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About Cross
The 6th Digital Art Festival Taipei running ~~
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[K. T. Creativity Award]
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[Digital Art Awards Taipei_Interactive Installation]
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[Digital Art Criticism Awards]
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Curatorial Philosophy

The 6th Digital Art Festival Taipei – Cross

The original concept of cross is a portrayal of the current digital world – web and software with unrestrained terms of use, and the opaque line between the digital space and the material world. That gives rise to political questions with infinite answers. Take the evolution of digital copyright laws for example: Jail-breaking allows consumers to escape the electronic prison imposed by telecom and computer monopolies. The US copyright law amendments in 2010 granted smart phone users the right to download phone apps. Another equally contentious issue is that with free software. With its loose authorization clause and resource sharing capability, free software has been questioned as being anti-capitalist. Freedom and sharing become a reactionary force within digital capitalism. With limited resource, the 6th Digital Art Festival Taipei is presented in a fractal fashion. Crossing the boundaries between technology and art has long been a topic of interest in Taiwan, so are the events and phenomena in the virtual world. Hence, cross is chosen as the thematic concept – a word living up to the terminology of the digital times and reflecting the digital phenomena and events.

Extension of “event” in the digital space

Every “event” takes place due to its specific geographical environment or space. Our thinking changes as our environment alters. The location and occasion of an event become important factors. The digital space is now another reality. What differentiates it from the historical and geological environment is that a mere glitch may produce a whole new object. Mid 1980s saw the birth of the first computer virus. Via the Internet, it could spread to the entire globe within hours, invading into personal computers. The source code of a software application is a product of collective wisdom. It opens up to various types of software, which form a real field that does not exist in the real space. In trying to draw the contours of the relationship between event and field, one should see that field in the digital times is depicted as a space filled with complex web cables. The direction, length and dimension of the cables are invisible, making it difficult to gauge its composition and direction of movement. Infinite linkages between multiple terminals create events. Anticipating or following patterns and rules becomes impossible, as events break away from their conventional structure and recreate a new order. Individual events born out of the various possibilities in the digital space are not individual questions that exist independently. They are but reflections of social phenomena and extensions of other orders. For example, in the earliest days, hackers were a group of Internet specialists with a conviction to share. Against the authority, they pursued solutions and shared resources. Meanwhile, in the digital field where rules had yet taken shape, another group of crackers (self-declared hackers) acquired the mere strength of hacking into security systems. The original hacker philosophy was distorted. These crackers became a separate category. Such events could only happen in a digital environment.

From outside to internality – Subjectivation process

Field is defined differently in different disciplines. Perspectives may vary greatly. Literally, field is a territory with defined boundaries. In abstract algebra, fields are the algebra structures for addition, deduction, multiplication and division. A digital field is a signal of the transition from one field to another; it also represents the pursuit of the best signal in the transition process. In art, discussions about field usually concern boundaries and scopes, collaboration of skills or transcendence, ambiances or other subjects of artwork analysis. Contemplation about artworks and that about how one is influenced by his/her surroundings – an internalization process, may also open ground for discussion about cross. Put simply, daily routines become the basic component of an entity. Cyber network, real-time communication, virtual reality – these products of digital technology have become part of the life of the current generation. Our mode of behavior causes us to internalize external digital gadgets; relations between subjects as a result become all the more complex.
A mere glance at today’s various academic disciplines says it all: Cross is no longer a matter between artists or a consensus between them. When subject in different systems (those without a shared consensus) fail to discern the nuances of their internalization processes, cross becomes merely a type of art creation using technology as its medium. It could at best be regarded as a fake cross, made possible by technological breakthroughs. Be it digital art creation or criticism, crossing into an unfamiliar territory is a frequent topic and also an obstacle for artists. Engineers working in science parks have never imagined they could make art out of the computer language they are so familiar with. There are different levels of understanding to a single artwork. Such is the nature of subject, and crossing two different fields becomes a process of subjectivation.


We are used to imagining ourselves crossing boundaries on a two-dimensional basis, and our perception of boundaries is pre-defined. We push outwards using ourselves as the center and define scopes or meanings on our own. The line between subjects is only imaginary. Crossing from one field to another in a paralleled fashion, be it technology, art or self transcendence, is no longer (at least in digital art) possible. Boundaries are becoming more and more opaque, and crossing more difficult. Artists could easily fall into a state of loss or uncertainty. Crossing is often imagined on a linear basis. If crossing can tolerate overlaps or internalization between two (or more) subjects and develops vertically along an imaginary z axis, not only can subject gauge the location of one another, they can also produce a whole new dimension.
When field is no longer a field and the other field no longer so, cross is not simply a one-to-one leap or a union; it extends to form another real time and inert digital field. To be more specific, in a digital field, cross is an active process of “tumbling, changing, reconstructing and creating”.

In spatial terms, fields are like spaces built on one another – not in a two-dimension way but similar to how the roots of a plant ramify. It is a three-dimensional distribution defining how spaces connect with another in time, and the connections between them have infinite possibilities (single or multiple joints). These connections are without direction – much like a space filled with overlapping threads where one cannot tell where they begin or end. Such an open system is also built on a reciprocal basis. It is non-linear and does not include any causal relations. It creates complex and ever-changing diversities.

Policy priority mode

The execution of the 6th Digital Art Festival Taipei faces two predicaments: policy priority, which limits the scale of the Festival, and limited resource. Digital Art Performance Competition is one that encountered particular difficulty. In order to encourage young artists to continue their participation in digital art competitions, Digital Art Foundation and Quanta Arts Foundation co-organized a digital performance competition with a million-dollar award. Digital art performance requires manpower, equipment and venues on a larger scale. The competition is a perfect opportunity to observe how visual art and traditional theater interpret digital art performance differently, and it allows us to identify points of conflict.
At the International Digital Art Exhibition – one of the five components of the Festival, most artworks are events (instantaneity and happening) presented in text. Unlike previous interactive and entertaining pieces, these event-based artworks are reflections of the micro events of the digital times, corresponding to this year’s curatorial philosophy – cross.