SXSW Art Program

March 9-17. The SXSW Art Program creates a platform for visual artists to connect with international leaders in the fields of music, film, and technology by showcasing innovative projects and hosting discussions during SXSW. In 2018, you’ll experience one-of-a-kind art installations by both established and emerging artists throughout SXSW venues and throughout Austin.

SXSW Art Program

Conductors and Resistance By Ronen Sharabani

About SXSW Art Program


The SXSW Art Program presented by Meural showcases experiential and conceptual visual artworks that apply emerging technologies and immersive environments to spark discovery, inspiration, and connection. Incorporated into the broader ecosystem of creativity and innovation at SXSW, the art program serves as a launching point for collaborations and discussions around the role of visual and digital media arts in culture, technology, and the public realm.

Official selections of the SXSW Art program are chosen on the basis of their ability to enhance the landscape of the SXSW Conferences and Festivals and bring meaningful inspiration, joy, and discovery to attendees. We strive to showcase work from both emerging and established artists whose vision reflects the values of SXSW, including creativity, culture, storytelling, innovation, and social engagement.

The SXSW Art program offers artists a unique platform to show their work within one of the most diverse, collaborative, and inventive communities in the world. Artists will have the opportunity to engage with individuals and organizations across many sectors, while debuting their work in front of the creative communities that converge at SXSW in Austin.

Applications for the 2018 season are now closed.



Meural is the creator of the Meural Canvas, a beautiful and smart art frame that allows users to stream a curated library of art and photography onto the wall. Meural’s platform provides both a new distribution model for visual artists, and a channel of discovery for art lovers everywhere.



Conductors and Resistance by Ronen Sharabani

Austin Convention Center – Meeting Room 3

2018 SXSW Art Program Installation, Conductors of the Resistance By Ronen Sharabani

The project ‘Conductors and Resistance’ (2017) is composed of imagery shot at the back of Sharabani’s studio, which was once an active and flourishing weaving factory. The images depict a weaving machine as well as woolen yarns, which were left behind, alongside electric wires, insinuating the inherent, structured, confusion between conductors and resistance.

Sharabani seeks to use this particular confusion between Conductors and Resistance, to call upon the viewer to increase the currents of action in regions of high resistance. A conflict occurs where the flow of energy is not high enough to yield a reaction, thus compelling human intervention seeking relief for a blocked situation.

This project is supported by United studios Israel \ The-Artery \ BARCO \ NIIO

FEAST by Caitlin Pickall

JW Marriott – Room 305

2018 SXSW Art Program Installation, FEAST by Caitlin Pickall

FEAST is an interactive environment based on a communal dining table. In this multimedia installation, the table serves as projection surface, and a dynamic sound and video program is triggered when people sit at the different seats around the table. Each seat contributes something to the overall effect. Photography, video and archival images related to the cultivation, preparation and consumption of food combine with abstract, computer-generated animations to create a feast for the senses.

FEAST was created by Caitlin Pickall as part of the Laboratory Artist Residency program in Spokane, Washington.

The Future of Secrets by Sarah Newman, Jessica Yurkofsky, and Rachel Kalmar

Fairmont – Verbena Room

2018 SXSW Art Program Installation, Future of Secrets by Sarah Newman, Jessica Yurkofsky, and Rachel Kalmar

Are secrets uniquely​ ​human?​ Our​ ​private​ ​lives ​are mediated and​ ​recorded​ ​by​ ​digital​ ​devices. ​Where​ ​are​ ​our​ ​secrets​ ​now? Where​ ​will​ ​they​ ​be​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future,​ ​and​ ​who—or what—might​ ​read​ ​them?​ ​How​ ​will​ ​intelligent systems​ ​of​ ​the​ ​future​ ​process​ ​the​ ​data ​we​ ​leave​ ​behind?​ ​Will​ ​they​ ​know​ ​things​ ​about​ ​us that​ ​we​ ​don’t​ ​(and​ ​never​ ​could)​ ​know​ ​about​ ​ourselves?

