ISEA2009: The Exhibition is a judicious arrangement that is a curated selection of the many successful peer reviewed proposals in the Art Projects category, submitted to the 15th International Symposium on Electronic Art in Belfast. The Exhibition features 66 works by approximately 75 artists from 25 countries. While the majority of works will be shown at the three primary venues in the city of Belfast: The Ormeau Baths Gallery (OBG); the Golden Thread Gallery (GTG) and at the University of Ulster Belfast campus (UUA), many works are cited at specific locations in Belfast, and a number of performances and interventions will be staged during the ISEA symposium at The Waterfront Hall. Both the OBG and GTG are leading contemporary art spaces in Northern Ireland while the UU gallery (in the atrium of the University’s new Belfast building) has been expanded significantly to accommodate The Exhibition.
The Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts began in 1988, when the First ISEA Symposium (FISEA), was held in Utrecht, Netherlands. ISEA was launched as a non profit, non commercial international organisation in 1990, with the specific mission ‘to foster interdisciplinary academic discourse and exchange, among culturally diverse organizations and individuals working with art, science and emerging technologies’. The peer review process for papers, panels and art projects has been an essential aspect of its’ structure since inception, and accounts for the prevailing number of contributions from artists and researchers from within the academic research and higher education environment. ISEA emerged when media art was still largely unknown in the fine art discourse. In Europe, video art festivals became popular international events in the 1980s; Ars Electronica emerged as a strong international sound and media art festival in 1987, in Linz, Austria; and SIGGRAPH was a major annual computer graphics forum in the United States. By the 1980s, SIGGRAPH already attracted more than 50,000 attendees, and although it featured a juried digital art show it was a major commercial product showcase, as well as industrial keynotes, panels and papers.
- Kathy Rae Huffman (US/DE), is curator for ISEA2009. Her current projects include Exchange and Evolution and exhibition for The Long Beach Museum of Art (2011–12), and curator for the EU project Transitland, with InterSpace, Sofia. Her research focuses around issues of female environments in the Internet, and the history of video, and artists’ television. She co-founded FACES, an international online community for women media artists (with Diana McCarty and Valie Djordjevic) in 1997. She was Visual Arts Director at Cornerhouse, Manchester from 2002–2008.
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