Is the emergence of digital technologies improving the human experience? Do artificial intelligence or augmented reality change the way we take possession of space? These questions, particularly relevant in the year Japan is preparing to celebrate the human gesture by hosting the world's biggest sporting event, are creating waves at the festival this winter Digital Choc.
Digital technology, art and culture
Since 2012, this transdisciplinary event in Tokyo has deciphered the intersections between digital technology, art and culture, through various proposals around a common theme. After exploring the planet with “Spaceship Earth” in 2018, and then hosting interviews based on perceptions of the world in 2019 with “(Re)seeing the World”, this year's festival invites musicians, illustrators and video game designers to work together around the theme of “Deployed Bodies”.
Traditionally, in addition to conferences and exhibitions, the Digital Choc festival heavily features installations and live performances allowing digital tools to work their magic. In this vein, the Contemporary Computer Music Concert serves as a ritual: every year, French and Japanese composers are invited to perform their works on an Acousmonium. The 2020 performance will be led by Nagoya University-educated composer and musicologist Mikako Mizuno.
Another unmissable event is the opening night, which this year continues the collaboration with Mutek, an organisation specialising in the broadcast of musical and visual creations. As in the previous edition, the association co-organises the opening live event with a set that showcases French polar and sensory creations with Molécule, author of 22.7°C, as well as the performances of two prominent Japanese artists: the improviser galcid and Ken Furudate, winner of the 2018 Digital Choc Prize for his Pulses/Grains/Phase/Moiré project.
Creative machines and augmented reality
Furudate won't be the only former winner honoured. Scott Allen, who won the award last year, returns on 22 February with his project Ai.step. Accompanied by artist and computer programmer Kakuya Shiraishi, Allen offers a performance in which human creativity mixes with the learning ability of artificial intelligence to generate unique visual and sound sequences. Their performance will be preceded by a debate with French composer SKYGGE on the relationship between musical and machine creation.
Finally, to go further in bodily experiments, we need to look at the young audience’s programming which offers La Chasse aux brigands and La Parade engloutie, where the multi-talented French artist Guillaumit, accompanied by a plethora of illustrators reveals surprise after surprise in augmented reality. The body will be especially present in the impressive Rythmus installation from the French studio Chevalvert, which immerses viewers in their own heartbeat through light and sound. Previously presented at the Lyon Festival of Lights in 2018, this unique experience was honoured with a bronze European Design Award in 2019. It is a way of saying, once again, that Digital Choc brings together the best of Japanese and French digital creations.
The Digital Choc Festival received support from the Franco-German Cultural Fund.
Managed by the Institut français, this fund promotes Franco-German cultural cooperation abroad by supporting projects carried out in close collaboration with local cultural actors. More info on the Franco-German Cultural Fund
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