Ars Electronica 2005: Hybrid, living in paradox


book – Hatje Cantz – ISBN 3775716599
The hybrid as symbol of evolutionary change was used as the main theme of Ars Electronica 2005, subdivided into the ‘cultures’, ‘politics’, ‘ecologies’ and ‘creatures’ sections. Hybridization is a recurring theme these days, but, once it’s abstracted, as was here, merely corresponds to a contamination of languages, something that has already happened for a long time in any cultural milieu, and that often ends in the cyborg loop without being able to produce a new and freeing vision that gives birth to new processes. This abstraction, in times of transition like ours, can therefore be filled with the most varied contents (from De Kerkhove’s theoretical convolutions to the pictures of adolescents toting weapons from the videogame Half Life made by AES+F Group), all legitimately taking their inspiration from an idea of transformation which is undoubtely in progress, but would deserve better analytical and synthetical tools. On the other hand, this way, the generalistic identity of a huge festival like this is kept coherent by inglobating every possibility in an all-embracing frame, following a not very positive tradition which began as far back as five years ago. Is this the fate of big festivals, embracing extra-wide themes to survive? If this is the case, with all the forecasted developments made possible by a pharaonic fund (a new Ars Electronica Center worth 25 million euros and the designation of Linz as European Culture Capital for 2009), the future doesn’t look so interesting.