Frankfurt’s 2019 THE ARTS+ Focuses on ‘The Future of Culture’

In News by Porter Anderson

In its fourth year, Frankfurt’s technology-and-culture programming called THE ARTS+ returns in a new partnership with B3, the Biennial of the Moving Image.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘New Business With Creative Content’
Never afraid of big topics, organizers of Frankfurter Buchmesse’s program called THE ARTS+ this year have chosen “The Future of Culture” as their theme in a program that includes at least five conferences. They’re announcing programming details today (August 27).

Frankfurt runs October 16 to 20 this year, and THE ARTS+ is a kind of festival-within-the-festival that looks at issues in technology and the arts.

As mentioned in our report on the #CreateYourRevolution campaign, Biennale des bewegten Bildes,the B3 Biennial of the Moving Image—an event organized by Offenbach University of Art and Design—is partnering this year with the Frankfurt program, meaning that at times you’ll see an an even longer all-caps branding phrase for the series: THE ARTS+ /B3.

In its fourth year, the program this year will be opened by its founding Frankfurt executive Holger Volland and Bernd Kracke, president of Offenbach University (and artistic director of B3) on Frankfurt Wednesday, October 16. They’ll be involved in an opening panel called “Shifting Realities and Desirable Futures.”

Holger Volland. Image: Bernd Hartung

In a prepared statement, Volland is quoted, saying, “Digitization has shattered the boundaries between media formats and industries. And that has set free an incredible potential for new business with creative content.

“Artists and media professionals have been given new tools with which to express themselves artistically and innovatively, but they’re also increasingly pointing out the dangers and the problems—and we’re bringing these people together at THE ARTS+/B3.”

Event Highlights

A good way to start understanding the busy programming for THE ARTS+ is to follow its many conferences. The programs are set in Hall 4.1 and easily spotted by the pink light that dominates the area.

  • THE ARTS+ Conference on Wednesday, October 16 is titled “New Rules for Business: Revolutionizing the Cultural Economy.” It’s expected, according to media messaging, to look at “innovative approaches and strategies that have been developed and implemented by cultural institutions and organizations, and by creative tech startups.” Speakers include Cleo Schoeps of UBS; Diane Drubay of “We Are Museums”; and Francesca Polo of Vastari.
  • THE ARTS+ Conference on Thursday, October 17 is titled “Beyond the Cover: Pushing the Boundaries of Publishing Through Collaboration.” The goal in this one is described as having people from the book industry and related creative sectors present “highlights in the print and digital fields.” Speakers include: Elise by Olsen of Wallet magazine and artist Sheena Calvert.
  • Also on Thursday, the Börsenverein Group is to host “THE ARTS+ European Innovation Day.” This is a follow-up event to last year’s Innovation Summit. This year’s Innovation Day is intended to build on the “European Manifesto on Supporting Innovation for Culture and Creative Sectors,” which was developed and published in 2018 by 14 European partners. This year, the main focus is on finding a common agenda for innovation in order to pool the voices of Europe’s cultural and creative industries.
  • THE ARTS+ Conference on Friday, October 18 is titled “Power to the People. How Technology can Facilitate Access to Culture and Empower Audiences.” This one is intended to consider how “new technologies have the potential to democratize knowledge, education and culture.” Speakers are to include Jessica and Evrim Oralkan, the founders of Collecteurs.
Shadu and Friends

As we reported earlier this month, the book-to-screen development event is on Friday, the networking day for publishing and industry attendees, A Book Is a Film Is a Game, and it returns this year with Quirin Berg, producer of the 2006 Academy Award-nominated The Lives of Others, on hand.

Another THE ARTS+ Conference on Friday is the program’s second “Creative AI” event, and it features the computer-generated image known as Shadu. Its creator, Cameron-James Wilson, is to be on hand, and he is the one who has dubbed his own creation, “the world’s first digital supermodel.”

Arielle Duhaime Ross’ article at Vice will help you catch up on this, in case Shadu has somehow digitally slipped past you. As Duhaime-Ross writes with some caution, “Brands ‘hire’ [Shadu] to represent them, much like a standard, living model. … Without a personality, it’s unclear how long she’ll hold fans’ attention.”

The AI conference in which Wilson is participating is titled Faking Culture: The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Technologies in Art.” Speakers joining Wilson are to include digital film producer Karen Palmer; Roberto Zicari of the Goethe University Frankfurt; Digital Humanism author Natalie Weidenfeld; Kenza Ait Si Abbou Lyadini of Deutsche Telekom; and Francesca Rossi of the IBM AI Ethics program.

B3’s Exhibition at THE ARTS+

At The Arts+ 2018. Image: FBM, Niklas Goerke

As in the past, an exhibition will be central to THE ARTS+ and this is where B3 comes into play. Participants in its show, called “Realities,” are to include the US-based producing arts group 3-Legged Dog; American performer Lena Chen; and Chinese artist Fei Jun, with an interactive installation. There’s also to be a virtual-reality park with 20 world, European, and German premieres, as well as a “moving image park” with video art and short films are integrated into the leading exhibition.

B3 has a conference, too, and it’s called “Revolution, Innovation, and Realities,” with a focus on “financing and creativity or the influence of XR technologies on moving image narration.”

In his statement for the media today, Offenbach University’s Kracke is quoted, saying, “The world is going through great upheavals in many areas—technical, political, and artistic. Our overarching theme, ‘Realities’, demonstrates this in many different ways, and it will also be reflected in the contributions of our festival attendees. Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing (media) society, creative people of all stripes increasingly have to face up to the prevailing political and economic conditions.”

More about THE ARTS+ is here. More about the B3 Biennale of the Moving Image is here. And ticketing information is here.

More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and more from us on books to screen is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.