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An international showroom for the future that brings together the creative minds and pioneers of the new digital ecosystem. A festival with three exciting micro-conferences that ask the basic questions – who, what and how – regarding our digital future. The first “Frankfurt Creative AI Conference”. Inspiring keynote talks by national and international speakers such as Galit Ariel, JiaJia Fei and Frank Thelen, and exceptional performances by the “cyborg” Moon Ribas, holographic popstar Maya Kodes and 3D Drum Girl LIZZY – THE ARTS+ 2018: “Future of Culture Festival” is all this and more.

This year, the festival will take place for the third time as part of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, in Hall 4.1, from 10 to 14 October 2018. THE ARTS+ is committed to shaping the digital and cultural ecosystem. “How does our understanding of culture and creativity change when it comes from machines? What will be our cultural legacy for future generations? Who will cultivate and curate it, and how? These are questions we will discuss at THE ARTS+ – with politicians, museums, media companies, creatives, designers and pioneers from the technology and economic sector”, says Holger Volland, Head of THE ARTS+ and Vice President of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, explaining the concept of the festival. For 2018, the theme is: Cultural Heritage of Tomorrow.

At the opening of THE ARTS+ on Wednesday, 10 October 2018, Holger Volland and prominent speakers such as Alexander Mankowsky (futurologist at Daimler AG), Dirk Heitmann (IBM Chief Digital Officer) and author Tom Hillenbrand will dive deep into the future, offering their input on our “desirable” digital future in inspiring keynote speeches and panel discussions.

Micro-conferences on trade visitor days, with Galit Ariel, JiaJia Fei and Frank Thelen

New to THE ARTS+ programme this year are the two-hour micro-conferences that will take place from 2 to 4 pm on the three trade visitor days and will feature first-rate panels and speakers delving into the new order of the cultural ecosystem in a holistic way, but in manageable formats.

The theme of the first conference on Wednesday, 10 October 2018, is “Cultural trailblazers: How to stay relevant in the machine age”. The key issue: How are new technologies changing cultural institutions? The speakers and discussion participants on this topic will include, amongst others, JiaJia Fei (Digital Strategist and Digital Director of the Jewish Museum, New York), Stein Olav Henrichsson (Director of the Munch Museum) as well as Harry Verwayen (Director of the digital culture platform Europeana).

The second conference on Thursday, 11 October 2018, is all about “Hybrid products, hybrid stories: Welcome to a new cultural era”. Top-notch speakers such as AR expert Galit Ariel and Mark Mattingley-Scott, IBM Quantum Computing Ambassador, will discuss the question: “What is technology doing to creativity – and what is creativity doing with this new technology?”

The third conference on 12 October 2018 is dedicated to the theme “Access is not enough: Experience is everything”. It asks the question: What new opportunities are new technologies creating for the trade, distribution, presentation and reception of cultural products? Amongst other things, Frank Thelen, a technology investor and member of the jury on the hit show “Die Höhle der Löwen” on the German TV station VOX will give an eagerly anticipated talk on the topic of “Goodbye comfort zone, hello future”.  Other exciting speakers are gaming expert Thorsten Unger and game designer Anne Sauer, who create strong interactive experiences in their joint session "Beyond the (fourth) wall: How interactive design brings culture to life".

AI conference, Innovation Summit, “A book is a film is a game” networking day

The first “Frankfurt AI Conference” will also take place on Friday, 12 October, from 10 am to noon. Together with creative AI experts, Holger Volland (Founder of THE ARTS+ and author of the book “Die kreative Macht der Maschinen” – “The Creative Power of Machines”), will take a close look at the opportunities and potential that artificial intelligence holds for the art and creative industries, from design, curating and translating, all the way to sales and marketing. The speakers are i.a. David Linderman, Executive Director Creative & Content, IBM iX + Aperto , Jens Klingelhöfer, CEO & Co-Founder Bookwire and Dr. Ahmed Elgammal, Professor Computer Science of Rutgers University.

This year's “Innovation Summit “ will take place on Wednesday, 10 October and is expected to bring together more than 100 international representatives from business, culture, technology and politics. Starting with the question “The bigger picture: How can the cultural and creative sectors bridge the innovation gap?”, participants will try to not only discuss the present and future of the cultural and creative industries, but to reshape it. And to create a new framework – political and financial, but also in terms of how the creative sector conceives of and justifies itself.

With the theme “A book is a film is a game”, on Thursday, 11 October, THE ARTS+ will bring together pros from the world of books, film, games and new media. This year’s programme is dedicated to new trends and developments in audio-visual storytelling, with a focus on book and television series. Highlights include the panel “Make a change: Female leadership in the digital age”, in cooperation with the Erich Pommer Institut, and a case study of “West of Liberty” as part of the session “Series of success: The rise of the series based on books”, in collaboration with the Berlinale Co-Production Market. The featured guest will be acclaimed Swedish author Thomas Engström, whose gripping novel “West of Liberty” served as the basis for the six-part TV series, co-produced by ZDF and starring Wotan Wilke Möhring.

Digital performances by LIZZY, Moon Ribas and Maya Kodes

Performances don’t get short shrift at THE ARTS+ 2018 either, of course. Digital performance artists like LIZZY from Berlin with her “3D Drum Dress” ( and the Spanish artist Moon Ribas ( offer a fascinating glimpse of the possibilities that digital technology affords the arts as well. Moon, a “cyborg activist”, has a sensor implanted that vibrates whenever the earth quakes anywhere in the world. She transforms these tremors into dance. Things get purely digital with Maya Kodes (, a popstar who is completely virtual …

Other highlights include the ceremony for the Frankfurter Buchmesse Film Awards on the Thursday of the fair (11 October) and the “Global Illustration Awards” on Wednesday (10 October).

According to Holger Volland, “THE ARTS+ sees itself as a link between cultural worlds and aims to create networks and synergies”. With this exciting programme, the festival is off to an excellent start.

Tickets for THE ARTS+ are available, starting from 20 euros for the general public and from 60 euros for trade visitors at Of course, holders of tickets to the Frankfurter Buchmesse may also visit THE ARTS+ in Hall 4.1.

Journalists can apply for accreditation for THE ARTS+ and the Frankfurter Buchmesse at

For more information with all programme details:



THE ARTS+ – with the subheading “Future of Culture Festival” – is a festival dedicated to the future of the creative and cultural industries. THE ARTS+ sees itself as a link between cultural worlds and aims to create networks and synergies. It focuses on financial associations, the economic present and the future of the creative industries. The aim is to create a new order and, with it, a new framework – financial and political, but also in terms of how the sector conceives of and justifies itself. THE ARTS+ is organised as part of ALDUS (the network of European Book Fairs) and is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

About the Frankfurter Buchmesse

The Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with over 7,300 exhibitors from 102 countries, around 286,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and some 10,000 accredited journalists and bloggers in attendance. It also brings together key players from other media, including the film and games industries. Since 1976, the Book Fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. The Frankfurter Buchmesse organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. With its Business Club, the Frankfurter Buchmesse offers essential services and an ideal setting for the activities of entrepreneurs, publishers, founders, pioneers, experts and visionaries. THE ARTS+ was launched in 2016 as a fair, business festival and international meeting place for the cultural and creative industries. It aims to exploit the potential of digitalisation for creative content and to develop new business areas. The Frankfurter Buchmesse is a subsidiary of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association).

Contact for the media:

Press & Corporate Communications Frankfurter Buchmesse
Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications, tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-138,
Kathrin Grün, Head of PR and Communications, tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-170,

Tina Pfeifer, PR Manager, tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-271,

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