New media art festival RADAR welcomes Bucharest to the METAVERSE
METAVERSE, the 3rd edition of the new media art festival RADAR, will take place in the center of Bucharest between October 14 and 16, in three heritage buildings - Oscar Maugsch Palace, the Stock Exchange Palace, and GHICA House.
As the largest festival dedicated to new digital media in Romania, this edition will host a selection of over 30 multidisciplinary projects by Romanian artists from all over the country, a section dedicated to children, and 3 talks by international guests from renowned festivals in this segment, such as Nxt Museum in Amsterdam, Light Art Museum in Budapest, X Media Art Museum in Istanbul, Wro Art Center in Wroclaw, and Ars Electronica in Linz.
Metaverse was chosen as the theme for this edition to make familiar the notion of Avatar and uncover its many meanings throughout history.
According to the organizers, an avatar is both a primitive and a current concept. Human identities nowadays have a digital side that is constantly searching for a functional and aesthetic form.
"Avatars must become easier and easier to create, become a consumable asset on a large scale, and the effort of each individual creating such an asset must be minimal, but the result as plastic as possible. This is where AI comes in, providing a suite of very useful tools for generating increasingly expressive and user-friendly avatars. For the RADAR identity we guided the machine learning algorithm across multiple continents and cultures while preserving autonomy and processes that extract something unpredictable from each reference," says RADAR's creative and technical director Mihai Cojocaru.
Guided by this year's theme, there will be the launch of an artistic project based on neural networks, called ANA (Avatar Neural Artificial), created by a team of Romanian artists, Mihai Cojocaru and rec.ON.
ANA is an interactive installation that uses artificial intelligence algorithms for each component in its pipeline. It is based on the latest neural network models, with which it can perform complex operations: first, to "hear" the user's questions, it interprets the human voice and processes it as text. Then comes the thinking, in which this text is analyzed and an original creative answer is formulated based on the meaning extracted. Once a response is devised, its text is transformed into speech, and the spoken words and their sound inflections are analyzed and used to generate real-time facial animations. These processes are automated to work without human intervention and together they produce a uniquely calibrated, artificial neural avatar with a disposition for predicting the future.
The ANA AI oracle is among the first projects developed worldwide using such a setup, based on the most efficient and latest neural network models. It offers a real-time experience where the user can connect with artificial intelligence in an ideational playground while maintaining a natural interaction, a conversation with a futuristic humanoid avatar.
It will be presented to the general public at RADAR, at the Oscar Maugsch Palace, one of three locations along the festival route.
Artificial intelligence is an important direction for the RADAR-Metaverse theme, which multiple projects and artists exhibiting this year integrate. The other categories of the event are divided into Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Video Mapping, Interactive Installations, Game Art, and NFTs.
Another central installation is the AI AVATAR BALLROOM, presented by glo and on display at the Palace of the Bourse. The content is the result of multidisciplinary collaboration, between artists and AI, and is a meeting place for avatars with influences from different cultures, with as diverse identities as possible, generated by artificial intelligence, and the audience will be able to embody and control these avatars through their facial expressions.
The artists involved in the festival are: Aural Eye, Adistu, Alex Cioacă, AMC Ro Studio, Anca Damian, Augmented Space Agency, Cote.ggml, Denis Flueraru, Dan Adrian Ionescu, Dragoș Iulian Matei, Dragoș Dogioiu, Emil Drăgan, Ioana Mischie, Ionuț Moldovanu, Cristina Bodnărescu, Les Ateliers Nomad, Lucian, Mihai Cojocaru, Noetic, Noiseloop Studio, Rizi studio, Sandu Milea, Serj Zărnescu, Ștefan Damian, Tammy Lovin, Toma Herciu.
The winners of the FAR funding and mentorship program, who will have their projects exhibited at RADAR, are Cristina Bodnărescu - Imagined Critters, Noiseloop - Metaverse and Ștefan Damian - Sonic Avatars.
As for the talks that will take place each day, the topics and guests are as follows:
New media centers and museums, October 14, 15:00 - 17:00
Merel Van Helsdingen, founder and managing Director of Nxt Museum, Amsterdam (NL)
Marton Orosz, director/ art historian/ curator, Vasarely Museum and the Light Art Museum, Budapest (HU)
Piotr Krajewski, artistic director & curator, WRO Art Center (PL)
Metavers, NFT and Web Community, October 15, 15:00 - 17:00
AFO, Tache - Subcarpați
Sabin Dima, founder of Humans.ai
Tammy Lovin, creator of digital art experiences, Metaverse architect
Adrian Posteucă - consultant in Creative Technologies and the Metaverse.
Immersive spaces and new media festivals, October 16, 15:00 - 17:00
Esra Ozkan, curator of digital arts and emerging technologies, X Media Art
Museum, Istanbul (TUR)
Alex Czetwertynski, artist/curator/creative director (BE)
Ferdi Alici, founder & director of OUCHHH (TUR)
Christl Baur, co-producer & researcher, Ars Electronica (AT)
The RADAR schedule is:
Friday, October 14, 14:00 - 23:00
Saturday, October 15, 11:00 - 23:00
Sunday, October 16, between 11:00 - 23:00.
(Photo source: RADAR)