“EAST VERSUS WEST” The great development of digital media in Far East and more generally in the non/western (Europe/USA) cultures challenges the early asset of the digital cultures. What’s happening today? What’s the “state of the art” of relationships, exchanges between East & West, and differences in the digital global society?
Saturday, 17 September, 2011 - 13:00 - 14:30
Chair Person: 
Lorenzo Taiuti
Ekmel Ertan
Dia Hamed
Venzha Christ
Willem Velthoven

Chair: Prof. Lorenzo Taiuti


- Let’s start from the title of the panel.

- In Europe the other/cultures were traditionally defined as eastern, Oriental, far out, a way of defining that establishes our borderlines and present in different ways in all cultures, since all cultures start from themselves.

- So it’s important to change the “Geographic” definition that underlines  distance and re-place it with a moving mind geography rhizome/like & multi/centres, beyond any post/colonialist and any self centered cultures.

- The great developement of digital media in the east and more generally in the non/western cultures challenges the early asset of the digital cultures.

- Not only Silicon Valley, Japan and Europe ( the source developers of the 80’s), but many other cultures with a cross over of points of view ( and new uses of digital cultures) that change the old digital geography.

- The panel will try to make a point about what’s happening today, and what’s the “state of the art” of relationships and exchanges between East & West, and what are the differencies in the digital global society.

- We start from those points to confront positions and interrogate experiences of work and collaboration between East and  West on issues of creativity and sharing.

- The ties have been made on mutual interests and cultural synergies from Cairo “Medrar for contemporary art” and Barcellona’s “Hangar”, Amsterdam “Waag” and Indonesia’s “Honf”, and from “Mediamatic” on islamic cultures in Europe, between “Amber Festival” in Istanbul with Europe and different cultures of the east.

- “East & West” interrogates as well the assumption that digital “parifies” cultures and tries to re-assume  the data of cultural differencies, and of the changements on the early ideas of the “digital culture” of the 90’s. Beyond the myth of unfailing global comunications, we might find different layered ways of creating comunication and creativity through digital exchange.

- “East & West” would like to indicate new solutions or underlines the solutions that seem to fit better with a new cultural pattern where the geographic directions are right & left & everywhere.

- Digital languages seem to be the “immaterial” “melting pot” that traces, in the contexts of contemporary comunications and contemporary art, similarities and contrasts of the different global cultures.

In recent happenings in Egypt and Tunisia the use of technologies it’s been strong and visible.

Social networks like Facebook, Google, Youtube have been used in many ways as well as it was usual to see women using cellular phones taking videos during manifestations.

One of the deads during the clashes in Cairo, Ahmed Basiony, was a young artist using digital media for installations. One of them it’s a very  interesting questioning of the digital language “Ascii not speak arabic”, where the shadows of the viewers make appear arabic letters on a screen covered by ascii code.

There is a growing number of workshops, labs, festivals going on involving contemporary art and digital all over the “East” of the world.

It will be a charming perspective to see what will come out of those new energies and cultures involved in the field of digital languages.

The panel wants to bring people together to interrogate the actual activities, create new ideas and collaborations, incite creativity, new dialogues and try to foresee what’s happening in a new global digital culture where geographic definitions are changing but cultures maintain their singularities. 

Paper Abstracts

Digital Art in Turkey

by Prof. Ekmel Ertan

I will try to give a brief vision of the digital art scene in Turkey. I will talk about the reflections of social and cultural current state on the digital art scene in our local and the region. I will try to explain why the state of the consumption and usage of the current digital technologies in daily life does not have a corresponding effect in the art scene."

Open Lab Egypt

by Dia Hamed


As abbreviated “OLE”, Open Lab Egypt is a long-term project meant to establish a laboratory for the development of digital arts in Egypt, promoting the use of Open Source tools in audiovisual creation. It aims to raise a local community in Cairo of autonomous people that can start a support for production of interactive environments and electronic interfaces in the future, using all the accessible technologies that might be necessary. The project is intended for art students, artists, designers, educators, engineers, and scientists contributing to the development of cultural production in local communities of the Arabic speaking regions.

Medrar for Contemporary Art

“Medrar” is a nonprofit organization that started running activities since 2005. It represents a common cultural corporate and philanthropic platform for young emerging artists in all means of communication, developing experiences and financial support. Considering the necessity to document the ongoing Contemporary praxis in Egypt and critique based methods, Medrar aims to drive the interest of emerging artists with providing chances of accession and experimentation. We believe we can stimulate the artistic scene in Egypt by focusing on the organization of workshops and festivals that would encourage participation of new faces, locally and internationally. As an artist running based initiative, we are always seeking the upcoming potentials of creativity.


