Arts, Culture, and Digital Transformation Summit

Day 1: The Big Horizon

The Arts, Culture, and Digital Transformation Summit at Banff Centre explores four key areas, evolving from the expansive to the practical over three days. disruption. ideas. art. (AX)pectations.

We live in an era of self-driving car crashes, rigged elections, post-truth media, and the biggest wealth gap in history. Wasn’t technology supposed to be good?

Today, we explore the breaking dream through the lens of big data, emerging digital identities, and the perspective of Indigenous practitioners.

Day 1 – Morning
Keynote: Calibrating the Disruption

Uncertainty surrounding the depth of digital disruption makes us question whether we have new tools for the same ends, or if something far deeper is at work. As technology infiltrates the many corners of our lives, diagnosing our digital disruption becomes a pressing concern. Hear one of the world’s sought-after thinkers contemplate our rapidly digitizing existence.

Day 1 – Afternoon
Launchpad Discussion: AI, Reality, and Ethics

The keynote address will be immediately followed by an interview between the keynote speaker and a member of the summit leadership team, weaving questions pertaining to summit themes prevalent to days two and three into a conversation spanning global views, artistic practice, and audience experience.

The morning will conclude with a general Q&A discussion with the audience, as well as conversations facilitated through smaller group discussions.

Nothing has come to represent our digital anxieties like artificial intelligence. Is this the robot apocalypse or the tool we’ve been dreaming of since we first tamed fire? This session explores AI – how it works, how it replicates and revolutionizes our real worlds, the ethical challenges it raises, and the implication of agency that arises for all humans except a very select few.

Panel: Agency and Voice in Response to a Digitized World

Presentation: Being Online Identity, digital identity, and the forces that shape (and own) us online

Panel: Ideas into Practice

We all live online in ever-increasing ways – from those without internet access existing as mere statistics, to those whose material and existential purposes are inseparable from online platforms. How are we defining our digital identity versus our ‘other’ identity, what are the forces shaping digital identity, and how do they differ from more traditional contexts in which our identities emerge?

The offline world has been proficient at marginalization, oppression, and exclusion. In exploring the question of marginalization and the digital world, we ask whether the digital world is replicating or magnifying our past, or if it can offer unique agency to marginalized voices to escape this pattern.

The sprawling ideas, anxieties, and possibilities addressed over day one find their way into artistic practice. Three leading practitioners from around the world carry us into the wild world of art-making in a digital world. Join our guest artists in an exploration of how these expansive themes find unique platforms in digital creation.

Day 2: The Practical Work

Day 2 – Morning
Keynote: Making Art in a Digital World

As governments the world over transform arts policy and funding mechanisms for digital life, we contemplate the ideas and assumptions that lie behind this transformation. A surprisingly long history of digital arts in Canada informs our understanding of where we are on the continuum, how we fare globally, and where our future lies.

Launchpad Discussion: Understanding it, Affording it, Building it, and Getting it to Work

The perspective of artistic practice has sometimes struggled to make it into our digital strategy discussions. In moving our practices into emerging spaces, we illuminate key challenges and opportunities associated with making the often-not-so-magic leap.

Day 2 – Afternoon
Panel: Industries Colliding or Cross-Sector Collaboration Panel: Systems Change – Digital disruption and funding development, a global view Presentations: Practitioner Pecha Kucha

From the creation of the Banff New Media Institute, we go on a journey through the decades-long history of Canadian digital art, from major multi-million dollar explorations to small scale brilliance. This presentation covers failed experimentation, happy accidents, and game-changers that shifted the horizons of digital art practice.

Learn about best practices and worst nightmares. Follow the developmental path of a theatre artist, director, and dramaturge who shares the often-humbling insights of creating new work amidst the rapid proliferation of digital affordances.

Countries around the world are experimenting with new approaches to policy to keep up with digital disruption and, ideally, to get ahead of the curve. Starting from the viewpoint that keeping up requires concerted efforts among policy-makers, funders, and practitioners, this panel will explore the design and impact of recent policy and funding approaches in Canada, the U.K., and Europe.

The swift tide of cognitive habituation and ‘novelty malaise’ in the digital age is daunting, especially for small and mid-scale players who can’t afford to invent new platforms and forms with every project. This panel explores the challenges in bridging the divide between the creative industries, as gaming and tech advancements provide tantalizing and challenging opportunities that don’t always align with the culture and constraints of Canadian arts practices.

Day 3 – Morning
Presentation: What is a ‘Good’ Audience and When Are They Not?

20 images. 20 seconds. Hear from an array of artists who have braved the worlds of digital transformation, bringing the challenges and opportunities of digital art making into their own practice.

Presentation: AR, VR, MR, and the Fluidity of Reality in Digital Arts Practices

Day 3: Great (AX)pections

Panel: The Interacting Audience

Digital landscapes are changing our audiences, their preferences, their patterns and their expectations. Online streaming, shifting artistic forms, and AI management of information systems are producing urgencies and rapidly evolving questions when it comes to our relationships with and understanding of audiences.

Panel: Incubating Infrastructure

The structure of the Arts, Culture, and Digital Transformation Summit is designed to maximize emergent ideas and dialogue and employ strategies to capture salient themes throughout. The final day includes a yet-unprogrammed session, allowing us to workshop priorities as determined by you, the summit participant.

Day 3 – Afternoon
Panel: Creative Technologies Beyond the Screen

Digital disruption doesn’t just mean new things for artists to learn, but the audience as well. New modes of expression mean new roles for the audience to play, and new skills needed to play them. What are the implications of this fluid reality for audience engagement and the development and dramaturgy of new work?

Panel: Discoverability

This session explores the evolution of the audience experience through work that is curated, location-specific, and features interactive prototypes proposing audience interactions with emerging technologies in augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality encounters.

Closing: The Way Forward

This panel explores themes of audience interactivity, authentic invitation, high-risk versus low-risk interactivity, directed versus self-directed interactivity, and laying out the rules of engagement.

Exploring the infrastructure response to our digital curiosities, this panel discusses how to optimize the technical and human resource dimensions of our facilities in order to incubate efficient and adventurous experimental processes. The panel will highlight best practices from Canada, the U.K., and Europe as we look to see what’s missing in the Canadian landscape and how we might fill that gap.

While always a component of digital innovation, the pace at which creative technologies are extending beyond the screen-based world is accelerating, impacting design, fashion, performance, and production. This panel will explore how novel software and hardware, including advanced robotics, manufacturing technologies, projection, sensing, AI, and mixed realities impact the creative sector. In particular, the panel will focus on how these techniques are part of an ever-evolving relationship with audiences.

As machine-learning becomes an essential go-between for humans and their worlds, ensuring compatibility and coherence of metadata strategies requires significant overhaul of current marketing, promotion, and classification practices. How do we lead such a process in order to keep Canadian arts visible and thriving in a digital world?

The goal of this summit is to inspire dialogue amongst a gathering of esteemed colleagues and artists across the three days, which will uncover and identify emergent themes, and highlight critical areas of discourse that remain urgent. These elements will be brought forward as a means of ratifying outcomes and focusing on opportunities for spin-off workshops and gatherings.


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