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Now in its 15th instalment at The Banff Centre, Interactive Screen is the Banff New Media Institute’s flagship new media event. Its category-busting gambit is to mix a world’s worth of media makers, thinkers, and movers around an open theme, and see what happens. This year’s Interactive Screen 1.0: Beautiful Lives looks at the way new media intersects with our aspirations and ambitions, individual or collective, convergent or contradictory, for the betterment of life. This follows directly on the theme of Interactive Screen 0.9: The Makers, which explored the idea of a “society of makers,” redefining the structures of cultural ownership through ground-up creative action.
Interactive Screen is about the relationships of the things and people that make new media exist. Participants delve into the creative, social, and economic impacts of media, technologies, and networks, but they also look at how makers interface with each other, as well as with various markets, audiences, and communities. Questioning the implicit values of new media and the constructs that surround its production, interpretation, and consumption, unearthing unsuspected potentialities, and sparking unexpected action are at the heart of the event.
At the end of every summer, in the extraordinary mountain setting of The Banff Centre, Interactive Screen proposes a week-long reflection on the social role of new media in Canada and around the world. Participants, who number around 60 every year, come from myriad horizons. Invited by the BNMI or travelling by their own means, they are artists, designers, technologists, writers, theorists, curators, producers, investors, and policymakers. They come to challenge their disciplinary boundaries and consider their practice within a larger context. Unexpected kinships are the rule. Dialogue is constant. Interaction, inevitable.
Interactive Screen proposes a unique admixture of the reflective and the participatory. Individual presentations, panel discussions, and roundtables are interspersed with workshops, performances, and other exhibitions of work. Over the years, Interactive Screen’s unique outlook has proved invaluable in fostering creative partnerships and stimulating the creation of creatively charged, emotionally potent, and economically enlightened new media. Participants invariably come away from the event with fresh ideas and alliances, a refined set of skills, and a renewed faith in the power of new media. A week of work and play at Interactive Screen opens up an extraordinary vista on ordinary space and time. It is as inspiring as it is improbable.
In addition to the main program, a limited number of scholarship participants from Canada and abroad are chosen for the Interactive Screen Scholarship Intensive. Makers are invited to pitch and develop projects inspired by the event’s theme. Those selected follow, under the guidance of three seasoned advisors, a parallel project development stream woven into the fabric of the event. Applications for the Interactive Screen Scholarship Intensive will be accepted until July 13, 2010.