FITC Toronto: The Design + Technology Festival and Pixel Gallery

Innovative Speakers’ Series and Interactive Art Installation

FITC Toronto

Evan Roth, co-founder of Graffiti Research Lab (GRL), kicks-off FITC Toronto: The Design + Technology Festival with a free talk and screening at Pixel Gallery in Kensington Market on April 19th starting at 6 PM. Roth is one of three artists taking part in an innovative speakers’ series sponsored by Pixel Gallery, part of this year’s FITC Toronto, a four-day event which brings together the world’s top designers and developers.

Roth will talk about his work with GRL, an arts group dedicated to outfitting graffiti writers, artists and protesters with open source technologies for urban communication. The group is well-known for inventing LED Throwies and creating giant-sized L.A.S.E.R. tagging systems. A splinter cell of GRL was recently launched in Toronto to assist in the use and development of Weapons of Mass Defacement.

Roth will repeat his talk on April 20 as part of the regular FITC program. He will be joined in the the speaker’s series by Interactive arts Nick Cristea (April 21) and Zachary Lieberman (April 22). See below for more extensive speaker bios.

Along with the speakers’ series, FITC Toronto and Pixel Gallery will present an interactive art installation entitled “Battleship”, which runs from April 20th to April 22nd at the Toronto Hilton. Spectators are invited to ‘battle’ an army of characters on a massive screen using Wii remotes and custom art brushes and images designed by artists Niko Stumpo (http://www.abnormalbehaviorchild.com/) and Derrick Hodgson (http://www.madreal.com).

Pixel Gallery (http://www.pixelgallery.org) is located in the heart of Kensington Market, Toronto, part of element156 Digital Media Centre. It was incorporated in June 11, 2002 as a not-for-profit network for digital artists and enthusiasts to convene and share ideas, opinions, and experiences in digital media, technology, applied arts, and visual graphics.

FITC Toronto is one of North America’s largest design and technology events with over 1,000 attendees from 15 countries. This is the 7th year for the festival, which covers all aspects of the creative process, explores the latest developments in rich media technology, and provides insight into the ups and downs of running an Interactive business. For more information, or to register, go to http://www.fitc.ca/toronto.

About Evan Roth: Evan Roth received a degree in architecture from University of Maryland and a MFA from the Communication, Design and Technology School at Parsons The New School for Design, where he graduated as class valedictorian. During his time at Parsons, he developed several high profile projects, including Graffiti Taxonomy, Typographic Illustration, Explicit Content Only and Graffiti Analysis, his thesis project.

After graduating, Roth worked at Eyebeam OpenLab, an open source creative technology lab for the public domain as a Research and Development Fellow from 2005-2006 and a Senior Fellow from 2006-2007. During that time he was co-founder of the Graffiti Research Lab along with James Powderly. He also is co-founder of FAT (Free Art and Technology) Lab, a Brooklyn-based open source technology collective.

Roth has exhibited, performed, and lectured widely in Europe, America and Asia. His work has been shown at the New Frontier at the Sundance Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art (http://moma.org/exhibitions/2008/elasticmind/#/126), the Chelsea Museum of Art, Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria; the Digital Art Festival in Taipei, Taiwan; Microwave International New Media Art Festival in Hong Kong, China; and NUART in Stavanger, Norway, among other venues. He currently teaches at Parsons The New School for Design on topics such as visual programming, geek graffiti and Internet fame. Current and past work is archived at http://www.ni9e.com.

About Nick Cristea: Nick Cristea is a partner and strategist at AllofUs (http://www.allofus.org/), a London based interactive design company, which counts Motorola, Playstation, BSkyB, and Nokia among its many clients.

Before establishing AllofUs with his partners back in 2003, Nick was the design director at Digit which he helped establish in 1995. Before that, in the dark days before the web, Nick ran the multimedia department at Nottingham Trent University, and if you traveled back to the late 1980’s you would find Nick designing button interfaces for electrical appliances.

About Zachary Lieberman: Zachary Lieberman's (http://www.thesystemis.com/) work uses technology in a playful and enigmatic way to explore the nature of communication and the delicate boundary between the visible and the invisible. He creates performances, installations, and online works that investigate gestural input, augmentation of the body, and kinetic response. Working with collaborator Golan Levin, he created a series of installations - "Remark" and "Hidden Worlds" - which presented different interpretations of what the voice might look like if we could see our own speech.

These were followed with "Messa Di Voce," a concert performance in which the speech, shouts and songs of two abstract vocalists were radically augmented in real-time by interactive visualization software. The collaborators have toured and exhibited their works widely. Lieberman's installation / performance "Drawn," in which live painted forms appear to come to life, rising off the page and reacting to the world around them, recently won awards in the Ars Electronica and CYNETart competitions. Most recently, he presented "Opensourcery," collaboration with Spanish magician Mago Julian, in which open source software is combined with traditional close-magic to create a completely new realm of tricks.

Lieberman has held artist residencies at Ars Electronica Futurelab, Eyebeam, Dance Theater Workshop, and most recently at the Hangar Center for the Arts, Barcelona.

FITC Toronto - Dates, Times and Location:
Saturday, April 19 – Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 9:00 AM – 6 PM
The Hilton Hotel, 145 Richmond Street West, Toronto, Canada

Major FITC Toronto Sponsors:
Adobe, Seneca College, Telefilm Canada, Humber College, Algonquin College, Rich Media Institute, Rich Media Exchange (RMX), The Creative Group, Stock Archive, Thin Data.

About FITC: FITC (http://www.fitc.ca) is an international events management company serving the design and technology community with events designed to inspire, educate and challenge. The company’s flagship event, FITC Toronto: The Design + Technology Festival is one of the largest and most important events of its kind, attracting participants from around the world. Other events include FITC Amsterdam, FITC Hollywood, and FITC Road Shows, a series of one-day conferences, which have visited cities across North America and will be coming to Asia in 2008.

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