Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned interactive developer, festivals that focus around new media, art and technology can be a great place to catch up on the latest technology, learn cool new skills and techniques, and most importantly, network with people in the industry! In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the major new media festivals that you should check out.
OFFF is a well known festival of digital art and design, attended by many artists and developers in the interactive and immersive community. Since the first OFFF festival was held in Barcelona in 2000, the festival has grown in scale and reputation, having now been held in over 40 cities. The most recent edition ran from May 5-7 in Barcelona and featured 75 artists from around the world, including David Carson, Paula Scher, and Refik Anadol, who closed the event with an amazing 3D projection mapping piece on the Casa Batlló. Later this year, OFFF festivals will be held in Tel Aviv (September 18-19, 2022) and Seville (October 27-29, 2022).
On their website, the MUTEK festival is defined as an “international festival of digital creativity and electronic music”. As you might have guessed, MUTEK has more of an electronic music focus than most of the other festivals listed here, but that doesn’t mean the work is any less incredible! MUTEK began as a Montreal-based festival in 2000. Since then, it too has grown to encompass a larger number of events, which are now held in Montreal, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Tokyo and San Francisco. The next Montreal MUTEK is being held from August 23-28, 2022.
2019 Edition Website: https://touchdesigner-summit-2019.webflow.io/
Another great event, especially for TouchDesigner developers, is the TouchDesigner Summit! The Summit is a bit more of a recent development than some of the other festivals listed here, as it was first hosted in Berlin in 2016. The most recent TouchDesigner Summit was held in Montreal in August 2019, and featured some great talks and workshops by both Derivative themselves and people from the TouchDesigner community. As it’s been just about 2.5 years since the last Summit, It’s safe to say that most TouchDesigner developers are eagerly awaiting the announcement of the next edition!
One of the longest running festivals dedicated to new media art, the transmediale traces its roots back to the VideoFilmFest founded in 1988. In the late 1990s, it shifted in focus to include internet and software-based artwork, along with the video art that it was originally associated with. The most recent edition of the transmediale is a yearlong festival for the years 2021-2022, and comprised of a number of different events including residencies, exhibitions, and workshops. More information for this edition can be found here: https://202122.transmediale.de/.
Originally a part of the transmediale festival, the CTM Festival was spun out into its own event, but that usually runs concurrently with transmediale. CTM is focused on electronic and experimental/avant garde music. The next edition of the CTM Festival will be held on May 24-29th, 2022 in Berlin.
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The SAT FEST is a festival focused on immersive dome content. The festival created and hosted by the Montreal-based Society of Arts and Technology. The SAT building is home to the Satosphere, an immersive theatre with a dome that forms a 360-degree spherical projection surface. The most recent edition of the festival was held in March 2022.
A long running conference focused on the latest techniques and trends in digital creation. Often held in Toronto and Amsterdam, but has been hosted in other cities as well.
Wrap Up: New Media Art Festivals
So many festivals, so little time! One thing that you can be sure of is that there is no shortage of great festivals focused on digital art and new media (and there are many more beyond those covered in this list!). Hopefully this quick guide gives you some ideas for future travel plans and festivals to visit!