Singapore is pleased to host ISEA2008, the biennial marriage of art and digital culture which returns to Asia for the second time in its history. It is an exciting event that explores the prevailing challenges and possibilities of old and new technologies.
Singapore has likewise been boldly pushing the boundaries in this dynamic new media space through the Interactive and Digital Media (IDM) R&D Programme. Since its commencement in late 2006, the IDM R&D Programme Office (IDMPO), hosted by the Media Development Authority, together with its partner agencies, have been engaging all key stakeholders including the start-ups, industry players, Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and Research Institutes (RIs) as well as schools.
Within a year and half, a broad and interlocking web of initiatives has been established and some promising progress seen. For example, as of end May, 60% of the completed projects supported under the i.JAM (IDM Jumpstart and Mentor) initiative, which aims to seed grassroots efforts and ensure constant innovation in IDM, have received further private sector funding. We have also attracted world-leading industry and IHL partners including Lucasfilm, Ubisoft, MIT and Chinese Academy of Sciences. In total, IDMPO and agencies have supported some 200 IDM R&D projects in various areas especially in the focus areas of education, games and Co-Space, which is the nexus of real and virtual space, perhaps paving the way for the next generation web that will link spaces instead of just media objects.
These are exciting times in Singapore with more interaction between various disciplines than ever before, evident in the inter-disciplinary IDM centres in our IHLs. Events such as ISEA2008 also help to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and collaborative action, stretching our imagination and challenging us to use IDM to change the world for the better. I thank the Organising Committee for their vision and efforts. With more than 1000 participants including artists, academics, researchers and industry leaders, I am confident that there will be much to see and learn.
- Michael Yap, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) and Executive Director of the Interactive Digital Media R&D Programme Office.