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deaf: the progress trap

This year's Dutch Electronic Art Festival raised expectations with its intriguing theme, 'The Progress Trap', marking the first time this biennale questions rather than celebrates its own technological focus.

Progress has become a means to an end in itself and has been decoupled from the cultural, ecological and social advances that it was supposed to help achieve. However seductive quick gains from technological solutions are, their temporary victories in the short term may cause much worse and bigger problems in the long run, luring us into The Progress Trap.

(It would seem this program statement means to say that progress has become an end in itself, though on another level its confusion of means and ends does show how deeply entrenched our ideas of progress really are...)

In any case, the works exhibited, at Het Nieuwe Instituut and V2, had trouble living up to the theme, unless by illustrating how (electronic) art doesn't escape this trap either. A work like 'Preppers Room' - a replica of a fully stocked survival cellar for those who anxiously await doomsday - by caricaturizing the issue really dismisses it as something concerning only eschatological shoppers.

In this respect a more thoughtful piece is Alicia Framis' 'Departure Board', which collects utopian destinations from world literature and popular culture on a flight departure board, cleverly undermining its own 'flight into fancy' with the technological infrastructure it assumes.

And while we're still here, the visually soothing 'Spawn', an outdoor light art piece by Jonas Vorwerk, offers gently floating colored light balls that are really just that...

Spawn - Jonas Vorwerk - 1

Spawn - Jonas Vorwerk - 2

Spawn - Jonas Vorwerk - 3

deaf2012: sealed

Some interesting work at the Dutch Electronic Art Festival 2012 exhibition that's on at the former post office in Rotterdam. One highlight is ' Sealed ' by Jessica de Boer, part of a trend at DEAF2012 to employ basic natural elements an… Read the full post »

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