Meet the curators, artists, and designers who are leveraging new technologies to reimagine cultural institutions, how art can impact our environments, and how culture can meet the needs of society in unexpected ways.

Thursday, April 25 Digifest Kick Off

This year’s conference begins with an appearance by award-winning information designer and artist, Giorgia Lupi. Lupi will discuss her work exploring Data Humanism.
Data Humanism
Humans have created a powerful relationship with data, but what information is left unseen when we strip information down to numbers? How can we make a real difference now that the ways we relate to information are evolving? How can data visualization design make data more meaningful? Giorgia Lupi will discuss her humanistic approach to data and jumpstart a new renaissance of opportunity. By questioning the impersonality of a merely technical approach to information, we can demand more from data and connect numbers to what they really tell us: our life stories.
Giorgia Lupi, Accurat Studio (Italy/USA)

Thursday, April 26

Brasilia: From Cursed City to Creative Hub | 2:00pm – 2:40pm

Created in 1960 as a modernist architectural landmark, Brasilia became the country’s symbol of bad politicians and corruption. After two generations, its population has already taken root and now seeks a new identity. Entrepreneurship, design, and food are among the industries most committed to this change, providing a new perspective to the city and its people.
Claudia El-moor, Eye Design

Curating Virtual Reality: Immersive Tech in the Exhibition Space | 3:00pm – 3:30pm

Tina will discuss her role as a curator and mediator between the audience and the artists dealing with alternate reality media and share her experience of organizing and curating VR exhibitions.
Tina Sauderländer, Radiance (Germany)

Critical Approaches to Virtual Reality | 3:30pm – 4:00pm

What can we learn from pioneering VR pieces by Canadian artists about embodiment and the politics of territory? This talk explores pioneering VR pieces by Canadian artists and engages with questions about embodiment, the politics of territory, location, and subjectivity in virtual reality.

Erandy Vergara, Eastern Bloc, (Montreal/Mexico)

Media Arts and the Creative City Panel | 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Norman White, Alex Mayhew, Nyla Innuksuk, and Guillaumit join moderator Patrick Tobin for a panel discussion on how innovative thinking in media practices today will shape our creative cities tomorrow. The City of Toronto recently received the UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts designation, learn how media arts is helping cities like Toronto be more creative and engaging more participation with the public in arts and culture.
Guillaumit, Graphic Designer
Nyla Innuksuk, Mixtape VR
Alex Mayhew, Impossible Things
Norman White, Artist

Moderated by Patrick Tobin, City of Toronto
This event is co-presented with the McLuhan Salons series, an initiative of the St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto.

Digital Media Pioneer Award | 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Join us in honouring Norman White as he receives the 2018 Digifest Digital Media Pioneer Award. With special appearances by former colleagues, artists, and alumni, we will celebrate all that Norman has done to push contemporary artistic landscape and technology forward in Toronto and beyond Canadian borders.
The Digital Pioneer Award recognizes outstanding Canadians who have made significant contributions to the field of digital media. They are a true trailblazer within technology and culture. By embracing the unknown and standing at the forefront of innovation, their work explores previously unimagined uses for emerging technologies.

Friday, April 27

Keynote | 10:00am-11:00am

Museums and Open Source What would happen if an arts institution decided to digitize their collection and offer it to the public, for free, without any barriers of use? The Rijksmuseum did. Lead by Linda Volkers, the choice to make their collection open source has already impacted the museum and creative industries immeasurably. Institutions like the Rijksmuseum have historically protected the images of their collections, but by flipping the script, and embracing a sharing culture, we can explore endless possibilities of creativity and collaboration. Linda Volkers, Rijksmuseum

Collectif MU | 3:00pm – 3:45 pm

The MU Collective is an artistic production office specializing in the fields of sound art, music and new media. Learn more about how media arts engages the public throughout Paris. Olivier Le Gal, Collectif MU (France)

