Curatorial Statement 2019:
The Augmented Mind

Too often technological advancements feel like they are driven by an objective force, deterministically unfolding, removed from our personal needs, ideas and desires for meaningful expression. At Sensorium we challenge this passive notion of technology ‘happening to us’ and believe creative practice can actively contribute to a future built around human values, expression and capabilities.

Artists, designers and engineers contributing to the relatively short history of computing have been driven by vastly different purposes. Whereas early electronic systems were mostly used to speed up or automate mechanical number-crunching procedures, more creative paradigms have always existed. In fact, at the dawn of computational thinking, the English mathematician and writer Ada Lovelace already foresaw creative application in poetry and music.

An exciting vision of computing that places human thinking and expression at the center of its intelligence emerged in the early 1960s. Douglas Engelbart saw computers as interactive tools to extend our intellectual capacity and help us collectively solve some of the toughest challenges our planet faces. Decades on, his framework ‘Augmenting Human Intellect’ has inspired researchers and entrepreneurs the world over and has led to many key ideas underlying modern computing systems. Yet, in our increasingly technocratic societies, how prevalent is this vision today?

Sensorium 2019 will use the theme ‘The Augmented Mind’ as a lens to explore ways artists, designers and technologists work with the notion of augmentation as a creative principle. What innate strengths and weaknesses does the process of augmentation reveal? Does human capability as a starting point make our creations more human-centered? What other media, processes and relationships can benefit from such approaches? And what will they be augmented by?

The programme for this year is the richest and most diverse ever. We are expanding the conference programme to a day and a half and are delighted to continue educational activities such as emerging technology workshops and a special four-day Augmented Attention Lab. We are excited about new activities such as the public programme of discussion, performance and exhibitions extending into the city. We invite you to join us on this journey and look forward to seeing where your participation can bring this year’s festival!

About Sensorium festival

Sensorium is a festival with conference, workshops & showcase bridging the fields of computational art, design and performance.

It is the genre-defining platform to experience possible futures of the creative industry on the crossover of art, design and technology.

Immerse yourself in the world of dynamic and interactive installations, AI, graphics, data visualisations, generative architecture, design and virtual reality.

Internationally established artists and designers who use computation as a creative technique will get together in Bratislava to discuss their projects, processes and ideas.

The festival collaborates with international festivals and organisations such as TodaysArt and Instrument Inventors Initiative in the Netherlands, Choreographic Coding Labs and HOLO magazine.

Sensorium invites ground-breaking works of art employing cutting-edge technology, but it is mainly an opportunity to meet and connect with innovative artists and designers.

The aim of the event is to give creators space to present their work and use this platform to stir a debate of forward-thinking ideas, opinions and visions connecting technology and art.

We believe the program will amaze you.