In addition to the art installations, SXSW is proud to promote our impressive range of programming that further showcases innovators at the heart of visual arts and storytelling. Listed below are highlights of the Conference sessions and Film Festival screenings that speak to art, design and the creative process – plus local art happenings.
Hack Creativity with Neuroscience, Arts and Tech (Panel)
Adam Horowitz – MIT and Elisa Gijsen – FLAGCX
What happens when we face a blank sheet? Creativity, like much else, can be hacked and optimized by adding method to the madness, and madness to the method. FLAGCX paired up with Adam Haar Horowitz, an MIT neuroscience researcher and artist. We’ll understand how the creative process happens in our brains and how science and art are intersecting to probe unexplored heights: the self, space, sound and much more. As we love to open sources, there’ll be a lot of creative frameworks available to test; ex. the Self-Curatorship Matrix, a method for organising and mapping our own references and stimulating connections between them for new insights; and Neocognitron, a system to stimulate synapses.
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Museums of the Future (Panel)
Hélène Alonso- American Museum of Natural History, Karen Wong – New Museum, Vivian Trakinski – American Museum of Natural History
Are museums meant to become theme parks for knowledge and inspiration? How can these cabinets of curiosities, connect to an audience that looks more and more for immersion and adventure? How can our physical collections come to life in a digital world?
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#Laugh: Creating Art Among the Stars (Dual)
Jason Dunn – Made in Space and Eyal Gever
World renowned artist Eyal Gever and Made In Space, Inc. founder & Chief Technology Officer, Jason Dunn discuss the inspiration and challenges of Gever’s vision to create humanity’s first sculpture in space. With Gever’s keen artistic sense, and Made In Space’s expertise in space based manufacturing, the two have come together to deliver something to the world that everyone can relate to: #Laugh.
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Conversation with Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot (Featured Session)
Nadya Tolokonnikova – Pussy Riot
Nadezhda (Nadya) Tolokonnikova is a Russian conceptual artists and political activist. She is the founding member of the art collective Pussy Riot. In August 2012, she was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment following an anti-Putin performance in Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Shortly after the release in December 2013, she announced the opening of Mordovia office of Zona Prava, a prisoners’ rights NGO, and in September 2014 started the independently owned independent news service, MediaZona, which has since partnered with The Guardian. She has spoken before the US Congress, British Parliament, and has appeared on stage with world leaders including Bill Clinton. In November 2014 she met with Julian Assange in London and became a board member of his Courage Foundation. Tolokonnikova is a Lennon Ono Grant for Peace recipient, and appeared as herself with President Frank Underwood on season three of House of Cards and performed the Pussy Riot song “Refugees In” as part of Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition, the latest song is “Chaika”.”
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Sci-Fi by Design: The Speculative Revolution (Panel)
Ashley Baccus-Clark – Hyphen-Labs, Carmen Aguilar y Wedge – Hyphen-Labs, Jake Dunagan – verynice, Phil Balagtas – GE Aviation
Hear from artists, designers and scientists using future forecasting theory and technologies to visualize and create alternate future scenarios. Through VR, site-specific installation, art and performance, these panelists demonstrate the power of speculative design to influence policy and drive social change. Panelists include the artists behind Neurospeculative Afrofeminism, an experiential VR installation envisioning the future of women of color, and a policy scientist who deploys future forecasting to reimagine government policies and efficacy.
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Films of Interest
Director/Screenwriter: Alexandre O. Philippe
A feature-length documentary about the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, 78/52 takes an unprecedented look at the ‘man behind the curtain’ and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.
Divine Divas (Brazil) (North American Premiere)
Director: Leandra Leal, Screenwriters: Carol Benjamin, Leandra Leal, Lucas Paraizo, Natara Ney
Eight iconic performers of the first generation of Brazilian transvestite artists go on stage to celebrate their 50th career jubilee. The film depicts the human, personal dimension behind these icons, deconstructing gender stereotypes.
MFA (World Premiere)
Director: Natalia Leite, Screenwriter: Leah Mckendrick
The accidental death of her rapist sets an art student on a course for justice, fueling the inspiration for her thesis exhibition. Cast: Francesca Eastwood, Clifton Collins Jr, Peter Vack, Leah Mckendrick, Marlon Young, David Sullivan, Michael Welch
Muppet Guys Talking – Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched (World Premiere)
Director: Frank Oz
Five of the original Muppet performers come together for the first time ever to share behind-the-scenes secrets of the Muppets. Includes rare performance footage, surprising stories and insights into how Jim led his team to produce legendary work.
Paa Joe & The Lion (Ghana, United Kingdom) (North American Premiere)
Director: Benjamin Wigley
A true story about the art of love and death. A thought provoking and cinematic documentary film rooted in the universal themes of love, death and legacy set against one of the most beautiful art-forms in the world – Ghana’s very own fantasy coffin.
