Liminal is a Bucharest-based festival and year-round project of ideas and experiences to inspire and engage people to evaluate the role and impact of technological advancement over their lives.

This year’s theme is The Good Life and in this edition we investigate, across three main events, an exhibition, a night of talks and a hackathon, how technology is reconfiguring our ideas about what it means to be human, live well and do good.

Will the future be better or worse because of technology and how is this interaction framing our reality? Should machines be regarded as mere instruments serving human creativity, or as equal collaborators? What vision of the good life compels us and how can we commit to it for a better future? A series of contemporary artists, technologists, and thinkers will attempt to formulate a response and encourage debate about issues that matter now and in the future.

Talks

TALKS

Will the future be better or worse because of technology and how is this changing the nature of our lives? Should machines be regarded as mere instruments serving human creativity, or as equal collaborators? What vision of the good life compels us and how can we commit to it for a better future?

Thursday, November 2  POINT ART HUB

Speakers

ABBY ROSE  Tech for Good Global

Abby Rose is a physicist farmer who thinks ecological farming is the key to a resilient future. Abby started her twenties with a Masters in Physics but found academia too restrictive so took herself on polymath adventures so she could pursue science in other ways. She was one of the co-founders of Tech for Good Global, shining a light on the people and technology making our world better. She quickly transitioned into developing tech for good herself as she realised she could use her tech skills to help independent farmers, starting with her family’s farm at Vidacycle in Chile. Abby developed the Vidacycle tech apps to use on the farm to collect important data out in the field and now they are used by farmers on multiple continents. To support the farming community Abby co-creates an award-winning monthly podcast Farmerama Radio which shares the voices of independent farmers and is part of the OurfieldProject founding team: where 40 people co-farm a field of grain outside of London, so everyone can learn what’s really behind a bag of flour. She believes that through shared experiences like these we can transform the narratives of our food and the earth.

STEFAN TIRON  The Space Agency for Nocturnal Journeys to the Origins of the Universe

Stefan Tiron is an artist living and working between Bucharest and Berlin. He is the founder and co-curator of The Space Agency for Nocturnal Journeys to the Origins of the Universe, a series of art and science wonder-shows taking place in galleries, regional natural history museums, universities, private homes and former clinics. Co-founder of Art‐Leaks, a collective platform initiated by an international group of artists, curators, art historians and intellectuals in response to the abuse of their professional integrity and the open infraction of their labor rights.

MARIA GUTA  Artist and Director of Programming WVRF

Maria Guta was born in Bucharest, Romania, where she made her practice in fields such as visual communication, art direction and fine arts. She moved to Switzerland in 2010 and in 2015 she completed a Master`s degree in Art Direction and Photography at ECAL (Lausanne).

Attracted by identity-related topics, she explores the human desire for cyberself-optimisation and the capacity of building virtual selves as alternative, upgraded identities. Using at first photography as main medium, she often places herself both behind and in front of the camera as a manner of exploring the phenomenon of self-representation today. Seeing it as an extension of both cyberspace and “real” world, her work has opened up to new tools and horizons with VR.

She is currently researching and developing personal projects in virtual reality, while working as Director of Programming for the World VR Forum, an international organisation dedicated to VR/AR and based in Geneva.

RACHEL UWA  School of Machines, Making and Make Believe

School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe was founded by Rachel Uwa. Rachel is an artist, educator, and organiser whose background is in audio engineering and vfx compositing. Over the past 15+ years she’s lived in and organized social justice and tech communities and events big and small. She feels compelled to help bring these two worlds together and make the tech world less daunting and more diverse, inclusive, thoughtful, and fun. Rachel’s biggest desire is to see people living the lives they dream of living rather than the one they feel they ought to. If that dream life is more artistic, creative, socially-engaged, technology-embracing and connects humans to each other and to themselves, well, all the better.

CONSTANTIN VICA  Research Centre in Applied Ethics, University of Bucharest

Constantin Vică is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and researcher at the Research Centre in Applied Ethics, University of Bucharest. His main fields of interest are computer and information ethics, roboethics, philosophy of computer science, social and political philosophy, and the critique of intellectual property. He published several articles and studies on information and ownership, intelligent assistive technologies, online trust, web search engines ethics, digital dialectics, pirate politics, evolution of programming languages, and free software, authorship and intellectual property.

DJ Set

Orbita Lacustra is a collective looking to uncover obscure sounds from the electronic spectrum. Their ongoing research is based around the historical influence of technology on music production, with a focus on forms of mistake, glitch and dissonance as an engine for musical innovation. They recently shared the stage with artists like Chee Shimizu, Vladimir Ivkovic, Young Marco, Don’t DJ and As Longitude

Moderators

IOANA CALEN

Born in 1983, Ioana Calen has a philosophy degree, journalistic experience and a passion for the intersection of art, technology and the world. She is co-founder of Modulab, an all-media trans-disciplinary lab that uses science and technology as semiotic vectors in different contexts such as art, documentary exhibitions and creative industries applications, with special focus on research and development. Since 2012 she curates the activity of the lab which encompases Romanian Stand at Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012, the first interactive installations exhibition in Romania (MNAC, 2013), numerous collaborative and transdisciplinary workshops and exhibitions and world-wide innovations in terms of technological creative applications. She is the founder of Modulab Interaction Series, an annual project that gathers different practices and formats experimenting with art, technology and science and the founder and director of Liminal.

