Transcribe Bentham @Ars Electronica 2011: Day 3

By Tim Causer, on 4 September 2011

Apologies for being slightly late with this report of yesterday’s events, largely due to preparing for today’s presentation.

Saturday was another largely full day to look around, which began in the gothic splendour of Linz’s beautiful Mariendom, which can seat a staggering 20,000 people. Tucked away in a small room upstairs was a performance of the Android/Human Theatre presentation, Sayonara, in which an android attempts to comfort its dying mistress with poetry (made a little more atmospheric by the faint sound of someone singing Ave Maria in the cathedral as part of a wedding celebration).

I thought that the story didn’t quite work, but Sayonara is essentially an effective showcase for a startlingly realistic android actress. The illusion of her being human, with feelings, is held throughout the performance, and it’s only when the lights come up and focus on her that the android doesn’t look quite right.

Credit: Rubra, Ars Electronica 2011

From there, it was off to the Brucknerhaus to have a look at the Digital Communities exhibition, where it was nice to see a few people milling around. There I met Anna Masoner of ORF Radio¬† – always good to meet a fellow historian! – and went to record an interview for a programme she’s putting together on digital humanities, which should be broadcast later this year.

TB display panel, Brucknerhaus

Digital Communities Exhibition, Brucknerhaus, Linz

Digital Communities Exhibition, Brucknerhaus, Linz

After that, I felt like some light relief and went off to attend a few talks from scientists from CERN discussing their experiments. Fascinating, if more than a little mind-bending stuff.

The day was rounded off with an extremely pleasant dinner with those speaking at Sunday’s ‘Public Space Squared’ symposium, and good, old-fashioned, late-night panic while getting the TB presentation in order. More on that later!