The​ ​Future​ ​of​ ​Secrets​​ ​is​ ​an​ ​interactive​ ​installation​ created by Sarah Newman, Jessica Yurkofsky, and Rachel Kalmar from metaLAB at Harvard. It is an immersive experience that includes sound, projection, and interaction; the installation asks​ ​participants​ ​to​ ​anonymously share​ ​their​ ​secrets ​as​ ​a​ ​way​ ​to​ question​ ​the​ ​trust we​ ​place​ ​in​ ​machines​, and ultimately​ ​reflect​ back​ ​our​ ​own​ ​humanness.​ ​What​ ​does​ ​it​ ​mean for​ ​us​ ​to​ ​share​ ​so​ ​much​ ​of​ ​ourselves​ ​through ​complex ​systems and digitally distributed networks?​ The installation inspires delight, surprise, and reflection while evoking questions about uncertain technological futures.

Life Underground by Herve Cohen

JW Marriott – Room 306

2018 SXSW Art Program Installation, Life Underground by Herve Cohen

Life Underground invites you on a journey through the subways of the world and into the minds of their passengers. Since June 2016, Hervé Cohen has filmed in 14 subways worldwide. Along the way, dozens of passengers confided in him their stories of love, dreams, family, gender, migration, and much more. Life Underground captures the pulse of these vibrant transit environments through deeply personal passenger portrayals, cinematic travel sequences, and an original soundscape composed from the raw sounds of subways. Relying entirely upon chance encounters, Life Underground is a product of empathy and true human engagement. It challenges our notion of public and private space and reminds us that beneath the surface, we’re all connected.

Created by Hervé Cohen with collaborating artist Tonian Irving and music composer Brian Rodvien.
This project is supported by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in The United States.

A Colossal Wave! by Marshmallow Laser Feast

Austin Convention Center – Third Floor Palazzo

Plunge into a sub-aquatic virtual world that reacts to your every action. Sing unique marine “voicefruits” into life. Witness an explosion of colour under VR umbrellas as the giant virtual wave crashes over you. Merging slapstick with immersive technologies, A Colossal Wave! is a mixed reality experience exploring human impact on the natural world. Taking Newton’s third law as its inspiration, A Colossal Wave! serves as a timely reminder that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

A Marshmallow Laser Feast collaboration with Canadian artists Presstube, Dpt., and Headspace Studio. Presented with the support of Arts Council England as part of their Future Art and Culture programme. Originally co-commissioned by the British Council, Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, with additional support from the GREAT Britain campaign.

Art Highlights At SXSW

The lineup of SXSW artists joins numerous speakers, sessions, and events across the entirety of SXSW that showcase innovation, diversity, and creativity in visual and media arts. Organizations and participants doing special events to spotlight conceptual and new media art at SXSW include Meow Wolf, Artprize, and the Contemporary Austin.

A History of Art in 8 Hours presented by Meural

Witness the past, present and future of art as time ticks by. This world premiere exhibit, with new work by artist Eric Corriel, maps the evolution of art on a dynamic wall of Meural digital canvases.

UNESCO Media Arts Exhibition

SXSW is pleased to announce the UNESCO Media Arts Exhibition at SXSW, highlighting Austin’s designation as the only UNESCO Media Arts City in the US, in collaboration with the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division. Hosted March 12-13 as the official art program of the Cities Summit at SXSW, the showcase comprises a mini-exhibition of media art installations and a companion panel discussion highlighting the global initiatives of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Creative Cities Network.

The exhibition will feature:

Modeled after Edison’s Kinetoscope, Forgotten Landscapes by James Hughes and Ha Na Lee connects viewers to the last known locations of missing persons via virtual reality.

Gathering, by Lisa Woods, is an interactive installation that invites participants to use their hands as a canvas for storytelling.

Yuliya Lanina’s Herstory, a motion-activated sculpture featuring a miniaturized and distorted replica of the artist.

Luke Savisky’s Passage (Variation) conjures cinematic memory and perceptual illusion via a three dimensional, virtual passageway emanating from multiple vintage 16mm projectors.

