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First digital art festival in Egypt

Are we making the best use possible of all those technological advances? Enter DI-EGY Festival to answer the question

Courtesy of Elham Khattab
Courtesy of Elham Khattab

Technology has become a quintessential element of life; nobody leaves home without at least two electronic devices, maybe more if you are a gadget junkie. The idea of life without internet or electronics has become unfathomable.

Yet the question remains: are we making the best use possible of all those technological advances? Enter DI-EGY Festival to answer the question, the first digital art festival in Egypt.  We contacted Elham Khattab, the director of the festival, for more information.

“The idea for the project started almost one year ago as I was thinking about how far digitalising our life and art has taken us, and where we are now with all these fast transactions happening around us. Digitalising our life and social media can even start a revolution now.

Different questions popped into my mind when I talked with Haytham Nawar about the idea for the first time. Since Haytham is more experienced with digital arts as an international artist and researcher, we first started to research the idea. We also researched digital arts, activities and how we could hold a digital arts festival that would be close to an Egyptian audience. A festival that would say: art is not for just for the elite, art can be a way of thinking and living now,” Khattab said.

Khattab explained the festival’s ambitious goals: “I hope that we can start to unveil a new horizon for a new generation who are interested in digital arts, not only as a type of art but as a positive tool they can use to develop their country through their ideas. It is a modern tool that they can use professionally, and at the same time find their identity within it.”

The festival offers various activities. “We are holding an exhibition at the Gezira Arts Centre and British Council in Agouza, from 30 March until 10 April 2013. There will also be a conference from 31 March until 2 April at the German University in Cairo with the cooperation of Plymouth University in the UK. And then there are seven different activities that take place from 27 March until 7 April.

The workshops offered include Sound Arts, Game Design, Curating Digital Arts, a Sensorama workshop, and Technoetic Arts. There is also DI-EGY for Kids, which includes two guided tours for children through the exhibition and a stop-motion animation workshop from 6 to 8 April 2013,” Khattab said.

The festival depends on volunteers for all its events. “Volunteers are involved in every activity in DI-EGY Fest. They welcome the guests during the conference and exhibition, they implement a social media plan for DI-EGY Fest and they will help in the guided tour of the exhibition,” Khattab explained.

The event is also organised by the Out of the Circle initiative, which was created by Khattab in 2008 and which targets the cooperation of Egyptian artists abroad. “DI-EGY Fest 0.1 came as a short name for the first Digital Egypt Arts festival, so DI-EGY Fest 0.1 became our coding digital name for the festival.”

Registration for those wanting to partake in the workshops closes today and registration for the conference is now open. You can register for both or either through DI-EGY’s website and Facebook page.

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