Event:Electrosmog Festival (Amsterdam, March 18-20)

International Festival for Sustainable Immobility


March 18 – 20, 2010


ElectroSmog is a new festival that revolves around the concept Sustainable Immobility. The festival will introduce and explore this concept in theory and practice. With Sustainable Immobility we refer to a critique of current systems of hyper mobility of people and products in travel and transport, and their ecological unsustainability.

The exploration of Sustainable Immobility is a quest for a more sustainable life style, which is less determined by speed and constant mobility. A lifestyle that celebrates stronger links to local cultures, while at the same time deepening our connections to others across any geographical divide, using new communication technologies instead of physical travel .

What we propose may sound a bit like a paradox: The proposition of the festival is that the unfolding crisis of mobility can only be effectively addressed by deepening our connections across geographical divides through new communication technologies. The festival wants to engage the fundamental promise of the information age that communication technologies can replace the need for physical mobility, and thus both contribute to ecological stability as well as a more rewarding both deep-local and translocal life-style. While this promise has existed since the dawn of the information age, it was never realised. New material realties, however, force us to critically re-examine these promises and seriously start to turn them into viable choices.

Nothing is self-evident for us. We will also critically question the underlying premise that reliance on electronic connections and local roots is self-evidently more energy efficient and more ecologically sustainable than current systems of globalised mobility of people and goods.

Is ‘going local’ the only solution?

What are the true energy costs and environmental and health hazards of using even more electronic technologies (increased levels of electrosmog)?

How can remote connections become a truly rewarding experience in and of themselves?

We believe that only by answering such questions a viable alternative to the current unsustainable systems of hyper-mobility can be found.

Bringing together a broad coalition

The ElectroSmog festival brings together a broad coalition of designers, environmentalists, urban and spatial planners, technologists, artists, theorists, and engaged and concerned citizens, to explore and ‘design’ sustainable immobility. The festival stakes its claim for a radical break with the current systems of hyper-mobility not simply by discussing the issue, but by actually implementing it. To achieve this the very concept of an international festival and its traditional conventions need to be rethought and redesigned from the ground up.

Connecting the local off-line local with the international on-line

ElectroSmog is a truly international festival, with everything you might expect of such a festival: international debates and discussions, performances, art projects, exhibits, site specific projects, screenings, design competitions, and much more. However, no presenter will travel beyond their local or regional boundaries to participate in this event.
To achieve this we will work together in a network of accomplished cultural and new media centres, labs, theatres and other public venues to create the local ‘hubs’ that will inter-connect for this unique festival.

A crucial dimension of the festival will be its on-line presence, where audiences from basically anywhere with an internet connection can follow events on-line, join in discussions and debates, and contribute to the program.

Beyond the broadband enclaves

ElectroSmog acknowledges from the start that bandwidth is not equally distributed across and within societies. Therefore remote connection to lower bandwidth spaces, do-it-yourself telematics, and information technologies for the majority world will be one the central concerns the festival wishes to address, again both in theory and in practice.

Thematic discussions, presentations and connected debates

The ElectroSmog festival-program is organised around a series of interlocking thematic programs, connected discussions and debates all transmitted live over the internet. Themes covered by these events include:
• Global views on the crisis of mobility
• Witnessed Presence
• Hyper-mobility and the urban condition
• City & regional branding debate
• e-mobility versus immobility
• Designing for (im-)mobility
• Public media art projects and sustainability
• Energy and information
• ElectroSmog is Good for You!
• Food and global mobility
• Deep local and remote technologies

Around the main program a host of satellite events is organised locally and translocally.

These include:

• Art projects and local interventions, including original works by Bureau des Etudes, Karen Lancel & Hermen Maat, John Cohns, Sean Kerr, Kevin McCourt & Bartolo Luque, and others.

• Special events, screenings, book launches, and more.

• A program of connected and localised workshops

• On-line projects and environments designed specifically for the festival.


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