Aug 1, 2006

ZERO ONE 2006 – Artwork on the edge

Source: The Mercury News
Written by Mark de la Viña

Silicon Valley will flip the switch on its newest start-up Monday — a seven-day festival of art and technology.

More than 150 artists will use everything from Internet chat rooms to GPS technology in works of art displayed throughout downtown, most of which can be viewed for free as part of “ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge.

Simply put, ZeroOne intends to show how the marriage of technology and art is redefining what we call art.

In other words, don’t expect “Whistler’s Mother.”

Artwork that integrates cell phone technology or a PDA might strike some as a tad wacky, but innovation has always been a part of the creative practice, festival director Steve Dietz said. For example, a specific shade of blue used by impressionists was invented only 40 years before their movement’s heyday.

`Branding’ San Jose

There’s hope that the festival can “brand” San Jose as a destination for purveyors and practitioners of art that uses technological innovations as tools. Similar festivals in Europe, such as Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria, have showcased such artwork, but ZeroOne is the only festival of its kind in the United States.

“This will transform San Jose into the North American epicenter for the intersection of art and digital culture,” said Dietz, former curator of new media at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Everyone from artists to members of the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau are fantasizing about ZeroOne’s potential to become another summer celebration that brings crowds downtown.

The plan is to turn ZeroOne into a biennial event that showcases the artistic side of technological innovation, said Dan Keegan, executive director of the San Jose Museum of Art.

“What great communities do is they make these sorts of things happen because they add to the full, rich mix of the city experience,” said Keegan, who was among those who spearheaded the movement to bring ZeroOne to San Jose.

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