The Secret Life of Lance Letscher (World Premiere)
Director: Sandra Adair
Witness the collision of memory, color, and chaos in this unprecedented journey through the visionary mind of collage artist Lance Letscher.
Spettacolo (World Premiere)
Directors: Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen, Screenwriter: Chris Shellen
Once upon a time there was a tiny hill town in Tuscany that found a remarkable way to confront their issues – they turned their lives into a play.
Todrick Hall Documentary (World Premiere)
Director: Katherine Fairfax Wright
After building an empire on YouTube, Todrick Hall leaps beyond his comfort zone and deep within his own backstory to create his most dazzling and vital work yet, but with only a few weeks and a few coins, will he crush it or will it crush him?
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Local Art Happenings
HOPE Outdoor Gallery Walls
Sunday, March 12 – Wednesday, March 15
Austin Convention Center – Trade Show Floor
Stop by the SXSW exhibition to view art walls brought to you by the HOPE Outdoor Gallery, the Creative community art park located in downtown Austin, TX. This educational project is managed by the non-profit HOPE Events and was officially launched in March 2011 with the help of contemporary artist Shepard Fairey. It is the only art park of its kind in the USA and was developed to provide muralists, street artists, arts education classes and community groups the opportunity to display outdoor art pieces driven by inspirational, positive & educational messaging.
Over the past 6 years the scope of the HOPE Outdoor Gallery has broadened based on the response from local families, community members and the Austin Creative Class. It has become an inspirational outlet and creative destination for all that come to visit and is recognized as one of the Top 10 Artistic destinations in Texas.
The HOPE Outdoor Gallery is brought to the community by HOPE Events & the HOPE Campaign – Helping Artist & Musicians Support Education by Connecting Creatives with Causes.
Photo: The HOPE Outdoor Gallery courtesy of HOPE Events & the HOPE Campaign.
Jim Hodges: With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress), 2014 – 2016
The Moody Rooftop at the Jones Center (700 Congress Street)
The Contemporary Austin recently unveiled a major new art installation on the rooftop of its downtown Jones Center location. Touching on universal themes of justice, equality, community, and the underserved, With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress) is also an elegant and visually beautiful artistic statement. Floating above the roof’s parapet and visible from the street, surrounding buildings, and the roof deck itself, the sculpture is composed of seven-foot-high colorful letters, glimmering with iridescent dichroic film, lit from within by LED lights, and stretching nearly 145 feet across the museum’s prominent south- and east-facing facades.
Hodges created With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress) as an open-ended platform. He noted that the multiple interpretations and conversations that the piece may elicit are as integral to the work of art as are the materials with which it was constructed, and he hopes that the piece will prompt questions and dialogue both within the museum and among the Austin community as a whole, particularly among individuals who may not otherwise engage with contemporary art.
Photo: Jim Hodges, With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress), 2014–2016. Stainless steel, Dichrolam, acrylic, enamel paint, and LED lights. Installed, 84 x 1,737 x 10 inches. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – The Moody Rooftop at the Jones Center, Austin, Texas, 2016. Artwork © Jim Hodges. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. Image © The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons.
Calder Kamin: Plastic Planet
SXSW Social Good Hub (Techspace, 35 Brazos St.)
Plastic is everywhere. The man-made substance litters roads, fills oceans and has entered the tissue of all living things. Humans transformed nature to make our lives more convenient, only to leave a massive mess for the next generation. What are the steps to solve this crisis? Like the scavenger animals Calder Kamin sculpts, she collects a variety of colored plastic bags from her friends and family. She strips and twists the bags until they fold into a texture like fur or grass, and meticulously applies each piece. With the help of Kamin’s extended community, the Plastic Planet series diverted thousands of plastic bags from the environment.
XYZ Atlas: Congress Avenue
XYZ Atlas asks why we feel a sense of belonging to a place by mapping experiences and collecting stories that document our highs and lows within a city.
XYZ Atlas is an interactive public art project. We create art, maps and activations that inform community health and well-being, urban planning, and cultural tourism with diverse outreach strategies.
In March and April 2017, the Downtown Austin Alliance has commissioned “XYZ Atlas: Congress Avenue,” between Lady Bird Lake and the State Capitol in the heart of downtown.
Look for digital and sculptural interactive art that asks about your memorable experiences on Congress Avenue, a place rich with history and future. Anchor locations for installations are between Cesar Chavez on the south to the Old Bakery and Emporium on the north.
Look for our online survey for Congress Avenue experiences at XYZatlas.org/survey.
XYZ Atlas – Photo by Hedonic Arcscene
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