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Villette digital arts festPicture
Villette Numérique fest

plugging into wired artists

Digital art has moved on from a situation where each and every work answering to that description was considered experimental — on account of the sheer novelty value of the means used... Since then, it has embraced a whole cluster of media, that now permeate our entire culture, and the lives of almost everyone in it.

The Villette Numérique (Sept 24-29) festival (cohosted by the Cité des Sciences, the Cité de la Musique and the parc de la Villette) is a chance to plug in and catchup on what’s happening. This multi-disciplinary festival zooms in on today’s digital culture revisiting the pioneers, spotlighting emerging talent and sampling a variety of aspects of the international electronic music scene. Via exhibitions, installations, concerts and performances — VN probes the impact of new technologies on daily existence, and the radical changes they’re bringing to our cultural landscape.

Digital art hasn’t merely replaced other media or tools, it has established drastically different modes of expression that couldn’t have been uncovered, otherwise. With its first electronic arts festival, Paris pays tribute to the wired world.


Exhibition & installation selections

Play Time A hands-on retrospective exhibition contrasting the playful æsthetics of early low-tech gizmos with state-of-the-art broadcasting devices, and focusing on mindboggling developments in various areas from graphics to video and digital games, over the past three decades.Grande Halle de la Villette, Sept 26-29, Thur 7pm to 12am, Fri & Sat 7pm to 6am, Sun 4-10pm, M° Porte de Pantin (Thur/Sun free)

Digit@rt This exhibition highlights current trends in digital art, emphasizing interactive works. Stressing the diversity of present developments, it introduces emerging artists and their works-in-progress.Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Sept 24-29, Tue-Sat, 10 am to 6pm, Sun 10am to 7pm, M° Porte de la Villette, 7.5/5.5E

360° Fifteen giant screens encircle viewers in a wall of sight and sound, in this spectacular installation by Granular Synthesis. Designed as a hybrid structure, made up of real and virtual elements, a 360° electronic mise-en-scène replaces actual performers, in this digital theater piece.Grande Halle de la Villette, Sept 26-29, Thur 7pm to12am, Fri & Sat 7pm to 6am, Sun 4-10pm, M° Porte de Pantin, Thur/Sun, free

Full Play This experimental project creates a dialog between different artistic languages. Developed by architect Paolo Atzori, choreographer Bud Blumenthal and composer Anthony Moore, Full Play uses eight giant screens to integrate dance, music and visual arts. An interactive “theater machine” is the focal piece of the performance.Grande Halle de la Villette, Sept 26-29, Thur 7pm to 12am, Fri & Sat 7pm to 6am, Sun 4-10pm, M° Porte de Pantin (Thur/Sun free)

D.A.V.E. (Digital Amplified Video Engine) In this dance performance, Austrian choreographers Klaus Obermaïer and Chris Haring deal with themes connected with manipulating the human body through biotechnology, genetics and information technology. Exploring the boundaries between the real, and the virtual — video screenings are focused on a body in movement, as the dancer and video become part of one another. Grande Halle de la Villette, Sept 28-29, 8:30pm, M° Porte de Pantin, 20E/15E/10E

For more detailed information on events, dates and times, consult the Villette Numérique website at www.villette-numerique.com
Compiled by Marie Winfield

Electro nites & sound daze
By Neil Atherton

The evolution of electronically generated music over the past three decades has seen a mini-revolution in the way we record, listen and interact with sound. So what better way to celebrate this digital society than to pay homage to “les musiques électroniques”? The only contemporary form of music at the cutting-edge of technology, and creativity...

Kraftwerk in concert
Kraftwerk are perhaps the single greatest influence on modern producers of contemporary electronic music. Formed in Dusseldorf at the height of the Kraut Rock era, their vision set toward digitally-synthesized sound allowed them to make records like 1974’s groundbreaking “Autobahn,” while carrying minimal, experimental electronic music into the mainstream. They also brought with them a new outlook on technology, thanks to albums like “The Man Machine” and “Computer World,” which accurately foresaw society’s dominance by digital phenomena. Not having performed since the release of “Expo 2000” in 1999 — Florian Schneider, Ralf Hütter and Klaus Roeder come together again in Paris to re-exercise their impact on all the artists they’ve inspired over the decades. Sept 25, 8pm/Sept 26, 8pm & midnight, Cité de la Musique, 221 av Jean Jaurès, 19e, M° Porte de Pantin, tel: 01 44 84 44 84, www.villette-numerique.com, 34E

Les Nuits Electros
Two massive nights, setting out to reflect the state of the electronic music scene, are to take place in La Grande Halle which will be transformed into a huge club. Three separate arenas — the Central Hall, Studio 5, and Le Club — will welcome the cream of French and international DJs and live acts.
Friday: Akufeen (Canada/Force Inc.), LFO (UK/Warp), Suburban Knights (Detroit/UR), John Thomas (Paris/Logistic), Kid 606 (NY/Force Lab), Erol Alkan (UK/Trash Club), The Raptures (UK/Output), Jacques Lu Cont (UK/Wall of Sound), Chicken Lips (UK), Random Factor (UK/Playhouse), Ark (Paris)
Saturday: John Tejada (NY/Palett), François K (NY/Body&Soul), Derrick Carter (NY/Classic), Sieg Uber Die Sonne (Germany/Multicolor), Atom (Chile/Rather Interesting), Sascha Funke (Berlin/Bpitch), Slam (Glasgow/Soma), Ellen Allien (Berlin/Bpitch), Feadz (Paris/Bpitch), Dj Spooky (NY/Shadow Records)
Sept 27 & 28, midnight, La Grande Halle, 221 av Jean Jaurès, 19e, M° Porte de Pantin, 10-20E

Les Pelouses Electroniques
After “Les Nuits Electro” comes the after-party — Saturday and Sunday afternoons spent lazing around on the grass… A sound system and other animations and attractions should keep everyone’s attention span in order, with DJ sets from Dj Oil (Troublemakers), Christof Drouillet (Absolum), PO (Missive), Serge Nicolas (Paradise Massage) and live performances by Brain Damage and Shogun. Sept 28 & 29, 4pm, Parc de la Villette, 221 av Jean Jaurès, 19e, M° Porte de Pantin, free


PLlay Time focusing on mind-boggling developments over the past three decades
courtesy of Grande Halle de la Vilette
image from the Digit@rt expo at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie
courtesy of Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie
image from the Digit@rt expo at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie
courtesy of Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie
Full PLay, creating a dialog between artistic languages
courtesy of Grande Halle de la Vilette
Granular Synthesis at the Grande Halle de la Vilette
courtesy of Grande Halle de la Vilette
Kraftwerk
courtesy of EMI
Slam
courtesy of La Vilette