Technology meets art at festival hackfest

23/02/2015 - 16:32

Australia’s first art-hack will occur during the Perth International Arts Festival, challenging some of the best artistic and creative minds.

Technology meets art at festival hackfest
COLLABORATION: Liz Sideris (left) and Tamryn Barker are bringing art and technology together at Hack the Festival. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Australia’s first art-hack will occur during the Perth International Arts Festival, challenging some of the best artistic and creative minds.

Art and technology will be merged in a creative collaboration as-yet unseen in Perth as Hack the Festival cranks up as part of the Perth International Arts Festival.

Under way this week, Hack the Festival is drawing on the experience of Perth co-working space Spacecubed to bring artists together with people across all different types of technology, according to Piaf digital producer Liz Sideris.

Spacecubed’s Tamryn Barker, who is the program manager for Hack the Festival told Business News there were parallels between artists and those who pursued careers in technology-based businesses.

“Artists’ stories are quite similar to what we hear in the startup scene. The challenges of being true to your idea, the obstacles to funding, promoting, building a network and creating a viable product,” Ms Barker said.

Hack the Festival draws on Spacecubed’s experience with hackathons such as GovHack, UnEarthed and StartUp Weekend. Hackathons are usually events where a large group meets to engage in collaborative computer programming.

Participants in this month’s Piaf hackfest will be manipulating technology into art.

Hack the Festival is less structured than previous hack events at Spacecubed and has a single, overriding guideline – ideas must be interactive digital artwork. “These things work well in the most simplistic way,” Ms Barker said.

Last week, participants were given the chance to network and naturally create their own teams.

The 12 teams have until February 27 to create a prototype to present to the Perth-based judges. The judging panel features key figures among the Perth arts community: Western Australian Museum project director Trish McDonald;

Department of Culture and the Arts director general Duncan Ord; Harmonic New Media founder-director Craig Harman; and Form curator Sharmila Wood.

Ms Barker said that, as part of the hackfest, it was important for Spacecubed to highlight those with skills in creative software and programming.

“There’s more talent in Perth than we actually wear as our identity. For some reason, we don’t tend to say ‘actually we’re quite good at this’,” she said.

Hackfest contestants presented preliminary pitches earlier this month displaying a suite of ideas ranging from music and interactive street art, to a digital art piece about a bus and an app for Aboriginal languages.

Virtualiis founder Becky Lee, who is participating in the event, hopes to collaborate with technologically skilled people to digitise her artwork, ‘The Art of Travel’, which are photo collages exploring common objects in different cultures.

Contestants will also have access to six locally based mentors for the event, selected on their experience in digital art and business. Mentor Geoffrey Drake-Brockman has a background in computer science, which he uses to create interactive robotic art pieces such as ‘Totem’, located outside the Perth Arena.

A $5,000 cash art grant will be given to members of the winning team to aid them is realising their project.

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