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Opinion: Why the most interesting creative festival is to be found in Serbia

Posted by Rob Alderson,

This week Editor-in-Chief Rob Alderson explains why the most interesting creative festival almost certainly isn’t the one you think it is. As ever you can throw your thoughts into the mix using the discussion thread below…

Think of the ingredients that go into producing the perfect cultural coming-together. Cutting-edge creative practitioners? A diverse programme? Affordability, and stemming from that, a genuine mix of attendees? An ambience which combines socialising and opportunities to meet creative minds you admire?

Put these factors together and you’re getting pretty close, but I’m not talking about that event you’re thinking of. Nope, nor that one. The best match on this list of criteria is to be found in the perhaps unlikely setting of Belgrade, where every spring for the past couple of years the digital art festival Resonate has brought together artists, designers and educators to, “participate in a forward-looking debate on the position of technology in art and culture.”

This year’s line-up boasts the likes of Fabrica’s Dan Hill, Semiconductor, Jonathan Puckey and Luna Maurer of Moniker, Rhizomatiks, Aaron Koblin, Universal Everything and Yuri Suzuki. But above and beyond the great speakers, Resonate’s organisers work hard to ensure that the range of activities on offer are varied too; ranging from talks, screenings and panel discussions to workshops, performances and even collaborative projects initiated by Resonate themselves.

This isn’t just a talking shop; this is a living working exploration of the ideas being espoused from the stage. And herein lies an exciting new direction for these kinds of conferences, where meaningful participation is as important as exposure to the wisdom of the leading practitioners.

Carl Sagan said: “Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact.” What Resonate does is nurture and develop this enthusiasm; not in a bandwagon-jumping-wait-is-science-hip-now? type way but in an exciting and engaging context.

I’ll leave the last word to a colleague who attended last year: “Belgrade is an amazing city; the Serbians seem to live on a diet of meat and beer.”

Roll on Resonate 2014!

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Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

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