The Beta Festival Conference will take place 3rd - 5th November with day tickets available for Friday (€25) & Saturday (€30) and a number of limited €5 tickets at the door on the day.
Arts Council of Ireland Digital Arts Policy Launch - Perspectives from Art & Tech Collectives
Timpeall (Cork), Digital Art Studios (Belfast), Concept Null (Limerick), Dublin Art and Technology Association (D.A.T.A.)
The Arts Council launches its Digital Arts Policy at the festival with an overview of the policy followed by an in-conversation with art and technology collectives from around Ireland on the opportunities and challenges in working with digital technologies within creative practice.
Book Here (FREE)
Digital Art in Ireland: Reflections and Visuals (Book launch)
Digital Art in Ireland: Reflections & Visuals is a collection of images and essays that captures a snapshot of Irish digital art as it exists in the present moment. The book showcases the work of 12 contemporary artists through a series of visuals and practitioner reflections.
Book Here (FREE)
Celtic Tigers, Bored Apes and other tales from the Miseryverse (Keynote)
Of his abiding mission to colonise Mars, Elon Musk has the following to say: “it’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. I can't think of anything more exciting.”
Few of us believe that the future will be a nice place when we eventually get there. Instead, so much of our technical enchantments, whether it’s desperate bets on crypto, AI, bored apes, or a new life in the metaverse, seem to respond to this disillusionment, to the sense that the future is, well, a bit of a shithole. All previous pathways to what we might have once called ‘the good life’ aka, the stories we tell about how we and the world should ‘add up to something’ – tales of hard work rewarded, Celtic tigers, or ‘winning the system’ through perseverance, no longer ring true. So what happens, as in the financial crash and the pandemic, when those fantasies begin to fray?
De/central: Who Owns the Web?
Rachel O’Dwyer, Linda Shelvin, Harun Šiljak, Aileen Carville
Decentralisation, blockchain technologies, and token-based economies are some of the key concepts and technologies associated with the evolution of the World Wide Web. Built upon transparency, Web 3.0 promises to empower users while making the Internet more democratic and equitable. However, as with all technological innovations, there is also much hype - this discussion focuses on the impact of Web 3.0 on privacy, security, and data sovereignty, asking if these new digital innovations are hindering or helping our hyperconnected world.
Navigating AI: National Perspectives on Policy and Regulation
Aphra Kerr, Elaine Burke
In 2021, the National AI Strategy was published with the goal of setting out how Ireland can be an international leader using Artificial Intelligence to benefit the economy and wider society. This panel considers the strategy within international concerns and debates surrounding policy, regulation, and transparency including the upcoming EU AI act and the impact on creativity, particularly around Intellectual property and copyright.
From Local to Global: Ireland as an Infrastructural Node
Linda Doyle, Fiach Mac Conghail, Fiona McDermott
Since the first transatlantic cable connected Valentia Island to Newfoundland in the 1860s’, Ireland has long been a significant node in global networked communications, hosting not only the corporate headquarters of the most dominant companies of the networked era but also the physical infrastructure that supports them. Featuring contributions from industry, academia, and policy, this panel will consider the responsibilities, challenges, and opportunities facing Ireland in its role as a core infrastructural hub of the Internet.
Our Data, Our Environment: Extractivism and its impact
Patrick Brodie, Trish Morgan, Katie Nolan, Donal Lally
The current climate crisis sees the world faced with unprecedented global challenges. In thinking globally but acting locally we try to counterbalance environmental concerns. However, our interactions with networked technologies are another form of extraction - our data consumption contributes to further environmental instability. This is particularly evident in Ireland where the energy needs of the data centre industry result in massive demands on the national grid. This panel focuses on the extractive nature of data, asking what we can do to offset the environmental impacts of our networked interactions and how we can move towards a more sustainable future.
Creativity & the Technical Tendency
Thomas Garnier, Cliona Harmey, Bassam Issa Al Sabbah, Sinead McDonald
Artists have always been innovators when it comes to using new technologies - from photography to hacking gameboys - they reimagine creative uses of new tools. This session focuses on the ways in which artists embrace and utilise digital technologies in their work while providing insight into the influence of technology on creative practice and the impact of creative practice on technology.