Old Toronto Haunted Tour | 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Users will experience the ON FOOT App Beta featuring five spooky location based tour stops that will feature an audio/visual interactive experience including augmented reality. Led by Tristan Tiggeloven, Pop Sandbox

Saturday, April 28

Rijksmuseum and International Game Jam | 10:00am – 11:00am

Last October, students from the game program at the School of Design participated in the Where Video Games Meet Heritage International Game Jam in Milan, Italy.  Over a weekend, participants created video games incorporating art from collections in the Rijksmuseum. Ian Norton, Ubisoft Rashad Mohammed, Rockstar Games Zoë Elise Blackburn, Concept Artist Linda Volkers, Rijksmuseum Moderated by Mike Surya, Ubisoft Co-presented in conjunction with the Consulate General of Netherlands

Old Toronto Haunted Tour | 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Users will experience the ON FOOT App Beta featuring five spooky location based tour stops that will feature an audio/visual interactive experience including augmented reality. Led by Tristan Tiggeloven, Pop Sandbox

Project H.E.A.R.T.

Project H.E.A.R.T. is the code name for the Holographic Empathy Attack Robotics Team, a biosensor-driven virtual reality artwork. Visitors are invited to explore this virtual world through VR where you have to control a first person shooter’s emotions. Artwork is a collaborative project between Erin Gee and Alex Lee, and curated by Tina Sauerländer and Erandy Vergera.

Enter Me Tonight

Enter Me Tonight creates a VR environment engaged with issues on human reproduction, economy, biology, pornography ,and technology. In this virtual experience, the viewer will find themselves in the middle of seven cloned versions of the female fictional character DeNA. Artwork is created by Li Alin, and curated by Tina Sauerländer and Erandy Vergera.

New Media Art | Norman White

The Interactive Zone will highlight artwork by Norman White, Digifest 2018 Digital Pioneer Award Recipient. Norman is recognized as an early pioneer of electronic, machine and robotic art. He started his career as a painter and later shifted his practice to kinetic electronics in the late 1960s. He presented his first collection of new media work at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1969. His electronic work merges motion, sound, movement, and light.

ReBlink | Impossible Things

ReBlink provides a modern day recasting of the past. It is a digital intervention project that refreshes the traditional gallery viewing experience. Facilitated by augmented reality technology and shape recognition, established works of art are layered with an alternate re-imagining of the work.

On Foot | Pop Sandbox

Launching in the summer of 2018, On Foot Mobile App allows users to experience a range of fully immersive walking tours with rich interactive virtual and augmented reality (AR) elements. Watch the environment come to life right in front of your eyes and explore hidden secrets through AR, listen to stories in multiples languages, peer into the past with historial galleries, and visit inaccessible buildings through virtual tours.  

Furious Seas | Future Immersive

Driven by a desire to innovate and redefine creative entertainment, Future Immersive is an up-and-coming independent developer of high-end virtual reality games and experiences. Its first title, Furious Seas, is set for release in 2018. Participants will experience the VR pirate ship game through an Oculus Rift, and interact with elements such as the ship’’s wheel and cannons.

Blurred Spaces | Telescope Collective

Telescope Collective is committed to viewing the future through the lens of the human experience. Through events, immersive theatre, curation, and art projects, our aim is to explore how technology can be focused for the betterment of life. Our goal is not to predict what will be, it is to project what might be. Foresight design helps us to question and be more aware of the possible implications of our current choices on our impending future.

The Medium | McLuhan Salons

The Medium is a board game inspired by the innovative thinker Marshall McLuhan, one of the most charismatic and wide-ranging intellectuals of the twentieth century. This game illustrates McLuhan’s Laws of Media: four constant rules that govern all human innovations, including enhancing, obsolescing, retrieving, and reversal. This project is presented by Professor Paolo Granata and the Book and Media Studies students at the University of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College in partnership with the School of Design at George Brown College.

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