FutureFantastic, an exciting and ambitious new AI+Arts festival, conceptualised by Jaaga’s BeFantastic (Bengaluru, India), in collaboration with FutureEverything (Manchester, UK), will be hosted between 24-26 26 March 2023 in Bangalore. The festival is a part of the India/UK Together, Season of Culture – that celebrates India’s 75th anniversary and builds on the British Council’s commitment to creating opportunities between the two countries. It celebrates the remarkable relationship between two nations and explores our arts and cultures, our shared planet, and our relationship with new digital technologies that will shape our shared future together.
FutureFantastic is a festival of artworks, performances, gaming and installations created in collaboration between artists across India and the UK using Artificial Intelligence that convey the urgency of the climate emergency. With its global collaborations and AI art commissions featuring artists from India, the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Korea and the USA, among others, FutureFantastic invites us to consider the complexities of the climate crisis and seek a path forward towards a more sustainable future across the world.
Jonathan Kennedy, Director Arts – India, British Council, said, “We are thrilled that FutureFantastic is a part of our ongoing ‘India/UK Together Season of Culture’. Climate change is the most urgent global challenge of our time. The FutureFantastic festival is perhaps the world’s first AI and Arts festival with artists in CreaTec and performing arts from Bengaluru and Manchester, and around the world collaborating to create innovative new pieces of art, games and immersive digital and live performance experiences addressing water conservation, a torrent of waste and endangered habitats. We are delighted to support such fabulously exciting emerging tec-artists in addressing the most urgent questions of our time, through creativity and digital inspiration, led by two brilliant women at the forefront of the scene Kamya Ramachandran and Irini Papadimitriou.”
Across venues in Bengaluru the festival invites audiences to experience and interact with innovative, AI-powered interactive artworks, as well as to investigate the role of art and technology through panel discussions and workshops led by experts in technology, arts, and climate action. It is the result of international fellowships and collaborations between emerging and seasoned artists and technologists from around the world, focusing on climate action through various forms of artistic practice such as interactive installations and performances. The focus of the festival is to find potential creative solutions to the climate crisis by asking the questions of how AI Art can create a personal and emotional connection to the impacts of climate change and how it can help us envisioning a climate-positive future.
Kamya Ramachandran, Founder Director, Be Fantastic, said, “This is a moment to mark within the city where a techart 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 and are delighted to have the support of partners like British Council and Rohini and Nandan Nilekani Philanthropies. It is a new landscape of TechArt, and where better than Bangalore- the tech and innovation hub of the country to debut such work?”
Irini Papadimitriou, Creative Director, Future Everything, said, “As part of the British Council’s India/UK Together Season of Culture, I am delighted to be a part of the launch of FutureFantastic, a first-of-its-kind AI and Arts festival in India that brings together technology, art, and culture to address the shared climate emergency we face. Since 1995, FutureEverything has been exploring the intersection of technology, art, and culture, and we are excited to bring this expertise to Bengaluru. We believe that collaborative creative production has the potential to amplify a global response to the climate emergency by co-creating possible solutions with organisations and communities. As active global citizens, we can shape a radical, open, and hopeful shared future.”
Archana Prasad, CoCurator, Future Fantastic says: “In Bangalore, the convergence of science, technology, and the arts occurs amidst a rich history of research labs and academic institutions, and a vibrant community of grassroots contemporary arts organizations. This fertile landscape fosters a stong techart scene with a heady mix of artists, designers, technologists, researchers, and activists. It has made Bangalore an inviting place for intellectuals and creators from across the globe to meet, learn and collaborate, culminating in the birth and presentation of a cutting-edge festival like FutureFantastic.in.”
The festival features homegrown and international artworks and performances, including works by Madhu Natraj, Nicole Seiler, Jake Elwes, and BeFantastic Within. It also offers “Conversations between experts and enthusiasts in the fields of art, technology, and climate,” which will explore how AI Art can best help generate public awareness around environmental issues. TechArt workshops aim to debunk myths about AI technology, art, and climate change, and offer simple yet effective methods for understanding and responding to the climate emergency. Elsewhere in India, cultural heritage is on the verge of extinction, combining the thrill of a live performance with the excitement of a video game experience.
The festival includes curated artworks by internationally recognised artists, as well as nine commissioned pieces created by collaborative artist groups from the BeFantastic Fellowship programmes. The headline performance by Madhu Natraj, an Indian contemporary dance choreographer, Jia-Yu Liu, a UK-based media artist, and Bjoern Lengers, a German CreaTech artist, Give me a Sign, will trigger stories about the fears of a rapidly changing climate. Asthir Gehrayee (Unstable Depth) is an audiovisual artwork inspired by the ocean and its more-than-human inhabitants.
The Goethe-Institut / Max Muller Bhavan Bangalore, The Rohini & Nandan Nilekani Philanthropies, and The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, New Delhi are among the organisations providing support for the festival in addition to The British Council. The festival is getting ready to host itself on the metaverse, truly uniting the virtual and real worlds.
About the British Council
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021–22, we reached 650 million people. britishcouncil.org
About India/UK Together, a Season of Culture
India/UK Together, a Season of Culture is a year-long celebration of the long-standing relationship between India and the UK. Marking India’s 75th anniversary, the Season of Culture will see a vast programme of creative collaboration, education and cultural exchange take place online, and in cities across both countries. Working with a number of partners and institutions in the field of Arts, Education and English, the British Council is developing a programme of cultural activity which will bring together people in both countries, raise awareness around key real-world issues, and strengthen and celebrate the UK and India’s educational and cultural ties. For more information on India/UK Together, a Season of Culture, please visit www.britishcouncil.in