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september 2-7, 2000 |
ars electronica 2000

Visions and utopias of tomorrow will once again occupy the focal point of Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria). The festival's 21st year will facilitate an encounter with our future as a strategy for dealing with the present. This confrontation began last year when LifeScience addressed modern biotechnology and genetic engineering as the key technologies of the new millennium. This thematic focus will be carried on and intensified with NEXT SEX - Sex in the Age of its Procreative Superfluousness. But this concentration on a specific field of modern biotech is not the only essential feature of Ars Electronica 2000. The task at hand is to consider this technology's social policy background factors and the framework within which it is developing, being fostered or thwarted. And the point is to recognize the consequences and the changes that are coming in its wake.

Ars Electronica understands art as an interface, a source of stimulus, and a catalyst for the interaction of the public with the world of science. Ars Electronica also assigns art a place far beyond the role of moral authority. The full-throttle intensity and dynamism with which art can approach explosive issues make artistic encounter an ideal driving force behind social discourse and social innovation. In a packed schedule of events, installations, performances, exhibitions and network projects, Ars Electronica 2000 will put this claim into practice and enable art to fulfill its promise as a catalyst of social development processes.

Network art has already been among the chief focuses of Ars Electronica for a number of years now. In light of the increasing importance of this area of artistic activity, Ars Electronica 2000 has come up with some new presentation formats and event concepts featuring net-inspired digital Culture & Lifestyle:
openX - electrolobby. electrolobby I.P.O. (Initial Public Opening): An intoxicating mix of personalities and information, food and sound, and hacks and chats. openX - electrolobby: following the Initial Public Opening, electrolobby will harbor an archipelago of net-inspired lifestyles Continuing the festival's thematic focus on life science, at NEXT SEX Symposium will elaborate on the cultural and social policy perspectives of modern reproductive biology -from birth control, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and sperm databanks, to egg donation and surrogate motherhood, and on to more remote future possibilities like asexual procreation via cloning and the artificial womb-. A dual approach combining scientific and artistic points of view will scrutinize the contours of a society in which human beings are genetically configured -not simply born but, rather, fabricated- one in which sex is relieved of its functional indispensability for reproduction, and thus one in which the battle of the sexes as well as the moral steering mechanism of our very society undergo reordering. The challenges that are materializing as a result of the emerging revolution in human reproduction are also challenges to art. The "design" possibilities and "creative" potential opened up by modern biotechnologies give rise to ethical and moral border conflicts involving the operating system of art itself. Ars Electronica 2000 presents installations focusing on specific aspects of this year's theme that artistically treat a broad spectrum of highly explosive issues having to do with NEXT SEX.
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NEXT SEX. Sex in the Age of its Procreative Superfluousness

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