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FutureFantastic explores the intersections of art, technology and climate change

BIC opens its doors to FutureFantastic, a TechArt festival in India that leverages the power of artificial intelligence and art to start a dialogue on climate change.

by Vatsala SethiPublished on : Mar 22, 2023

As climate change continues to pose a significant threat to the planet, innovative solutions to the problem are becoming increasingly necessary. The intersection of art and technology provides a unique platform to creatively explore, and address the challenges associated with climate change. In that vein, FutureFantastic, a TechArt festival in India leverages the power of artificial intelligence and art to start a dialogue on climate change. The festival, conceptualised by BeFantastic, in partnership with FutureEverything (UK) and made possible by the generous contribution of its primary supporters, The British Council’s India Together UK Season of Culture and Rohini & Nandan Nilekani Philanthropies does so by bringing together artists, technologists and climate experts, creating an immersive experience that not only highlights the impact of climate change but also inspires action towards a sustainable future.

How to make an ocean | FutureFantastic | STIRworld
How to make an ocean Image: Courtesy of FutureFantastic

“This is a moment to mark within the city where a tech art festival triggers conversation around two complex concepts like artificial intelligence and climate change. After three years of enabling artists and creative technologists to come together online from various time zones, for a sincere exchange of knowledge, ideas, and viewpoints, we are excited to present artworks & performances, workshops, and artist sharings with layers of AI. It is a new landscape of TechArt, and where better than Bangalore—the tech and innovation hub of the country to debut such work?” shared Kamya Ramachandran, festival director & co-curator of FutureFantastic, in the official press note.

Film screening at ISF | FutureFantastic | STIRworld
Film screening at ISF Image: Courtesy of FutureFantastic

The immersive, AI-enabled installations and performances at the art festival will envision the possibility of a climate-friendly future as well as offer the experience of the effects of inactivity in the present. The artwork highlights include Palimpsest, a headliner performance that employs the Indian philosophy of the five elements of the universe (Pancha Maha Bhootas) to seamlessly blend movement arts, virtual reality, and AI. The electrifying show will feature Madhu Natraj along with Beijing media artist, Jiayu Liu, and will be performed by Keerthi Kumar, Roopa K, Adrika Subhash, Deeksha Kumar, and Yonita Jain.

A Synthetic Song Beyond the Sea | FutureFantastic | STIRworld
A Synthetic Song Beyond the Sea Image: Courtesy of FutureFantastic

Visitors can also look at the interesting intersection of humans and machines through Cyborgs at the festival. Not just an imaginative figment of science fiction, they push the boundaries of what it means to be human and offer a glimpse into the future of our species. The performance Elsewhere In India will follow a team of cyborgs and artists on a rhythmic journey through time and space, as they remix ancient traditions with tech to create a musical adventure. Wood Wide Web, on the other hand, will allow visitors to witness forests come to life with ancient and endangered trees of India and the UK sharing their tales of survival through skeletal tracking and AI magic.

CUSP, Jake Elwes | FutureFantastic | STIRworld
CUSP, Jake Elwes Image: Courtesy of FutureFantastic

It is also interesting to note that in recent years, the world of Indian classical dance has found new ways to explore the relationship between art and technology. By fusing the grace of Indian classical dance forms with the power of machine learning, artists are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of dance. Through the use of machine learning algorithms, dancers can create new and unique movements inspired by traditional Indian dance forms, that take on a life of their own. Similarly, the installation Give Me A Sign by artists Diane Edwards and Upasana Nattoji Roy will fuse the grace of Indian classical dance forms with the power of machine learning. Mudras, or symbolic hand gestures, will become the key to unlocking the speculative musings of a child-like AI named 'Shunya.'

Used to Be My Home Too | FutureFantastic | STIRworld
Used to Be My Home Too Image: Courtesy of FutureFantastic

For the artwork Cusp, a childhood memory is re-imagined by artist Jake Elwes. With a touch of AI, the artist transforms familiar landscapes with flocks of digital birds. Using a neural network, these hybrid creatures are crafted from images of native birds and take flight across the mudflats of Landermere Creek. As the artificially generated birdsong fills the air, the natural ecology of the location is both augmented and disrupted.

Give Me A Sign by Diane Edwards and Upasana Nattoji Roy| FutureFantastic | STIRworld
Give Me A Sign by Diane Edwards and Upasana Nattoji Roy Image: Courtesy of FutureFantastic

Technology has provided artists with the tools to push the boundaries of traditional art forms, creating new mediums altogether. Through virtual and augmented reality, the festival will open up a new world of possibilities for art enthusiasts, weaving narratives with diverse and global perspectives on climate change and technology. FutureFantastic will unlock and expand our understanding of what art can be, in Bengaluru, India, from March 24-26, 2023.

STIR is the media partner for BeFantastic’s art festival, FutureFantastic.

Wood Wide Web | FutureFantastic | STIRworld
Wood Wide Web Image: Courtesy of FutureFantastic

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