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THE ARTS+/B3 Future of Culture Festival 2019: Inspiring trade event and crowd-puller

On Sunday, 20 October 2019, the premiere of THE ARTS+/B3 came to a successful conclusion in Frankfurt/Main. Some 147,000 visitors experienced a compelling combination of creative media projects, groundbreaking digital art, inspiring conference programme and international network meeting for the creative sector. Artists and creatives from around the globe presented over 100 projects and institutions, along with artwork from the fields of video art, film, immersion, games, XR and AI.

Crowd-pullers included the B3 VR_PARK, the 250-square-metre Immersive Stage and the exhibition area with digital innovations from the cultural sphere. In terms of conferences, the Focus: Film Networking Day, the second Frankfurt Creative AI Conference, the European Innovation Summit and the various micro-conferences proved especially appealing to trade visitors.

Hessian Minister of Science and Art Angela Dorn said: "Visitor interest and media response clearly show that the cooperation between THE ARTS+ and B3 more than met everyone’s expectations. The experiment was worth it. A top international event is developing here in Frankfurt, one that is generating significant momentum for the future of culture and the creative sector. It’s a cross-genre happening that offers the necessary disruptions."

Holger Volland, founder of THE ARTS+ and vice president of Frankfurter Buchmesse, said: "THE ARTS+ is the area at the book fair where people can get the greatest insight into the future of the cultural and creative sector. This is where digital culture becomes visible and, as a result, debatable with all its developments and possibilities. Thanks to the cooperation with B3, we were able to present projects that opened the door to the fantastic new worlds of visual storytelling."

Professor Bernd Kracke, president of HfG University of Art and Design in Offenbach and artistic director of B3, said: "B3/THE ARTS+ more than met the high expectations everyone had for it and, with its ‘REALITIES’ focus, perfectly captured the zeitgeist. Over the past few days, Frankfurt became an international centre of important artistic visions, innovative moving-image projects and socio-political debates."

Selected highlights from B3/THE ARTS+ 2019

The heart of the event was the main exhibition dedicated to the topic "REALITIES", which artists from Europe and beyond used to present trailblazing works from the areas of video art, virtual reality, feature films and shorts. In VR_PARK, 25 works – most of which received their world, European and German premieres – digitally challenged viewers’ understanding of reality. As part of the traditional film programme, visitors and the competition’s jury assessed 25 feature and short films and selected TV series, many of which were being seen for the first time. Numerous organizations participated in the parcours, the regional extension of B3/THE ARTS, by contributing their own exhibitions and activities relating to the “REALITIES” theme. Participating organizations included Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Museum Sinclair-Haus, Nassauische Kunstverein Wiesbaden and Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung.

Another highlight were  the CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION Talks on Wednesday evening, which allowed compelling and engaged speakers, such as Gina Belafonte, Memory Banda, Phyllis Omido, Jennifer Clement, Tea Uglow and Jochen Sandig, to give stirring and inspiring presentations on activism and cultural engagement. Or, to quote artivist Gina Belafonte: "It is our duty to fight for our freedom / it is our duty to win / we must love each other and protect each other / we have nothing to lose but our chains."

World premiere on 17 October: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology used the B3/THE ARTS+ stage to present its Centerbook for the first time. A comprehensive history of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT, the book uses personal accounts, documentation from exhibitions, and groundbreaking artwork to tell the story and flowering of this unique research node that has been dedicated to the interaction of art, science, technology and the environment since 1967.

At the Focus: Film Networking Day on 18 October 2019, THE ARTS+ Salon dedicated itself completely to film adaptations of literary works and trends relating to moving images. Experts from the publishing, film and gaming industries and the media came together to discuss best-case studies and participate in panel discussions and matchmaking sessions. Participants included industry leaders such as Quirin Berg, Grace Glowicki, Marty Brochstein, Hans Petter Moland and Pier Nirandara.

