Monday, January 29, 2018


Partnership to support Austin’s UNESCO Media Arts Designation and
SXSW’s inaugural Cities Summit Program

AUSTIN, TX— January 29, 2018—The City of Austin Cultural Arts Division and SXSW announce the UNESCO Media Arts Showcase at SXSW. Hosted March 12-13, as an official part of SXSW’s art program and its new Cities Summit, 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 mission of the Cities Summit to “..foster collaboration between civic leaders and creative urbanists of all disciplines to learn, strategize, and form coalitions to transform the cities of tomorrow” aligns with the goals of Austin’s UNESCO designation, creating a natural partnership and perfect synergy for the City and SXSW.

“Austin, the only U.S. city with a UNESCO Media Arts designation, is globally celebrated for its innovative and collaborative community bridging the fields of art and technology,” said Cultural Arts Division manager Meghan Wells. “For years, SXSW has showcased the talent and innovation of interactive, music, and film industries and has served as an international hub for creative exchange. We are pleased to partner with them to spotlight Austin’s media arts initiatives through the lens of the esteemed UNESCO Creative Cities Network.”

“The Cities Summit at SXSW explores the future of cities by celebrating their creativity, culture, and technology,” adds Julie Yost, SXSW Conference Programmer for Design and Cities Summit. “There is no better city to host such a media arts exhibition than Austin, our city whose leadership in the arts, innovation and forward-thinking policies is an inspiration around the world. We’re thrilled to collaborate with the Cultural Arts Division and showcase local new media artists to the international audience of SXSW.”

The UNESCO Media Arts Showcase at SXSW, hosted at the Four Seasons Austin on March 12-13, will feature installations by local artists or artist teams whose work explores the intersection of art and technology:

· 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 interactive, 360-degree virtual reality videos featuring Austin landscapes.

· Gathering, by Lisa Woods, is an interactive installation that invites participants to use their hands as a canvas for storytelling. The work explores group portraiture and participatory art, and celebrates how technology can help tell stories in new ways.

· Yuliya Lanina's Herstory, a motion-activated sculpture featuring a miniaturized and distorted replica of the artist, embodies humor, compassion, and silent sorrow— an examination of the human condition. An accompanying fiddler bunny in a golden dress plays original music by Yevgeniy Sharlat.

· Luke Savinsky’s Passage (Variation) conjures cinematic memory and perceptual illusion via a three dimensional, virtual passageway made of flickering multi-layered white light, emanating from multiple vintage 16mm projectors.

· Visitors to the Media Arts Showcase will also have an opportunity to discover two cutting-edge art installations on view in Austin: Wander, recently launched by artists Chris Gannon, Chadwick Wood and Brockett Davidson, is an interactive, choose-your-own adventure installation featuring a sculptural beacon and mobile-optimized web app that takes visitors throughout downtown Austin. Jonathan Chomko and Matthew Rosier’s Shadowing a public art installation that utilizes city streetlights to capture and project shadows of passersby, will be on view in select locations around the city during the SXSW festival.

Panel Discussion
In tandem with the exhibition, a panel discussion be held March 12 at 2PM at the Four Seasons. The session will explore the role of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and the individual and joint initiatives of its members to promote creativity and cultural industries, strengthen participation in cultural life, and assure the integration of culture into urban development plans.

Participating panelists will include:

· Meghan Wells, Manager, Austin Cultural Arts Division (UNESCO City of Media Arts- Austin)

· Patrick Bartos, CEO, Creative Region, Linz & Upper Austria (UNESCO City of Media Arts-Linz)

· Kevin Reilly, Creative Software and Hardware Engineer, Founding Partner of the new media arts vûrv collective; With vûrv collective, Reilly represented Austin at the 2017 Gwangju Cultural Foundation Meeting and Artist Exchange Exhibition

The Media Arts Exhibition and accompanying panel are part of SXSW convergence programming and will be open to Music, Film, Interactive and Platinum badge holders of SXSW Conference and festivals.


About the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division
The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin. More at

About SXSW
SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. More at

About the UNESCO Creative Cities Network
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 180 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

Art, Art, and more Art


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