By Nathan Walters, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The third edition of the Circo Digital Festival arrives at the legendary venue Circo Voador in Lapa on June 21st thru the 24th, one of many Rio+20 events scheduled during these days. As with previous editions, the Digital Festival is focused on exploring the relationship of technology and art.
Comprised of eleven installations, workshops, audiovisual exhibitions, games, and fourteen live music performances over three days, the Circo Digital Festival provides an interactive forum where attendees can instantly be involved with the big questions of how technology will define the 21st Century.
The agenda for this edition of the festival is based on two basic concepts: one, how does the progression of technology work as a tool as for social involvement; two, how do developments in technology benefit the environment. Both are intended to push the dialogue on how art can provide solutions to the negative effects of technology on the environment.
“We envisioned an event that was focused on technology not just as entertainment but as a tool for social involvement,” states Gaby Morenah, the project coordinator for the festival.
“Even admission is based on this idea. We are asking attendees to bring a piece of recyclable electronics to the event. These items will be used both in the workshops and to provide technology to impoverished communities. By improving access to technology for these communities we help get everyone involved in social discussions, including the climate crisis.”
Eduarda ‘Duda’ Ribeiro, one of the curators of the event, mentioned the motivation behind this year’s digital festival: “We wanted to be very open-minded in our approach to these questions. To promote an interactive atmosphere where international attendees could openly discuss issues freely.”
The line-up for the event promotes an interactive and open forum for such dialogue. Workshops at the event, booked months in advance, include topics such as robotics, video-mapping, and sustainable energy. Installations at the festival will cover a broad range of issues including architecture, urban bicycling, and dance.
Many of the attending artists are also relying on technology to help realize the potential of the event; notably, Bicicletorama, which is relying on online crowd-funding (until June 18th) to help finance the group’s installation at the event.
In its third edition, the festival has evolved from a discussion on theory to a forum on action. “When we first started, there was a focus on debating the rules of technology, file sharing, etc. This year, with so many people traveling to Rio in the coming weeks, we thought this to be the best time to focus on sustainability.”
The importance of Circo Voador in the arts community of Rio cannot be understated. The venue, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, has a long tradition of promoting the best of what’s new.
For Morenah, Circo’s status in the community helps increase involvement in the issues that will be discussed at Rio+20 events like Circo Digital Festival. “Circo has a special dialogue between generations, there is a valuable wisdom in our tradition. It has always been a place for new art, new artists, the Digital Festival continues this and allows everyone to participate in that tradition.”
For more information on the festival visit the event website at festivalcircodigital.com