Blog Post

CHAT Festival, 2010

Planning is currently underway for the Collaborations: Humanities, Arts & Technology (CHAT) Festival, which will take place in North Carolina in February 2010. The CHAT Festival is designed to jump start a statewide movement into digital arts and humanities and position UNC-Chapel Hill and Research Triangle Park as leaders in the use of new technologies in collaborative scholarly research and education.

The week-long Festival will feature artists and scholars invited from around the world to Chapel Hill, along with new work commissioned from state artists, faculty and students at UNC, Duke University, North Carolina Central University and North Carolina State University.  This work will be displayed at various locations on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus while the university's Ackland Art Museum simultaneously presents a special exhibit on the digital arts in its museum galleries. Two performances featuring internationally renowned multimedia artists will take place at Memorial Hall on successive weekends anchoring the Festival. To complement the performances and displays, the Institute for Arts & Humanities (IAH) will coordinate panel discussions throughout the week that include visiting artists, faculty, technology professionals, students and audience members.

Yesterday, a group of about 20 seminal collaborators met at the IAH to discuss broad issues and implications of technology on the arts and humanities. The group included professors from the departments of communications, information and library science, music, and the visual and performing arts at participating universities. 

Major themes that emerged from this discussion focused on the question of what new technologies and their uses are doing to us as individuals and a culture.  Are these technologies to be viewed just as tools or as an entire ecology in which we live? Concepts of interior v. exterior space, public v. private, and sensorial v. cognitive experience were also explored in the context of everything from Second Life to gaming to Facebook.  These frameworks have particular relevance when considering what kind of art to create with technology in order to engage the audience and deliver messages.  If content and form are combinate and inseparable, what demands does this place on the artist when experimenting with digital construction?  Does technology present the opportunity for heightened interaction with the artistic work or can it create obstacles and barriers to viewing, interpretation, and connection? Faculty and students planning the CHAT Festival will grapple with these questions for the next several months as they decide how to develop projects for exhibition. 

The IAH is hosting an ongoing discussion series this year. The next talk will feature Professor Peter Krapp of UC Irvine presenting "Games of War: Counter Culture, Cyber Culture, Popular Culture" on Wednesday, September 24 from 4-5:30 p.m. in Hyde Hall on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

For more information on this event, please refer to the press release:


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