ISEA2014, the 20th International Symposium on Electronic Art, was memorable. The plethora of workshops, lectures, exhibitions, performances and other events realized during ISEA2014 generated a wide range of discussions, observations and results that for some were life changing. The main intention was for ISEA2014 to build bridges — for new ideas and encounters to dispel cultural myths and exaggerations while facilitating learning and also inspiring future interactions. While capturing highlights of the symposium, it is also important to include emerging artistic practices, both locally as well as in the larger scope of the Arab world.
How do we define location? And how can we respond to that? This was core to the ISEA2014’s over-arching theme of ‘Location,’ that references the nature of where the UAE positions itself. ‘Location’ bridges nationalities, mega-projects, architectural expectations, impact of development and more. ‘Location’ in the 21st century moves from the physical to the virtual, where today virtual realities help to enforce physical places. Meanwhile traditional craft has incorporated and even integrated technological innovation.
ISEA was established in 1988 and since then has manifested its symposia in over 20 cities around the world. The symposium consists of a peer-reviewed conference, a series of exhibitions as well as various partner events. Typically, the artistic platforms range from large-scale interactive artwork in public space to cutting-edge electronic sound and performance.
Janet Bellotto, Zayed University, Dubai, AE
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