On Saturday evening, 19 October 2019, the Frankfurter Buchmesse Film Awards and the B3 BEN Awards were presented at the Frankfurt Pavilion. Oliver Schwebel, managing director of Frankfurt Economic Development, Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurter Buchmesse, and Professor Bernd Kracke (HfG/B3) were joined by Silvia von Metzler as they gave Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen the main BEN Award in the category "Most Influential Moving Image Artist".

Responses to B3/THE ARTS+

Lena Chen, “Expose her” (USA)
"The B3 Biennale is a wonderful platform for young women artists who want to work across disciplines to revolutionise the creative process and take back control over how they are portrayed. Moving images and books are not competitors, but allies. In the coming years, storytellers will develop even more innovative, immersive formats which bring together elements from theatre, gaming, VR/AR and moving images to further dissolve the boundaries between art and reality."

Rose Kay, CEO Immersive Storylab (GB)
"We have to ask ourselves again and again: what is content? And how are people communicating with each other? It’s always about stories: content is story to me – whether in books or films, in virtual or augmented reality, since it’s essentially always about storytelling, regardless of which channel is being used."

Nikita Mathias, Munch Museum (NO)
"For the Munch Museum, THE ARTS+ is the ideal working and thinking platform for presenting new digital projects and getting direct feedback from the public. We interact here with other creatives from the cultural and digital spheres and explore possibilities for collaboration."

René van Engelenburg, Dropstuff Media (NL)
"THE ARTS+ is a platform for future storytelling, that goes far beyond the form of traditional media. Dropstuff shows here immersive experiences, since it is our joint ambition to connect arts and technology to a wider public. For us as Dutch media artists, it is also a great gate to the professional cultural scene in Germany and Europe."

Philip Rooke, CEO Spreadshirt (DE)
"We had five inspiring and motivating days at THE ARTS+ and are proud to have helped initiate the CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION campaign here. It has allowed us to support activists such as Memory Banda and Gina Belafonte in their mission to make the world a better place using culture. Spreadshirt assists them in disseminating their message internationally."

Vincent Lafrenière, VR-Experience Gymnasia (F)
"I’m impressed at how diverse B3 is. All the works I saw were done with a lot of commitment. What impressed me were the people. Everyone here was so interested in the work of others. There’s a lot of curiosity. Everyone wants to keep learning and be inspired. It’s not a competition, but a shared effort using moving images. Moving images won’t replace books – no matter if it’s film, VR, theatre or a book. We have to tell stories in many different ways because we have many different ways to express ourselves."

Kevin Cunningham, 3-Legged-Dog (USA)
"B3 is very important for us transmedial artists. It’s opened up a range of opportunities for us. For example, we’ve found new partners in China and Europe. It was a really good experience. Moving images are starting to connect with physical reality, and more and more there’s a bridge between film and everyday reality. Cultural expression is additive. That means there will be even more possibilities for artistic expression in the future. That’s how it’s always been."

Itay tal, Director "God of the piano"
"What an exciting and vivid festival.  I enjoyed every moment of my stay here and was proud to have my German premiere at the B3, I'm deeply honoured to have received the best feature award - a huge bonus on top of an already great experience."

 

About THE ARTS+/B3
THE ARTS+ Future of Culture Festival takes place every year at Frankfurter Buchmesse and is dedicated to the future of the creative and cultural industries. It is an international showroom of the future that brings together the creative minds and pioneers of the digital ecosystem – with inspiring keynotes from national and international speakers as well as exceptional performances. In 2019, THE ARTS+ entered a strategic partnership with B3 Biennial of the Moving Image, an event conceived by the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach. Major parts of the B3 programme tie into the successful festival, and it will feature its renowned flagship exhibition at the centre of THE ARTS+ area in Hall 4.1. The area is also the heart of CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION, this year’s campaign by Frankfurter Buchmesse dedicated to the significance and future of culture. www.theartsplus.com / www.b3biennale.com