ADAF: Athens in alternative digital mode

Baptised Digital Pop, the twelfth Athens Digital Arts Festival (ADAF) aims to highlight the different aspects of a new pop culture underway at the height of the digital age, when new practices linked primarily to new technology and the internet generate new behavioural and creative trends affecting us all on a daily basis, and tinged with an underlying sensitive militant tone.

A year ago, the Ultima-Musée Pop du Jeu vidéo festival took over the Lieu Unique in Nantes highlighting the way in which the culture of video games has intruded upon our lives over the past few years and the way in which this – initially rather “geeky” culture – became an integral part of our artistic, sociological, and of course fun, everyday lives.

Called Digital Pop, the twelfth Athens Digital Arts Festival (ADAF) starts from the same premise, this time applied to digital behaviour (whether linked to the internet or new technology, but also to new means of digital artistic creation) that is increasingly taking over our lives …and our militant temperament.

12th Athens Digital Arts Festival Digital Pop | 19 - 22 May | Video Showreel

Router Pop

Faced with all too familiar economic difficulties, it is hardly surprising that Greece is taking the lead, this time in terms of a citizen-based and participative digital approach, even if it proves to be more symbolic here. To this effect, several weeks before it started the festival organisers launched operation RouterPoP, aimed at denouncing the current reflection of the FCC (Federal Communication Commission, an arm of US Congress) seeking to exert pressure on manufacturers of computer and technology hardware (computers, telephone but also WiFi connection routers) to rule out any possibility of subsequent amendment of their manufactured object. A reflection judged by ADAF as a frontal attack against creative hacking and the freedom inherent to the very principle of WiFi connection and that the event denounced by suggesting customising one’s own WiFi router box then putting the result online on the festival’s Facebook and Twitter accounts – the best then being selected to participate in the collective installation RouterPoP  will be exhibited during the festival.

This political and militant, as well as artistic and creative, approach is not new to the event. It originated in 2005 from the desire to stimulate local and international artistic creation evolving around video art – its first name was Athens Video Art festival -, installations and live performances. The festival gradually extended to a digital/new media culture increasingly in touch with our global and above all connected consumer habits and lifestyles. Consequently, the festival, already renamed International Festival of Digital Arts & New Media in 2012 this year became the Athens Digital Arts Festival.

Multiple interactions around exponential digital creation

With 3,458 artists invited, from 88 countries, ADAF fully supports an international vision of this creative digital, participative and therefore “popular” culture, in operation. By proposing a wide selection of installations and interactive pieces, web art, digital projections and live electronic AV musical performances, but also workshops and artist conferences, ADAF fully intends to play the exponential digital creation card, constantly redefining its language and aesthetics.

Creation around digital animation is therefore the current trend including the series of projections “Pop Apocalyptic” and  “Just Popped” presenting several eagerly awaited films like the very cynical Death Birth by the Swedish artist Knut LSG Hybinette, a game design and new media teacher at Tarleton State University in Texas, or the Hellenic folkloric reinterpretation of the video game Street Fighter by the Greek artist Orestis Lazos (Street Fight).

The installations include amongst others 69.number.suck by the Dutch Greek collective BrowserBased proposing a mapped reinterpretation of the graffiti flourishing on telephone boxes in the Greek capital. A way of glorifying in a fun location-based format an anarchic undying means of communication resistant to the means of communication of the big telephony groups. Just as funny, A Place I’ve Never Been by the Swiss artist Adrian Flury enjoys uniting various digital images of the same tourist destination but from different sources.

Adrian FLURY : A place I`ve never been (EXCERPT) 

This is a way of questioning a distorted, manipulable and redundant memory on the pretext of using new digital processing tools accessible to everyone. From a more musical aspect, Laser Harp developed by the Austrian collective Circus Lumineszenz, reveals another form of potential digital interaction, proposing a physical manoeuvrable grid for playing live music from 16 lasers targeted on 16 photoresistors.

Live highlights…with no concessions

Live performances also feature predominantly at ADAF 2016 reflecting an actively militant festival. With the exception of the focus on the electro/audiovisual Berlin label of reference, namelyRaster-Noton, presenting two live AV performances from its new line-up of artists (Kyoka, Grischa Lichtenberger), there will be futuristic and emphatic graphic creations by the Portuguese duo Boris Chimp 504, the post-digital and dystopian anthropomorphic road-trip Centaure by the Franco-Belgian team comprising Frank Vigroux and Kurt d’Haeseleer, and the very colourful and branded geometric VJing combinations in the Mask of Lights by the British artist Aszyk. But the icing on the cake will no doubt be the invitation extended to the always very irreverent 1024 Architecture (Fernando Favier and François Wunschel) to perform their ultimate show Récession, the last part of a triptych Euphorie-Crise-Récession - blending anti-consumerist denunciation on a planetary level and a provocative slightly nihilistic audiovisual show– particularly appropriate with respect to the widespread and just as high profile social situation of their hosts for the evening.

Laurent Catala

12th Athens Digital Arts Festival Digital Pop trailer

Digitalarti Media is proud to support the 12th edition of Athens Digital Arts Festival

Athens Digital Arts Festival
from 19th to 22nd May
Athens, Greece.

ADAF Athens Digital Arts Festival



Green fingers: digital and botanical art (1/2)

Artistic practices involving video, robotics and biotechnology have complete