South by Southwest Interactive has always lived at the intersection of art and technology, and featured an array of creations that meld the two fields. Last year, for example, we wrote about a branded art installation by Kodak-Alaris that took us on a journey through digital memories.
But this year, organizers made a more deliberate commitment to showcasing this type of work through the festival’s Art Program. “This year’s program is the first to be formally selected by the SXSW Art Team in collaboration with an advisory board reflecting leaders and curators in the art world and beyond,” organizers said in a statement.
This comes at a time when music events and other live experiences are seeking to integrate technology and immersive visuals to stand out from the competition. “There’s so much overstimulation now that festivals really had to step it up a notch,” said Russell Ward, founder of media and creative agency The Confluence, speaking at a SXSW panel on installations at festivals. “Art gives people that rounded experience.”
For our 2017 edition of The Future 100, we discussed the rise of the “new experiential rockstars.” “The coolest artists in the world are the ones creating visual, interactive experiences, and we don’t have a name for them yet,” Bolognino, founder and CEO of experience production company Meta, told us last year. He describes his mission as “to make stars out of creative technologists.”
We’ve already singled out the installation NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism by Hyphen-Labs for special mention—but here are some other installations that rocked SXSW Interactive this year.