by Venzha Christ

Circle of Satan 3.0 / HONF

Circle of Satan is a platform for exchanges, meetings, sharing, discussions and common thinking. It expresses the struggle and disadvantage of a developing country. Whenever opportunity arises, another obstacle defeats progress, in either the form of natural disaster or human corruption. Indonesia still remains one of the poorest nations, with a substantial lack of technology for the public. Is there still a dream possible in the face of chaotic infrastructure, corruption, deforestation, illegal logging, the Pacific ring of fire, sweatshops and globalization. http://www.natural-fiber.com/ . circle of satan / COS have been presented in slovenia, finland, rumania, hong kong, japan, malaysia, singapore, germany, france, netherlands, austria, czech republic, canada, australia, taiwan, china, hungary, lithuania, spain, n so on and (of course) (especially) in lots of universities n communities in indonesia :)


Why we love Aliens

by Willem Velthoven

Mediamatic's core focus is on art and new technologies. Yet a recurring theme in our programming is non-dutch / non-western exchanges. Velthoven will demonstrate how this is a logical combination.

Bios of the Participants

Lorenzo Taiuti

Lorenzo Taiuti lives in Rome. He’s been teaching Art and Media since mid 80’s in several Art Academies and Universities in Turin, Milan and Rome. He published several books on art and media: “Art and Media-Avantgards and mass comunications” 1996, “Dreaming Bodies - Art in the age of digital” 2001, “Multimedia- The cross over of comunication languages” 2005.

Essays in several books and catalogues: “From Videoart to Interactive Art” 1999, “E-Learning- Art and Didactics on the Net” 2004,  “From Land Art to Bioart” 2007- “Art from presentation to rappresentation” 2010 - Academy of San Luca, “Art and Digital” Encyclopedia Treccani  2010. Writings on art and media on several italian art magazines and webmagazines, “Art and Critic”, “Juliet”, “D’Ars”, “Drome”,”Digimag”, “Noema”, “Exibart”, “Artribune” etc... Organization of media shows and meetings in Torino, Milan and Rome. Creative works on video and conception of interactive installations and websites, “ImmagineRete”, “Dorkbotroma”, “Jasmine Memory”.
Editor’s website: http://www.feltrinelli.it

Ekmel Ertan

Ekmel Ertan works as an artist, curator and educator. Ertan is the founder and artistic director of Istanbul based BIS, Beden-İşlemsel Sanatlar Derneği (Body-Process Arts Association), which is a research and production platform – also known as amberPlatform - on art and new technologies. Ertan has been the curator and director of the annual “amber Art and Technology Festival” since its inception in 2007 in Istanbul. He is the initiator of amberConference, the only Science, Technology and Art Conference in Turkey. He has curated many local and international exhibitions and performances. Ertan is also working as the site coordinator of several international projects based in Turkey and Europe in the field of art and technology.

Ertan has exhibited his photography work at La Mama Gallery in 1997, in 2003 in New York and Turkey. He has also exhibited his new media installations and cooperative performance works in several local and international venues.

Ertan received his BSc degree in Electronics / Communication Engineering from Istanbul Technical University and his MA degree on Interactive Media Design from Yıldız Technical University. He worked as a design and test engineer on telecommunication systems in Turkey, Germany and Belgium. He started a multimedia design company in 1997 in Istanbul. Between 1999 and 2006, he taught multimedia / visual communication design at Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul Technical University, Yıldız Technical University and since 2006 he has been teaching at Sabancı University.

Dia Hamed

Dia Hamed was born in Cairo, studied Art Education in “Helwan University” and lives and works in Cairo as an artist. Instead of being devoted to a certain discipline, he kept exploring through wide variety of praxis like theater (performing, creation and scenography), and then realizing creation of his projects within the context of Egyptian contemporary art. During studies, he practiced acting, dancing and percussion for theater in university festivals and other cultural events till 2006. Later on he took part with live performance art works in “Salon El Shabab” 17th  & 18th as well as Sabeel performance meetings in the Townhouse gallery 2007/08, subsequently redirected to experimenting interactivity in public spaces with his latest projects “situation-complication” & “Native Tourists”. He cofounded Studio Moroni theater group, Sabeel project and Medrar for contemporary art in which he currently working as its projects’ director, also with Berlin based Company “Rimini Protokol” for documentary theater production as an assistant director.

Venzha Christ

Venzha Christ (1975), male, Indonesia, 1996 graduated from interior design faculty (BA), Indonesia Institute of the Arts (ISI). Focus on new media art since 1999, and built HONF, yogyakarta new media art laboratory’ www.natural-fiber.com , that was produced and organized lot of projects such as public art installation, media performance, media art festival, technology research, videowork festival, workshops, discussion, DIY gathering, electronic and media culture movement, etc. Venzha is founder of HONF, Education Focus Program (EFP) platform, and electrocore sound project. He and community were presenting media art projects in many places and country worldwide. Venzha is a conceptor and director also for YIVF (Yogyakarta International Videowork Festival) and CELLSBUTTON (Yogyakarta International Media Art Festival), which produced by HONF every year.

Willem Velthoven

Willem Velthoven (1958) studied art history and visual communcation in Groningen, NL, where he also was one of the founders of Mediamatic. He is still leading this organisation that is now based in Amsterdam.