Curatorial concept behind the Device_art festival is based on re-thinking of our relations with technology, and the relations between technology and art. The festival critically interprets and contextualizes the conditions of production, reception and communication of device art(works), questioning at the same time the nature of the traditional concepts of intersecting art and technology. The presented artworks are at the borderlines of device hacking and gadget culture, of artistic practices and product design, and they include a wide variety of themes and formats - from conceptual provocations and innovative interfaces, to utilitarian products, toys and prototypes.
The festival has been initiated in order to explore, map and stimulate the local artistic scene, direct it towards the art and technology practices and interconnect it with international device art tendencies. That is why our first Device_art festival in 2004 was dedicated to the regional scene. Afterwards we started to collaborate with international organizations and institutions which then presented their local scenes in Zagreb, while each festival edition also traveled to each of the partner country. Along with our regular partners from Slovenia, Device_art has until today connected the Croatian scene with California (2006), Japan (2009/2010), Czech republic (2012/2013) and Canada (2015/2016), and has also been presented as a part of the Ars Electronica festival in 2014.
According to the renown art theoretician Miško Šuvaković, the hybrid scientific/artistic approach typical for device art comes from the ludic conceptualization of the mechanotronic technologies, instruments, machines and technosystems. The content of the artwork is the device itself: the artist uses technological constructions and procedures and, at the same time, apropriates the device, placing its function in the filed of everyday life and play through humor, cynicism, irony or affectation. Device art therefore always outgrows function, purpose and usefulness of the device, critically questioning the very notion of technology and utility, as well as playfulness and fun. Conceptually the festival refers to this type of relations between usefulness as the key aspect of the device and its playful character.
But Device_art is at the same time whimsical, responsive and interactive festival. The presented artworks emphasize communication and seductively play with our perception and senses, offering often many layers of meaning which are able to rise interest among the expert audiences as well as our youngest visitors. That is why Device_art festival is considered our most popular project.