Form into Spirit: Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin

Austin, the monumental last work by renowned American artist Ellsworth Kelly (1923—2015), is a freestanding stone building with luminous colored glass windows that is now part of the Blanton’s permanent collection. The structure has its roots in the artist’s deep appreciation of historical European art and architecture, and this exhibition explores how Austin’s conceptual origins began in the seminal period Kelly spent in France (1948—54), when he immersed himself in the country’s artistic traditions and monuments. Rarely seen early paintings and drawings fuse Judeo-Christian themes with the artist’s own modern aesthetic, making clear Austin’s decades-long germination. This section will also include the first models and designs for the building’s initial conception in the mid-1980s. Four other expansive sections will elucidate Kelly’s rich explorations of Austin’s four main motifs: Spectrum, Black and White, Color Grid, and Totem. These formal concepts were deeply meaningful to him throughout his career, and he created them in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture.

Austin’s Iconoclastic Art Cars: Lyft House at Native Hostel

The Lyft House seeks to inspire and engage with Austin’s vibrant local creative community. Lyft highlights Austin’s signature iconoclastic style with an exhibition of Art Cars. These wild vehicles are icons of the local eccentric art scene, and amazing expressions of unbridled Texan ingenuity. Cars will be exhibited at Lyft House at Native Hostel, 807 E 4th St, Austin on March 16th & 17th.

Speaker Aralyn Hughes will introduce the art car artists and discuss the local creative community during a SXSW Artist Happy Hour 4-6pm on Saturday, March 17th. Widely known as Austin’s “Queen of Weird,” Aralyn Hughes is an icon of the local creative community. She has been making art cars and representing the spirit of Austin for over 40 years.

The Lyft House Art Community Happy Hour will also feature a live painting event by Austin mural crew Watson Murals.


The idea for “Convergent Visions” took root in the halls of SXSW in 2017. After a mind-boggling keynote delivered by biochemist Jennifer Doudna, Faesthetic (Art Zine) publisher Dustin Hostetler (aka UPSO) and creative director Karen Ingram bumped into Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer of SXSW. This chance meeting sparked a conversation between Karen and Dustin that became a collaborative effort with the SXSW Art Program.

“Convergent Visions” probes various areas in science and technology through an artistic lens. Overarching themes include Design, Health and Wellness, Social Impact and the Intelligent Future become realized through the creativity vibrating and flowing from the minds and fingers of 30 international artists and designers.

With a nod to Donna Haraway’s characterization of the emerging and many-tentacled epoch of the Chthulucene, “Convergent Visions” showcases the visions of these talented creatives.

“Ethics and Responsibility Come not Just with Human Rights but in Tandem with Events and Human Impact.”

Meow Wolf

Meow Wolf hits light-speed on course to SXSW. The Santa Fe based arts group, famous for their House of Eternal Return, will transport you into a colorful dimension of story and exploration throughout the SXSWeek. Registrants can expect an experience into the magical earthship that is Meow Wolf. Full details of their participation will be announced in unique and creative ways leading up to the event.

The Living Museum

At this year’s SXSW get ready to be taken on an unforgettable experience. New Dutch Wave proudly invites The Notorious Art Collector of Amsterdam to present The Living Museum.

In the museum The Notorious Art Collector takes the lucky ones on a +- 60 minute tour presenting an exhilarating mix of the avant-garde art, music, fashion, technology and performance. In a compelling whirlwind, be ensured of an immersive experience of music and art, a visual delight in which all senses are tingled. An experience created in collaboration with groundbreaking Dutch artists, these innovators of the art scene make multidisciplinary cross-overs and give a new meaning to the word museum.

Rodney McMillian: Against a Civic Death

February 1 – August 26, 2018
The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center 700 Congress Avenue
Tues through Sat 11 am-7 pm Sun 12-5 pm
Closed Mondays

The inaugural exhibition of The Contemporary Austin’s Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize, Against a Civic Death features newly commissioned, recent, and site-specific work by Los Angeles-based artist Rodney McMillian, exploring themes of class, gender, race, social history, and culture. Bifurcated into the colors and themes of whiteness on the first floor and blackness on the second floor—white supremacism and black progressive politics —the exhibition includes paintings, sculptural installations, video, and sound-based pieces that further the artist’s ongoing social critique of American histories and injustices.

