make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend


Bright Festival: Discovering a new experience in digital arts practices

STIR explores the mission statement and ambit of Bright Festival—a fast-growing new media arts event in Italy that brings variety to the table.

by Manu SharmaPublished on : Feb 26, 2023

Bright Festival is a future-forward cultural event that is “focused on the enhancement and promotion of digital creativity,” as its festival note tells us. The art festival operates through a series of studio sessions, exhibitions and shows, which it conducts alongside several prestigious institutions and universities, as well as leading companies and creatively driven organisations from all over the world. It highlights the latest trends in new media art, and targets students, professionals and enthusiasts of this fast-growing space that has now expanded beyond niche audiences. Bright Festival has also made waves amongst art lovers who are not as yet sensitised to cutting edge practices and may view the digital craft with some level of skepticism. The note continues, saying that “Bright Festival is a new environment dedicated to experts and enthusiasts in the fields of digital art, lighting design and electronic music, which in recent years have been conquering the world of art, entertainment, communication, fashion and design due to an unparalleled appeal and emotional impact.” These are the words of Claudio Caciolli, Founder and Creative Director of the festival. Caciolli is also connected with Kunatkraftwerk, Leipzig, which turned a derelict power plant into a space that, similar to Bright Festival, is also dedicated to furthering digital art practices.

Audiences caught off-guard by the magic of digital art, 2021, image, Superbien| Bright Festival | Bright Festival | STIRworld
Audiences caught off-guard by the magic of digital art, 2021, image Superbien Image: Claudio Caciolli; Courtesy of Bright Festival

The first edition of Bright Festival was held in 2019 at the Stazione Leopolda, which is a former railway station in the heart of Florence, Italy. It was seen as a bold, new event inspired by the digital revolution and the plethora of possibilities it presents with regards to contemporary arts practices. Since then, the festival has been active in organising digital arts events in several cities across Europe and the rest of the world, bringing digital art to increasingly larger audiences, and in turn, widening the themes, modes, and eventually creative identities that are shaping its bodies of work.

Light design work by Minor Lazer, 202, image, Minor Lazer| Bright Festival | Bright Festival | STIRworld
Light design work by Minor Lazer, 2022, image, Minor Lazer Image: Claudio Caciolli; Courtesy of Bright Festival

The festival divides its activities across three sectors: the first is 'Bright Educational,' which offers the current generation of artists, students and professionals a platform to acquire knowledge or expand their existing skillset. It does this through several modes—studio sessions with leading practitioners, lectures on emerging digital art theory, workshops and masterclasses for upskilling, and talks led by experts and speakers from the foremost arts universities and industry-leading companies, which all bring a diverse set of international perspectives on digital art production and philosophy to the table. The second sector of Bright Festival is 'Bright Art.' This focuses on digital art installations, immersive experiences, audiovisual performances and multimedia shows by digital artists and design studios, and keeps a close focus on interactivity. It also puts front and centre the work of up-and-coming artists as well as students, exploring interactive and kinetic art, artificial intelligence, multimedia practices, virtual reality and augmented reality, graphics and motion work among other facets in the process. 

The feeling of being in a liminal space, created digitally, 2022, image, Spencer Parker| Bright Festival | Bright Festival | STIRworld
The feeling of being in a liminal space, created digitally, 2022, image, Spencer Parker Image: Claudio Caciolli; Courtesy of Bright Festival

Bright Festival's third sector is titled 'Bright Music.' This features a night show that underlines the emotional force that is born of the union between digital arts, lighting design and electronic music. These three aspects of digital creativity can manifest truly magical moments when they are allowed to live and breathe together on the same stage. As the festival note explains, "(Bright Music) highlights new professional figures working behind the scenes of major international shows, such as content creators, stage and floor designers, creative technologists, lighting and sound designers."

Claudio Caciolli, the Founder and Creative Director, 2022, image| Bright Festival | Bright Festival | STIRworld
Claudio Caciolli, the Founder and Creative Director, 2022, image Image: Claudio Caciolli; Courtesy of Bright Festival

The name of the German edition of Bright Festival is Bright Festival Connect. It is based on the same format of dividing its activities between education, art and music, and enhancing Bright Festival's ambit by promoting creativity as a vector for cultural transmission and connection through digital arts practices. Bright Festival Connect came about as a result of international cooperation between Germany, Italy and other European countries, involving an eclectic mix of academic and creative organisations from all over. Caciolli tells us that, "the world of digital art production is often characterised by an individual approach. Big projects, deliveries, deadlines and long hours in front of laptops often isolate and alienate artists, who lose sight of the importance of getting to know and connect with each other. Bright Festival Connect is an opportunity for all parties involved to "disconnect" from this loop, meet physically, exchange ideas, draw inspiration, recharge creativity and kick-start new collaborations for the future.” Since 2020, Bright Festival Connect has been taking place at the Kunstkraftwerk, Leipzig, and last year held its third edition, which featured four days and three nights of digital art, lighting design and music-related events. There were over 170 hours of studio sessions, exhibitions, live performances and shows at the Kunstkraftwerk, with 39 artists, design studios and international enterprises in attendance. The festival's scale was matched and then some by its attending audience, with just under 4000 attendees recorded over its course.

Teresa Balestrieri, the Event Manager, 2022, image, Bright Festival | Bright Festival | STIRworld
Teresa Balestrieri, the event manager for Bright Festival Image: Teresa Balestrieri; Courtesy of Bright Festival

'Farnesina Digital Art Experience', that began in Italy, is another notable portion of Bright Festival's activities, but should not be viewed as a counterpart of sorts to Bright Festival Connect. It is a travelling festival commissioned by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to promote Italian creativity worldwide. The project initially engaged 14 of Italy's finest design studios to create the largest projection mapping project realised in Italy. “Farnesina Digital Art Experience turned out to be a unique and fascinating project: a snapshot of the best that Italian digital art can express today, promoted at the international level in collaboration with Italian embassies and cultural institutes around the world,” explains Caciolli. He continues, acknowledging the role of the Italian government in making Farnesina Digital Art Experience a reality, and says, "(I give a) special thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for having firmly believed in this mission and to all the design studios that made every event memorable for us but, first and foremost, for our country.” Caciolli’s words express a pride, not just in the digital craft of his country, but in the digital craft itself. With arts events such as Bright Festival, and the many interconnected activities it manages, new media art should see sharp growth very soon, of the foothold it has already built in conventional arts spaces. And perhaps we are luckier for it, and the new perspectives and creative visions it brings with it.

Bright Festival 2023 will take place in Florence from April 28-30.

What do you think?

About Author


see more articles

make your fridays matter

This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.