The city of innovation is about to have innovation turned on its head with a new multi-day festival, nothing like the country has ever seen before.
The force behind the world-renowned Ars Electronica in Austria has chosen Wollongong for a fledgling Australian installment of their technology, art and society festival to be known as 3 Festival.
Think giant interactive tech-art, music, plus exploration into science, society and entrepreneurship.
Ars artistic director Gerfreid Stocker said they believe in the power of art as a driving force for human centered development of the future.
"Reaching out and connecting everybody with the inspiring ideas of digital artists and creative innovators is a major goal of Ars Electronica," he said.
"We are so excited to collaborate with Wollongong in their visionary initiative for a new festival, bringing together art, technology and society.”
Adam Zammit (previously chief executive officer to the Big Day Out music festivals) will produce the event in partnership with the Ars Electronica Australia team, the University of Wollongong, Wollongong Council and supported by Destination NSW.
“This event aims to act as a unique creative source for distinct, novel ideas and a platform for showcasing existing interdisciplinary work alongside speculative projects and surprising experiences," Mr Zammit said.
"We hope 3 Fest will become an important platform for the convergence of experimental and visionary thinking and projects for artists and industry, students and teachers, philosophers and technologists, scientists and start-ups.”
Mr Zammit said while the festival would be "inspired" by its Austrian counterpart it wouldn't be a direct import, but rather built by people in Wollongong for Wollongong.
Parliamentary secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward on Thursday announced the NSW Government would assist with funding.
The event is expected to inject $1.8 million into the Illawarra visitor economy, and predicted to attract more than 2,700 overnight visitors.
Wollongong Deputy Lord Mayor David Brown said the festival was a perfect fit for the region, give the "growing number of science and technology-based businesses".
The 3 Festival is set to run from February 27 to March 1, 2020 with the expectation it will run for many more years to come.
It will feature exhibitions built from Australian and international talent and a selection of Ars Electronica content; as well as symposiums on arts, science, technology, society and entrepreneurship; plus a contemporary music program which will explore experimentation in composition, instrumentation and cross-media integration.
More announcements will be made in the future as to the full festival program of events.
WHAT IS ARS ELECTRONICA?
The Austrian town of Linz, where Ars Electronica was born, is a smaller city an hour from the capital of Vienna.
"Like Wollongong it was a city who built its economy on steel," Mr Zammit said.
"As the economy changed and the demography of that city changed. Ars Electronica started to build something different for that city and was the basis of an entire cultural revolution."
Ars Electronica is a culture venue, educational institution and research facility established in 1979. It is now one of the world’s largest and most important platforms for media art, ideas for the future, and innovation.
The Festival each September acts as a proving ground for new ideas and features a competition known as the "Prix" honoring excellence in innovation.
Previous winners of the Prix Ars Electronica include Pixar Studio's John Lasseter, Wikipedia and the movie Jurassic Park.
The Ars centre in Linz acts as a year-round setting for "presentation and interaction", a "Futurelab" and "Ars Electronica Solutions as as in-house R&D facility" for science and research, art and technology.
To coincide with the institution's 40th anniversary a series of projects, initiatives and alliances will be launched between Linz, Tokyo, Wollongong, and Silicon Valley.
The ideas are innovative, radical, eccentric. They influence everyday life— lifestyle, way of life, every single day.
Following a series of highly successful academic collaborations and educational programs in the past five years, Ars Electronica Australia is now involved in long-term programs with governments, cities, academic institutes, and companies.
All of which have the goal of developing new forms of participation in order to involve more people and shape the future of society.