CATALINA BOLOZAN 

Catalina Bolozan is a project curator and content creator, curiously exploring unmapped territories at the intersection of art, science and technology. 

Her passion for transdiciplinarity emerged in London where she lived for several years, cultivating a broad range of artistic pursuits: she was a participant in These associations by Tino Sehgal, at Tate Modern and in Pedro Reyes’s SANATORIUM, at Whitechapel Gallery. She co-curated Inner City Ooz, King Krule and Mistr Gone’s first visual art exhibition and profiled Bryan Ferry for a lifestyle magazine.

Lately her work has focused on researching and documenting artistic frameworks that blur the boundaries between disciplines. Catalina is the curator of this year’s edition of Liminal. 

CRISTINA BOGDAN

Cristina Bogdan is an independent curator, writer and researcher. Born and bred in Bucharest, educated in Paris, hardened in London. She is online editor of Revista ARTA and runs ODD, a curatorial and educational platform in Bucharest. She edited the first Liminal publication, Mindcraft Stories: The Good Life.

Exhibition

EXHIBITION

Device art, critical-making, speculative design, art made with code, immersive installations, designed fictions… Freed from the confines of all art history narratives but underpinned by solid research the projects featured in this exhibition are personal enquiries into the myriad ways technology is reframing our ideas about what it means to he a human, or a society in post-human times.

Whimsical, ingenious, engaged and critical they are pursuing the unpredictable, nudging us to always question and challenge the common, prevalent means of engaging with technology.

Opening night – Tuesday, October 31 Palatul Cantacuzino The exhibition will reopen November 6-12

Modulab is a Bucharest-based multi-disciplinary platform that promotes research and development of new means of expressivity through technology. www.modulab.ro

Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu is a digital storyteller investigating the relationship between technology, nature and the future. He is the Creative Director at Neutral Digital, a leading UK agency that specialises in AR, VR and other immersive interactive solutions. As a leading expert in Timebased Media & Digital Storytelling and following GravityONE, his critically acclaimed Choreography for Militarised Airspace, his work has been exhibited in the UK, USA, Australia, Japan and Europe. Trained as an architect, Oliviu runs the AA’s Motion Studio, previously teaching and running workshops in the USA, Canada and Europe. www.olgv.net

Garnet Hertz is Canada Research Chair in Design and Media Arts and is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Design and Dynamic Media at Emily Carr University, in Vamcouver, CA. His art and research investigate DIY culture, electronic art and critical design practices. He is the founder of The Studio for Critical Making at Emily Carr University, a research facility that explores how humanities-based modes of critical inquiry – like the arts and ethics – can be directly applied to building more engaging product concepts and information technologies. The lab works to replace the traditional engineering goals of efficiency, speed, or usability with more complex cultural, social, and human-oriented values. The end result is technology that is more culturally relevant, socially engaged, and personalized. Garnet Hertz has shown his work at several notable international venues including SIGGRAPH, Ars Electronica, and DEAF and was awarded the 2008 Oscar Signorini Award in robotic art. www.conceptlab.com

Alan Brown is an Edinburgh-based visual artist working with audio, moving image and technology. He create installations and device art which explore themes around communication, control and power. His work is often informed by current news and media. Much of his practice involves modifying existing objects and technology, such as telephones, bank cards and CCTV, to function in altered or unexpected ways. By using everyday objects he hopes to raise critical questions about how we use technology, exchange information and relate with one another. So far his work has been exhibited at Sanctuary and in the National Museum of Scotland’s Grand Gallery, among others. In April 2014 he performed at the Edinburgh International Science Festival using modified electronic musical devices. www.9voltproject.com

Nita Mocanu is a visual artist whose works are a combination of video art, video performance, text and photography. Her works are constructed around the way in which people take action in various situations (from small gestures to large-scale actions to doing nothing), being influenced by language, the perception of the self and the way people represent to themselves the world in general, but also other factors that exceed human control/understanding. www.nitamocanu.ro

Marius Stoica is a philosophy graduate whose projects are situated at the intersection of contemporary philosophy, contemporary art and information technology. In 2016 he started the project etho.tk, which aims to express through a variety of artistic approaches (installation, video performance, netart) a set of philosophical ideas circumscribed to speculative realism and orbiting around the concept of etho-tecture (the invisible ways of communication, beaten and well-worn within the networks / assemblages of things, beings and entities). www.etho.tk

