Welcome to Our Journey!

We are about to embark on a unique journey around the world, and in the process, we hope to uniquely connect people with other places, people with other people, and in the end, people with themselves. 80+1: A Journey Around the World is Ars Electronica’s principle contribution to Linz09, the EU Capital of Culture. For this, we are planning an actual 80(+1) day event, based in the Linz Main Square and the new Ars Electronica Centre, beginning this 17 June and ending on 5 September during the annual Ars Electronica Festival with a “Day 81” wrap-up symposium.

The event is actual but the journey is virtual. We are using network technologies, both fat pipes and thin, to bring to Linz immersive 3D experiences, real-time forums, student-to-student collaborations, and “Live Bits,” our exhibition of “art exploring real-time connectedness” selected from entries from 42 countries. If you’re not in Linz this summer, don’t worry, much of our journey will be streamed live via our website, though you’ll miss the real food, music, and performances celebrating the local pride of our destination cultures.

80+1 intends to be both a solid event, tapping Ars Electronica’s 30 years of experience, and a grand experiment, tapping the power of the Internet and particularly, the Blogosphere. For this, we’re pleased to announce that up on the helm, we have global digital nomads Isaac Mao, David Sasaki, and Cyrus Farivar. Cyrus is Content Director for this website, and Isaac and David will co-curate Day 81. As we envision a continuum from planning, to the 80 day event, to the 81st day symposium, Isaac, David, and Cyrus are working in close collaboration from the start. They are also working with the local Linz-based production team planning the actual Main Square activities.

80+1 is also a grand experiment between the creative community and industry. voestalpine, a Linz-based steel company with over 40,000 employees almost 60 countries worldwide, is our sponsor. We endorse their motto “One Step Ahead” as embracing the need to be both visionary and practical. From the start, both producer and sponsor expressed the desire to keep communication rich, open, and honest and to strive toward something truly symbiotic. We all hope it will serve as a model for future collaborations elsewhere.

As you’ve probably guessed, we’ve based 80+1 on the famous Jules Verne classic “Around the World in 80 Days.” Even its title, back in 1873, expressed drama, suspense, and a dose of new technologies into the storyline. We can only aspire to be so masterful. But that was then and this is now. We see both global crises and global opportunities on our horizon, and we are compelled to make our journey more than simply for the ride and for the wager, as Verne’s protagonist Phileas Fogg did.

We have selected 20 topics that best express our concerns, and with them, 20 places that are most emblematic of these concerns. We will visit these places and we will strive to understand the issues and appreciate their cultures. But we won’t stop there. We intend to make this journey inclusive rather than exclusive, and we welcome your stories and your participation.

Oh, and yes, we’ll still have a wager, actually 20 of them. But we need to keep you in suspense for now.

Michael Naimark
80+1 Project Director

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