The Digital Hub, in partnership with Aisling Murray and with the support of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), are putting in place plans for a new international arts and technology festival for Ireland. Beta, which will take place across 4 days in November, is seeking to critically engage with technology’s impact on society through a combination of creativity, debate, and experimentation.
Beta will focus on a number of key themes which are dominating the technology discussion at present, including artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, data rights and sustainability. The festival has identified a need to bring together Ireland’s research and digital arts communities in order to foster a discussion about how the two disciplines can combine for the benefit of society.
Beta is led by Aisling Murray, a curator and creative producer with 15 years’ experience across exhibitions, festivals, literature, spoken word, theatre and dance. She most recently worked with the Goethe-Institut Irland in developing their Quantum Technology Art residency and curated the inaugural art and science stage at Electric Picnic funded by SFI. Prior to this she worked for Science Gallery Dublin where she produced national and international creative programmes converging art, science, technology and society.
Ultimately, the festival organisers are aiming to position Ireland as a leader in the intersection of art and technology programming in an audience-centred way to engage the public playfully and critically with new technologies. Beta will also include performances, discussion, workshops and a nighttime programme over the 4 days.
Beta has already confirmed a number of acclaimed artists to participate in this year’s festival including Libby Heaney, Leon Butler and Peter Power.
Two unique works have been commissioned to support the launch of Beta. Artist Leon Butler has imagined what the identity of a festival of art and technology could be and has generated a new font seen in the Beta logo. The final logo almost looks hand drawn or screen printed with beautifully imperfect edges – this intersection of cutting-edge technology and human creativity is exactly what Beta will explore with the festival.
Beta’s website, which launched today, features a new commission from artist and designer Farouk Alao. Specialising in 3D motion and web design, he has drawn inspiration from nature, his world, and human emotions. His vision explores the intersection of reality and imagination. The motion piece on Beta’s website, called the Beta cube, positions Beta as a centre point in which art, technology and creativity resolve and makes use of the unique font designed by Butler.
Beta is also launching a new international residency in partnership with transmediale in Berlin supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. Transmediale is one of the leading and longest running festivals for art and digital culture in Europe. The Beta x transmediale residency will bring together four artists from Ireland and Germany to explore critical perspectives on artificial intelligence and digital art. Taking place as a hybrid residency with 2 weeks online, 3 weeks in Dublin, Ireland and 3 weeks in Berlin, Germany, the residency programme will provide space, resources and mentorship to four artists to develop new artworks that generate new imaginaries around climate resilience and political polarisation.
Aisling Murray, Director of Beta, said:
“Beta has the potential to really put Ireland on the map in terms of the intersection of research, technology and digital arts. Each of these disciplines continues to grow from strength to strength, which is why it’s very timely that Beta is now coming to fruition. The Digital Hub are the ideal co-founder for this with their experience both creatively and with industry, I’m so grateful for their support and excited to create an anchor point in the year for the communities interested in these themes.. I’m hugely excited for what is going to be 4 days of immersive content, performance and discussion in Dublin 8. The Liberties is a really important aspect of this festival, steeped in history, culture and innovation it is the perfect meeting place for what we want Beta to symbolise.”
The Digital Hub has a strong track record in supporting digital technology industries, creative enterprises, and community learning programmes in Dublin 8 and beyond. Beta is aimed to be both the culmination of various activities within the Liberties campus, as well as a starting point for further discussion on how to make complex technologies more accessible to communities.
The Digital Hub and Aisling Murray are being supported in its preparations for Beta by SFI, The Arts Council, Project Arts Centre, Goethe Institut, Alliance Française, British Council, ADAPT Research Centre, and NCAD Gallery. More information: https://betafestival.ie/