Introduction: ISEA International – ISEA2015


Introductory / Welcoming Notes Title:

  • Introduction: ISEA International – ISEA2015



  • ISEA International is pleased to present the 21st International Symposium on Electronic Art –ISEA2015– in Vancouver this year. Since 1988 ISEA has been situated at the global frontier of digital media, creating an open discourse around electronic art, science, interdisciplinarity and culture. In 1989 Tim Berners Lee sat down to begin the www, http and html protocols for a barely understood internet. From speculations on the nature of hypertext and notions of supreme multimedia at early ISEA symposia, through to hybridized internet spaces in the mid 2000’s, academics and artists – in many situations one and the same – have simultaneously developed and explored the nature of interactivity. Our relationship to technology has
    been scrutinized and extended through creativity and academic debate. Such is the work presented at symposia and art events held annually, in cities from Utrecht to Dubai. In an era where the term technology has received the prefxes of eco, nano and bio, the transitioned state of contemporary culture under the impact of electronic media made it possible to hear casually in the halls of ISEA2013 Sydney that culture had become electronic. It is in this hybrid diversity of nomadic journeying, typical of contemporary culture, that ISEA is so well located. Twenty years after Montreal hosted the sixth ISEA, the event has returned to Canada –to be hosted by Simon Fraser University in Vancouver– for the foremost iteration of what has become electronic heritage.

    ISEA International foundation Board:

    • Peter Anders, USA, Chair
    • Wim van der Plas, Netherlands, Treasurer
    • Bonnie Mitchell, USA, Secretary
    • Paul Catanese, USA
    • Ian Clothier, New Zealand


  • This incredible event could not have happened without our amazing team and our many collaborators. First, a thank you to Thecla Schiphorst and Philippe Pasquier, the Symposium Directors of ISEA2015 who have closely worked with us throughout the long process of developing the artistic program for ISEA.

    Thanks to our many programming partners. A big thanks to everyone at the Vancouver Art Gallery, especially Wade Thomas, Diana Freundl, Debra Zhou, Jennifer Wheeler, Jennifer Sorko, and Sunny Kooner, and the spectacular Boca Del Lupo team – Jay Dodge, Carey Dodge, and Sherry Yoon – who have been such a pleasure to collaborate with during this project.

    Enormous thanks to Hanna Cho, Gregory Dreicer, Paul Carr, Myles Constable, and the whole Museum of Vancouver team, and to our outstanding partners at the H.R. Macmillan Space Centre. Thanks to all our guest curators whose work and ideas are catalogued in this publication, and to the organizations that supported them, including grunt gallery, VIVO, Western Front, New Media Gallery, WAAP, MUTEK, OCAD, 221A, MUME, Metacreation Lab, Algorave, and Vancouver New Music. Special thanks to New Forms, which has been a pivotal programming and funding partner organization for ISEA2015.

    We are indebted to Simon Fraser University for their support, especially the School for the Contemporary Arts, the Faculty of Art, Communication and Technology (FCAT), the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), the Woodward’s Cultural Unit, and SFU Galleries. Thanks to Lynne Jamieson, Martin Gotfrit, Owen Underhill, Nik Williams-Walshe, Melanie
    O’Brian, Amy Kazymerchyk, Ben Rogalsky, Stefan Smulovitz, Heather Lamb, David Ship, Kate Stadel, Steve Hanna, Lynda Hewit, and to Paul Zuurbier and the MITACS team. We are grateful for the energy contributed to ISEA2015 overall by the many program chairs including Maria Fedorova, Kristin Carlson, Megan te Boekhorst, Miles Thorogood, Mirjana Prpa, Robin Kwiatkowski, Veronika Tzanikova, Victoria Moulder, Rachel Ward, Reese Munteab, Carolina Bergonzoni, Sarah Fdili Alaoui, and Gabriela Aceves-Sepulveda, and by the many volunteers who made the event possible.

    Thanks to Post Projects for their design development on ISEA2015, and the many people who helped with the print, media and communications including Maria Fedorova, Jordan Yerman, Kristin Trethewey, Theo Wong, George Chaves, and most of all Milène Vallin who designed this book.

    Thanks to our funders, the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Vancouver, Creative BC, the Province of BC and the BC Arts Council, the Hamber Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Institut Francais, the Consulat General de France a Vancouver, the Instituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto, and the Goethe Institut.

    Most of all, thanks to the artists for participating in ISEA2015. And finally, we literally could not have done any of this without our stellar production and technical team:
    Kristina Fiedrich (Artistic Program Manager), Deborah Turnbull Tillman (Exhibitions Production Manager), Elisha Burrows (ISEA2015 Technical Director, Art Program), Emmy Willis (Videography), Matt Smith (ISEA2015 Technical Director, Vancouver Art Gallery), Steven Wong (ISEA2015 Technical Director, Vancouver Art Gallery), Carey Dodge and Jay Dodge
    (Boca Del Lupo & Medialab, FUSE Producers, Vancouver Art Gallery), and Colin Griffiths (ISEA2015 A/V Director). The incredible creativity and generosity of this group has brought the whole machine together.

    • Kate Armstrong & Malcolm Levy are the Artistic Directors of ISEA2015