Electronic Fields, Electronic Art and Free Technologies Festival of the Southern Countryside of Extremadura, will celebrate its first edition from October 27th to 29th, 2023, in Llerena, Fuente del Arco, and Reina. These three rural towns are located within the unique region of Tierra Túrdula, in the southern part of the province of Badajoz, Extremadura, a region considered as part of the so-called Emptied Spain.
The festival’s mission is to become a meeting point for digital and interactive art, technological freedom, participatory reflection on the challenges and unique potential of rural areas, and the relationship between art, culture, and contemporary rural life & society.
With a multidisciplinary and bidirectional approach, Electronic Fields aims to bring electronic art to rural Extremadura and connect the concerns of rural communities in Extremadura with artists and advocates of open and free technologies.
The main objective of the festival is to facilitate a hybrid space of confluence between art, science, technology, environmental commitment and social and cultural innovation in rural areas. A space linked to a specific territory: the Southern Countryside of Extremadura, which will address topics such as inter-species communication and communication between human and non-human intelligences, bio-hybrid technologies, privacy and security issues in the age of digital identity, techno-determinism and uses of artificial intelligence, as well as alternative ideas for the promotion of green practices, among others.
Electronic Fields involves different innovative artistic practices: installations and electronic art projects, audiovisual performances, live coding and sound experimentation. It uses different complementary formats –workshops, excursions, debates and presentations of regional, national and international collaborative projects and networks– to foster a dialogue on issues that affect the present and may condition the future of rural Extremadura, many of them shared by the emptied territories of the rest of Europe.
Renewable energies and emerging energy communities, mining in the 21st century, the exploitation and distribution of natural and material resources, the search for new economic horizons, circularity, the challenges of digitalisation, the recovery of a sense of belonging, the value of culture and the climate emergency are some of the topics to be discussed.
Topics of global impact, analysed from a local, technological and creative perspective, using methodologies based on artistic practice, such as DIY (do it your self) and DIWO (do it with others), and linked in the programme to two organised visits to points of interest in the area, followed by a round table discussion between artists, researchers and local agents.
Among the scheduled activities, there will be an ambitious exhibition of electronic art projects, installed in different locations of Llerena, Fuente de Arco and Reina; concerts of experimental electronics, live coding and audiovisual performances; a Cineclub and two excursions linked to the corresponding debate. In addition, Electronic Fields will have a BioLab, a bio-art workshop and a biomaterials production workshop, in which to investigate the connections between art, technology, biology, ecology and circularity; creative coding and construction of a MIDI keyboard with Arduino workshops, as well as workshops to learn to make professional streaming with free software tools and DJ’ing for beginners
Art linked to territory
Electronic Fields is a project by Maite Cajaraville, electronic artist, art curator and cultural producer, in collaboration with Piksel, a pioneering festival of electronic art and technological militancy, which in November celebrates its 21st edition in Bergen (Norway).
Born in Llerena, one of the festival’s venues, Maite Cajaraville has been working for almost seven years on the challenges and potential of the rural and contemporary ruralities, first with La Virgen de Guadalupe no Viene a Verme (Cáceres Abierto, 2017) and then with VEXTRE, Augmenting Rural Reality (2019-2022), an international and interoperable data-driven electronic art project, initially co-produced by the Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (Badajoz, Spain) and the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation (Évora, Portugal), which in 2021 took on a broader dimension thanks to a grant for digital creation from the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sports.
Electronic Fields. Festival de Arte Electrónico y Tecnologías Libres de la Campiña Sur de Extremadura is the natural continuation of this trajectory of research and artistic creation linked to the rural environment, its landscapes – natural and human – and its people. The project has obtained a grant to expand and diversify the cultural offer in non-urban areas, awarded by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Sports and Youth of the Regional Government of Extremadura, within the framework of the state plan Ecosistema Cultura Territorio, promoted by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sports together with the autonomous communities, as part of the Spanish Government’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, and financed with European Next Generation funds.
It also has the support of various local, public and private entities: the town councils of Llerena, Fuente del Arco and Reina; the Popular University of Extremadura (AUPEX) and the Provincial Council of Badajoz, within the framework of the Expanded Landscape project; Smart Open Lab, a technological research community linked to the University of Extremadura; the Extremadura Digital Day Association, the Caja de Badajoz Foundation and Centro de Estudios Fórmula.