NEW NOW renders visible which ecosystems, biotopes and cycles emerge when plants, animals, minerals, technology, and humans intertwine in new ways. The exhibition is accompanied by an interactive audio walk designed by the Körperfunkkollektiv. It invites visitors to reflect on the interplay between humans, nature and technology—and to dive into the exhibited artworks and themes.

Immersive Sound Night: June 1 from 9pm
With France Jobin & Markus Heckmann, Myriam Bleau, Katatonic Silentio. Visitors are invited to immerse in electronic-audiovisual soundscapes with the Immersive Sound Night during the inaugural evening on the June 1. In collaboration with MUTEK Montréal, an international festival of digital creativity and electronic music, NEW NOW presents international artists who will fill the Mixing Plant with experimental electronic sounds and visuals.

Conference: June 2, 10am–10pm
With Anja Schürmann, Anna-Verena Nosthoff, Daniel Franke, Daniel Hengst, diffrakt—zentrum für theoretische peripherie, Eva Papamargariti, Felix Maschewski, Franziska Barth, Geert Lovink, Hannah Wallenfels, Jana Kerima Stolzer and Lex Rütten, Kathrin Yacavone, Lyndsey Walsh, Manischa Eichwalder, Manuel van der Veen, Markus Rautzenberg, Mona Leinung, MONOM Studios, Pınar Yoldaş, Rafaël Rozendaal, Rafael Dernbach, Sabrina Ratté, Sam Balfus, Tabitha Swanson, Total Refusal

The conference can be experienced both on site and as a livestream online and will be available with English and German translation. Livestream here.

A conference on Hypernatural Forces will take place on June 2 as a discursive element of NEW NOW. For a whole day, we will discuss and experience how digitalisation is changing our understanding of nature. To this end, international and local artists will be in conversation with scientists, activists and all other interested parties at Zollverein.

Is the digital a hypernatural force? How are digital technologies changing our understanding of nature? And what are the ecological effects of digitalisation? These questions are at the centre of the NEW NOW conference. Without computer models, knowledge about the climate crisis would be limited. And with the help of artificial intelligence biological organisms can be recombined and speculative worlds created.

Concurrently, digital technologies are increasingly criticised for their role in destroying ecosystems and exacerbating the climate crisis. We want to discuss how the Digital Arts are exploring new natures and images of nature. Part of the conference is a symposium by the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities Essen (KWI) as a contribution to their annual theme “More or Less” with the title “Digital Relations and New Environments”, which will analyse novel and unfinished processes of negotiation between humans, nature and technology. A performative evening programme explores “hypernatures” in an artistic way.

Participation is free. Please register here.

NEW NOW is a project of the Zollverein Foundation. The Festival for Digital Arts is funded by the Ministry for Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine‐Westphalia and is an anchor project of the initiative “Neue Künste Ruhr”.

Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage
Mixing Plant
45141 Essen
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