Ai Weiwei: Forever Bicycles

Through December 2018
The Contemporary Austin – Museum Without Walls Waller Delta, 74 Trinity Street
Always on view

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is considered one of the most important and influential artists working today and one of the leading cultural figures of his generation. Drawing on current global politics, Chinese culture, human rights, and more, Ai pushes the definition of art into new realms, consistently placing himself at risk to effect social change through work that is permeated by social conscience, humor, and compassion.

As part of The Contemporary Austin’s Museum Without Walls program and in partnership with the Waller Creek Conservancy, Ai Weiwei’s large-scale sculpture Forever Bicycles can be seen on a lawn at the Waller Delta, along a downtown stretch of Austin’s popular hike and bike trail. Incorporating more than 1,200 bicycles assembled into a gorgeous, dizzying sculpture, Forever Bicycles takes as its subject the Forever brand bicycle, once ubiquitous on the streets of Beijing. A means of both transportation and social mobility and a coveted luxury item when the artist was growing up in China, in contemporary times the Forever bicycle has given way to aspirations of car ownership.

15K ArtPrize Artist Challenge

Come hear five artists from around the country pitch their ideas for ambitious art installations they hope to create at ArtPrize 10 on Calder Plaza, in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Each artist will present for five minutes, using up to five slides to describe their proposal to a live audience and a panel of five judges. One artist receives a $15,000 grant to install the project at ArtPrize 10, slated to take place from September 19 to October 7, 2018. At ArtPrize, the project will compete for $500,000 in prizes determined by jury and public vote.

Location: Michigan House
700 Trinity, Austin, TX 78701
Date and Time: March 12, 2018 | 5 p.m.

SXSW Art Session Highlights

AI Creativity in Art, Neuroscience, and the Law
Beyond Bars: Art and Incarceration
Breaking the 4th Wall: Drone Swarms in Art
Decrypting the Universe: Science and Art at CERN
Immerse Yourself: AR & VR in Museum and the Arts
LET’S GET REAL: Practical Uses of Art & Science
Life Underground: Meet Subway Riders of the World
Radical Public Space: A New Design Approach
Why Machine Learning is the Next Frontier for Art
Place by Design: Art, Tech & Interaction


Register to Attend SXSW 2018

Join us for unparalleled discovery, networking, and inspiration at the 2018 SXSW Conference & Festivals in Austin, Texas from March 9-18.

Register Now

Contact Us to Exhibit

Interested in exhibiting at SXSW? Fill out the form to get in touch with a SXSW representative.

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Advisory Board


The SXSW Art Program advisory board is comprised of leaders from all backgrounds in The Arts and Creative Sector. Board members include representatives of the community such as artists, curators, and event professionals from all over the world, each offering unique and diverse perspectives.

They lend their industry expertise as they evaluate the art program’s proposals to assist SXSW Art Program selections. These individuals are instrumental to the success of the SXSW Art Program and their hard work, diligence, and support in shaping our program is very appreciated.

SXSW 2018 Advisory Board Members

Andi Scull Cheatham

Executive Producer, HOPE Events Inc

Andrea Mellard

Director of Public Programs & Public Engagements, The Contemporary Austin

Andria Hickey

Senior Curator, MOCA Cleveland

Ariel Saldivar

Vice President in Artist Relations, Twyla

Bettina Korek

Commissioner, Los Angeles Arts Commission,
Founder of ForYourArt

Bill Shapiro

Former Editor-in-Chief at LIFE Magazine

Elena Soboleva

Curator of Special Projects, Artsy

Hank Willis Thomas

Artist, Hank Willis Thomas Studio

Jamie Bennett

Executive Director, ArtPlace America

Jean-Christophe Harel

Business Development Executive

Jesse Sachs

Senior Strategist, Versus Creative

Josette Melchor

Executive Director & Found of

Julia Kaganskiy

Director, New Inc

Justin Bolognino

Chief Experience Officer, META: The Art of Being There

Kim Cook

Director, Art & Civic Engagement, Burning Man

Lana Carlson

Founder & Curator, POP Austin

Marshall Birnbaum

Director, Summit Arts Foundation

Morgan Catalina

Principal + Creative Director, Out-Of-Office

Robert Kloos

Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

Sara Fitzmaurice

CEO & President, FITZ & CO

Zoe Crosher


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