Art and technology intersect next week during Zero One, a three-day digital arts festival, November 11-13, set in the ancient surroundings of Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum.
Like other art-technology festivals worldwide, such as Montreal’s Mutek or Sona+D in Barcelona, Zero One examines current technologies through creative interpretations such as artworks, performances, lectures and installations.
The festival begins next Friday with an array of live musical performances from Radio Musrara, based out of Jerusalem’s Musrara School of Art, the alma mater of festival co-director Yair Moss and a local bastion of art technology.
Saturday night brings a series of performances by international digital artists visiting from Austria, France, the Netherlands and Croatia along with local ones, melding artificial intelligence, big data, digital music and live acoustic instrumental music for an immersive outdoor experience.
French digital artist Mathieu Le Sourd and Dutch cellist, composer and producer Maarten Vos will present “Erratic Weather” on Saturday night, an eye-opening tapestry that melds data from many sources, including extreme weather events such as cyclones, typhoons and lightning storms, to create sound and visual interpretations of those events.
It’s a 45-minute visual and audio experience shown on a huge screen that demands the full attention of the audience. Moss said participants would be bombarded with a spectrum of feelings that could disturb them and raise questions.
On Sunday, the festival offers a more academic approach to digital art, with lectures and performances that examine the role of artificial intelligence in the art world. (One of the Sunday lectures will be in English and available online.)
“I want people to think about technology and this hybrid of humanity and technology, how we’re using it in our lives,” Moss said. “And are we creating a healthy digital culture or are these technologies — such as Google, email, artificial intelligence — ultimately harmful.”
The festival is the brainchild of co-artistic directors Moss and Danielle Zini, partners in life and work, who first encountered the interweaving of art and technology at European festivals.
Both are graduates of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Moss also studied audiovisual arts in the Netherlands and has a master’s degree from Reichman University, where he interacted mostly with technology types and UX designers and wanted to “shake that up a bit.”
Israel is a technology superpower, said Moss, yet there were few instances of technology being used in the local art scene, something he and Zini couldn’t figure out.
Moss and Zini wanted to use technology for creative experiences and the festival is a platform for that exploration, Moss said, with performances and visual art he hopes viewers will see “as something that is mind-opening.”
Hosting the festival in the ancient Tower of David is a nod to older traditions and knowledge, added Moss.
“This gives me a lot of inspiration in creating these new things,” he said. “How’d they look at things in the old world?”