review: festival in Rosario – in memoriam

view on Rosario
Here is a small review on the 2nd digital Art Festival Rosario/Argentina which took place between 17-19 November 2006.

Festival location
The Centre of Contemporary Expressions Rosario

Rosario, with more than 1,5 million inhabitans the second largest city in Argentina, is said to be the cultural capital of the country. Situated at the Parana river, the city has a specific atmosphere which represents one of the basic aspects why so many culturally active people choose Rosario for their creative home.

Nearly traditionally, Rosario is hosting since many years a variety of digital art events, and in 2006 even two digital art festivals took place in November (springtime in Argentina).

I was invited to be a special guest on the 2nd Digital Art Festival which was organised after 2003 in 2006 for the second time by Gabriel Otero, himself a multi-disciplinarily acting artist, VJ and producer.
The festival location was the Centre of Contemporary Expressions (see above) located in a former store house close to the Parana river, an ideal place for major musical events and festivals of any kind, also because it is technically really well equipped.

When I arrived at Rosario, the weather was really fine and the festival event seemed to become a great thing, a kind of innocence was in the spring air.

Festival location inside view
The Centre of Contemporary Expressions – inside view

But then two days before the opening, the incredible happened, a kind of tornado, a thunderstorm came over the region of Rosario with an unknown destructive power, the first time that something like that happened in Rosario.

I was sitting in the lounge of my hotel in the afternoon, when this tornado conquered the city.
Cannonballs of ice, bigger than baseballs, hit the city like bombs. It sounded as if Rosario was under attack of alien air forces. When after some hours this nightmare stopped, Rosario was left as a field of destruction.

And then I was reported, that the entire hardware, computers and other equipment, which was already installed at the festival halls, was completely damaged through the floods of water, and even worse, a group of four artists who were under way from Buenos Aires to Rosario and were supposed to participate in the festival died in an accident caused by the tornado.

All this was so horrible, that the entire event should actually have better stopped immediately.
But Gabriel Otero as the organiser tried to do his best to save his festival,
but as everybody can imagine, there was no atmosphere left anymore and nobody wanted to celebrate while artists were dead instead of performing.

Nancy Nisbeth (Canada)
Nancy Nisbet in front of her installation

So, the rest is quickly told—> the festival opened one day later, the festival program was cut a bit, Nancy Nisbet, an internationally reknown media artist from Canada and my person, we did our presentations, and also the film and video programs were screened, the exhibition of digital art was set up and running, so actually formally the festival took place, but it was no festival in its actual sense, as the pleasure, the fun, the enthusiasm and the motivation were lost, it was just sad, really sad.

My little report is dedicated to the young performance artists who became victims of the thunderstorm and died on 14 November on way from Buenos Aires to Rosario.

I wish Gabriel Otero and his festival, more luck and fortune when there will be a next time in 2007 or later. He, the artists, Rosario and Argentina really deserve it.

international guests
Gabriel Otero and his international guests Nancy Nisbet/Canada and Wilfried Agricola de Cologne/Germany