31 October - 14 December 2008

Version Bêta

Expérimentations en cours

Version bêta's programme in PDF format (456kb).

From the start the Version Biennial has focused on discovering and showcasing visual artworks that employ the new digital technologies. Following Version 1.0, the first installment of the biennial in 1994, the event's title has developed to include various themes such as anticipation (1998), play (2000), constructed space (2002-2004) and animation (2006).

While from the outset Version made clear its aim of being "a research lab that is constantly seeking out what it demonstrates," the biennial has confronted the problem of works in contemporary art that are constantly called into question through the pressure of the new media and the desire of researchers, artists and inventors to accept the critical future of these discoveries. Although the digital has become the context and the circumstances surrounding this activity, simply adding these new media to art or even making art from these new media is not the fundamental concern here. The important idea is to make new media as an artist, to act as an artist in these new media. Consequently, it's not only a matter of renewing art by injecting new means, new tools and new subjects into it; it is also about shifting frontiers to the point where we can consider experiments, companies and events as akin to art, as falling within the province of the artistic project.

As the term used for numbering software programs, bêta version means a prototype that has pushed experimentation to the point where it is out in the forefront while admitting its imperfect state; perhaps only temporary, perhaps hopelessly flawed, it begins its distribution among users who are well aware of the risks. A result that has made it into the field of research, the beta version may still need a final metamorphosis if it is to really succeed, to reach its final destination and become effectively operational. Yet a beta version is interesting and presents a certain pleasure in demonstrations for itself and for discovering still other mutations. Isn't art then a way of sticking with the bêta version?

Perhaps this is a facile response but it does have its rationale. To show experimentation at work in the new-media arts and locate the sources and the inspirers of such research and creation, Version bêta turns towards the venues, the labs and the collectives where art-oriented research is explicitly taking place. It makes no claims to evaluate or appraise the situation; Version bêta's originality and pertinence lie in its efforts to draw on attentive, involved observers and correspondents the world over.

As one might expect, themes have naturally emerged, the result of current connections/oppositions: real time and process, time and space, the generative and the interactive, the real and the virtual, localization and mobility. But the theme of Version bêta will identify first and foremost with that beta of its title. It will play out in the classic connections between poetry and technique, research and creation, amateur and professional, the individual and the collective. It points to the position of a producer, actor and viewer of the age of real time and networks.

Beta Version will take place in Geneva and run from 31 October to 14 December 2008. The event will comprise five platforms:

1. Exhibition

installations, displays, demonstrations

2. Screenings

documentaries and creations

3. Performances

actions, VJing, music

4. Workshops

production of proposed works, works in progress

5. Forums

talks, debates