Very Very Far Away (VVFA) is a large scale collaborative investigation started by Andrew Friend and Sitraka Rakotoniaina  with Jasmin Blasco in 2015. The project consists of a Podcast series, Workshops and a range of special Projects, using space as a lens to re-ignite future ideologies and question what it means to be Very Very Far Away. VVFA uses co-enquiries as a method for engaging people in the development of new speculative narratives, exploring the ethics and values inherent within new and emerging technologies. Using world creation as a narrative medium they collectively imagine scenarios addressing current developments in space exploration / exploitation, and the social, cultural, political and/or economic tensions this may create. Co-enquiries have been hosted by public and academic institutions across europe, including: Space – Art and Technology (London UK), Central St Martins (London UK), ENSCI les Ateliers (Paris FR), School of MA (Berlin DE), Officine Arduino (Turin IT), The University of North Western Switzerland (Basel CH). www.vvfa.space

Hackaton

HACKATON

Terraforming of a planet, moon, or other body is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying its atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology to be similar to the environment of Earth to make it habitable by Earth-like life.

Gathering all species from the maker geekdom, our hackathon addressed some of the initial challenges in terraforming a planet such as Mars.

Five teams competed in a 48h session to solve computational, biological and psychological issues humanity may face in an extraterrestrial environment.

Bee++ is a RaspberryPi hack developed by Ana Maria Cirjan that takes the role of a bee in the harsh Martian environment, where crops could be mainly constituted of Solanum tuberosum – common potato plant. Using a neural network that specifically recognizes the flowers of the plant, Bee++ is responsible for the pollination process by emitting a series of 270 Hz vibrations.

Smartscope is a pre-exploratory solution provided by Paul Andrei Bricman and Ion Orins, a neural network trained to classify the images acquired with a microscope or telescope in the early stages of the terraforming process.

Mars rover was carefully designed by Marius Constantin Trifu and Radu Andrei Cioaca in order to be autonomous in foreign environments. Based on an IR orientation system, the rover has a specific behavior towards reaching its target and is able to collect various datasets until the end of its journey – temperatures, air humidity values, light intensity.

MarShell is a living home concept designed for the pioneers of the terraforming process that redefines the meaning of a good life and entirely adapts to the needs of its inhabitants. Organically growing from a small population of genetically engineered bacteria, resistant to Martian stress factors, the living space can modify its size and configuration by interacting with its owners.

Tina is a smart LED curtain developed by Ioana Avram and Daniel Ghilinta as a solution for the psychological changes induced by the martian illumination. Since the poor atmosphere is associated with a different set of filters than Earth’s case, variations in light color and intensity can be hardcoded in LED patterns to achieve complementary effects.

Publication

PUBLICATION

Mindcraft Stories – The Good Life Issue is Liminal’s associated publication, a glossy and culturally rich contemporary lifestyle magazine.

Having all the famous sections of a notorious publication (editor’s pick, readers’ corner, pictorial, confession, essay, interview, recipe, horoscope and quizz), the issue is meant as a guide to its readers in living the best possible life. In between lines, unfamiliar ideas, odd references, subversive quotes and troubling comments unfold. How do you react when your guide questions your existential choices? The publication was coordinated by Cristina Bogdan, art critic and founder of art space ODD.

SPECIAL EVENTS

SPECIAL EVENTS

The Good Life Dinner – Developed with WeDine & Fix Botanical Bar; soundscape by Alexandru Pantazica (Orbita Lacustra)

Replacing the kitchen with a laboratory, The Good Life Dinner was a unique culinary event where chefs were doubled by scientists, artists and philosophers in an attempt to rethink and reconfigure our eating habits.

The future of food and culinary innovation is yet to be reached – entomological gastronomy becomes obsolete as the need for sustainable and durable alternatives increases. We think that post-food can be discovered in unfamiliar spaces, where ingredients still conserve their seasonal and local characteristics. A nutritive failure such as lichen can be therefore transformed in a secret ingredient, with the right mindset.

Taking as starting point cooking principles and techniques that underpin the future of food such as waste, fermentation and the rediscovery of previously unexploited ingredients, we developed a multisensory dining experience that aimed to show what a sustainable dinner could look, taste and sound like in the not-so-distant future.

TEAM

TEAM

Liminal’s crossdisciplinary team consists of: philosophers, curators, technologists, scientists, experience designers, researchers, herbalists, all connected by a genuine interest in hybrid forms of expressions at the confluence of art, science and technology.

The Good Life, Imagining scenarios for a better future was imagined, framed and produced by:

Ioana Calen, Cătălina Bolozan, Cristina Bogdan, Paul Popescu, Matei Popescu, Alex Ciomartan, Alexandru Pantazica, Sînziana Boaru, Leona Chițoiu, Ana Cârlan, Tudor Vlăsceanu, Andra Băltoiu, Otilia Mihalcea, Radu Manelici.

Partners