Conceptualized and organized by George Fifield, the Boston Cyberarts Festival is an electo-digital fine arts festival “dedicated to the presentation and exploration of artists working with new technologies.” Click here to visit the Boston CyberArts Flickr Photostream.
The 2009 Boston CyberArts Festival
An Interview with George Fifield
Hi George, welcome to AD Mag
Thanks Max, it’s my pleasure
So this year celebrates another Boston CyberArts?
Yes, that’s right.
And how long has it been going on?
Well this year marks the 10th Anniversary of the festival. And since the festival is a biennial (held in alternate years) the 2009 festival marks the 6th of its kind.
That’s impressive, that a [digital] new media arts festival has had such continued success for more than a decade now.
Yes, but your see, Boston has for many years been at the forefront of new technology. Most people know of MIT, which of course is well-respected in the science and technology fields, but the Greater Boston area was also the place for the first “art television” experiment (experience) called the New Television Workshop.
Really, all those years back! That’s before I was born!
But there’s more, because from the first show, Media and Medium, the Paik Abe synthesizer was used to create the first artistic video distortions. This then paved the way for what would be the first “virtual reality” interactive computer installation; an exhibition in 1993 called “The Computer is not Sorry.”
Amazing. Truly, this is a lesson in history. But sticking with your event, I’m not sure, but it appears to be a group of events? So my next question is, how or why did the Boston CyberArts come into existence and what’s it’s structure…how’s it organized?
As it’s founder, I created the Boston CyberArts festival to celebrate the history of the New Television Workshop; also acknowledging the overall legacy of new media in Massachusetts…in Boston. The organization serves in two distinct capacities. The first is that it is an exercise in collaboration between many, many arts organizations; . The second opportunity that the festival presents is that it’s a place where all mediums are celebrated and appreciated. In other words, this is not just about computer based art, it’s ALL new media, from the performing arts, literary arts, digital prints and everything in between.
That’s an interesting phenomena in the new (art) technology realm. You serve a lot of people.
Yes we’re an umbrella organization. We do the organizing and set the tone and theme. Each year, we have a different theme. For instance, this year our theme is virtual reality. As a result, an exhibit will be going on over at Second Life, the virtual reality world. It’s called “Traversing Sweet Reality.”
I’ll be sure to check that out. And lastly, could you tell me about the Children of Arcadia. I saw that piece on your site. It’s very interesting.
Yes, that one seems to be drawing a lot of attention. The Children of Arcadia is a virtual reality of a the Wall Street area in NYC. It’s a sequence of moving images that respond to the current financial situation. If the markets are faring well, the video shows a beautiful scene, clear skies and all. But when the markets go sour, it’s a different story. The buildings crumble and the streets rip themselves apart.
Well, I think it’s a wonderful piece…very dramatic. And with that, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
You’re welcome, glad to be here.
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