Unplugged Perspectives on the Digital Divide
Kylie Jarrett, Shamim Malekmian, Paul O’ Neill, Harikrishnan Sasikumar
From exploitative labour practices associated with delivery workers and content moderators to issues surrounding exclusion based on age, gender, ethnicity, and location, the emancipatory promises associated with digital technologies and platforms often exacerbate and reinforce pre-existing divisions. This discussion engages with these divisions, asking how they can be challenged and changed while looking to identify ways in which we can use digital tech in a more ethical and sustainable manner.
The Bodily Experience in Hyperconnected Realities: Art and Technology
12pmDr Angela Butler, Aoibheann Greenan Joanna Walsh
This conversation will address art’s role in the digital age and its influence on the human-AI relationship, focusing on how technology impacts our embodied experiences and how it may shape our future connections.By delving into the implications of our burgeoning digital connections on our tangible and emotional experiences, the panellists will explore the emerging social dynamics, identities, and innovative thought patterns arising from interconnected realities.
Extending Reality: The Future of Storytelling?
2pmBronagh Gallagher (ScreenService), Elaine Hoey, Jo Mangan, Gareth Young
From Jaron Lanier’s Virtual Reality to the rise (and fall?) of the metaverse, we are always seeking out simulated networked environments with which to create and connect. This session features contributions from Irish-based creatives who use immersive technologies to build alternative worlds beyond our own and discusses the future potential of extended reality. In doing so, we ask how can we move beyond the spectacle of the technology itself to ‘real’ immersive experiences.
Material Matters: Artistic interventions in the network
John Conway, Kerry Guinan, Adam Stoneman
The history of AI is interwoven with that of textiles—the invention of the Jacquard Loom in 1804, which encoded pictures and patterns on ‘punch cards’ that could be read by machines, inspired Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, considered the first computer. Mathematician George Boole, son of a shoemaker, invented Boolean logic, the system of noughts and ones that underpins digital age, and which echoes the binary process of weaving. Following this thread takes us to the neural net that powers AI image generation, formed of millions of artificial neurons—a multitude of interconnected and layered nodes light up with electronic signals until they give birth to a ready-made cultural product.
This session connects our hyper-networked era to the physical world through artistic interventions focusing on labour and mechanical processes and their histories.
Art as Critical Compass through Quantum Technologies
(FREE EVENT - No registration required)
Studio Quantum Artists-In-Residence
Artists often create work that signals the canary in the coal mine - early warning signs of the potential impacts of new technologies on society. For years, artists around the world have presented work in this sphere in relation to artificial intelligence. But what about quantum technologies? Can we have conversations about quantum now, that enable us to navigate future scenarios? What role can artists and the arts play in deepening our understanding and exploring potential issues?
Studio Quantum led by Goethe-Institut Irland is a new artist residency programme and accompanying event series that connects artists and audiences with partners in technology, culture, science and education to foster an open dialogue on the topic of quantum technologies and the arts. Here, Studio Quantum artists-in-residence kennedy+swan discuss their projects and the importance of such art and technology residencies in conversation with Dr Deirdre Kilbane, Project Lead Ireland Quantum Communications Infrastructure, CONNECT Principal Investigator and Director of Research at Walton Institute. Studio Quantum is supported by CONNECT, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications.
“Authentic” Creativity and Artificial “Intelligence”: The Generative Generation
12pm, FREE (Walk-in)
Moderator: Luke Clancy (Culture File)
Themes: AI, authenticity, art, creative process, automation, originality
Over the past number of years, the emergence of deep learning AI models has given rise to a wave of algorithmic platforms that create new worlds of expression and creativity with little more than prompts. From chatgpt to Dall-E , these algorithmic platforms are increasingly dominating our digital vocabulary, however with this new form of expression tensions are arising - hoax articles in national papers to fears over the Artificial intelligence being used to generate films scripts or negate the role of actors, these platforms are as problematic as they are creative. This panel will focus on the implications of Artificial Intelligence in the Creative Industries