Genius at work

  • 2004-08-12
  • By Andrei Tuch
TALLINN - There is a school of thought according to which, if the prehistoric human that invented the wheel was to be transported to the present day and taught what we now know, he would then be able to make the next great breakthrough discovery. The spark of genius, as well as the spark of creativity, is an inherent ability to look at things and find ingenious new ways to use them.

A decade or two ago UNESCO organized the first in a series of events focusing on creativity applied to cutting-edge materials. Since then, the International Symposium on Electronic Arts has traveled across the world, bringing together the visionaries of new media for a few days of discussion, performance, mutual evaluation and stimulated thinking.
This year, the ISEA is pioneering a notion that has been widely discussed but never deemed feasible - the unification of Tallinn and Helsinki into a single metropolis. The event will begin with the Koneisto electronic music festival in Finland where on Aug. 15, the entire party will board a Baltic ferry for an overnight cruise to Mariehamn and Stockholm. When the raving sea-goers return to shore, the symposium will continue in both cities and employ new technology to reduce the Gulf of Finland to a river, crossed effortlessly.
During all of this hoop-la postmodernist artists, social scientists and hi-tech musicians will be taking over several venues throughout Tallinn, including the Kosmos cinema, the Estonian Academy of Arts building and the Rotterman Salt Warehouse, as well as a host of art galleries. The ground-based conference kicks off on Aug. 17, with a discussion on wearable technologies. And while this evokes mental imagery of people hopelessly attempting to carry their PCs on their bodies in millennium fashion, it is in fact much more sophisticated than that - at least the postmodernist artists like to think so.
At the same time, a number of artists from around the world will be performing their presentations and presenting their performances on topics ranging from media tactics to media strategies and from surveillance to cartography. Don't worry if you're a bit confused, postmodernists aren't supposed to make any sense.
The event continues on Aug. 18 with a few more rounds of discussion, and commences with a party at Club BonBon showcasing the best novel forms of music from around the world. And that's the greatest thing about the ISEA conference. It brings together dozens upon dozens of the most creative, forward-thinking people on the planet. In an atmosphere like that, who knows what could happen?
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