Introduction

“Anything one can imagine, others can make real.” — Jules Verne

The famed French science fiction author would not be astounded by the global travel possibilities available to humankind today. In 1872, the father of science fiction sent an English gentleman named Phileas Fogg on his world-famous journey “Around the World in 80 Days.” In 2009, Ars Electronica and voestalpine will dispatch the city of Linz on a trip around the world, though this one will be a virtual adventure via the fiber optic cables and satellite hookups of our globalized information society.

Over the course of these 80 days, we’ll make stops on over 20 locations around the world where the future is being invented and mastered as well as thwarted and destroyed. We have assigned a particular theme to each of these locations: climate change, coexistence, and exploration.

We will use artistic and technological means to elaborate on the essential problems of our future and to get an updated picture of our globalized, networked world.

These findings and insights will then be transmitted via the Internet to Linz, where a unique “global window” will be set up on the Hauptplatz (main square). There, people will encounter and communicate with their counterparts from around the globe. Interpreters will be on hand to assist the dialogue. The Hauptplatz itself will also be serve as a setting for discussion, artistic projects, concerts, lectures and exotic feasts.

Another main node of this network will be the new and expanded Ars Electronica Center: the “Geo-Observatory” will serve as a unique, multi-screen interaction station for accessing all material generated and related, serving as an archive for 80+1. And in “Deep Space,” the “post-CAVE” immersive theater, a special 3D interactive movie will ask the audience to decide the future based on hopes and fears of people interviewed around the world.

Finally, on the 81st day, Ars Electronica, Linz09 and voestalpine will be hosting a global conference that is destined to be one of the absolute highlights of the 2009 Ars Electronica Festival.

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