The International Festival of Electronic Language, known more simply as FILE, marries science with art, offering visitors smart works of artificial intelligence. Conceived of by curator Richard Barreto and Paula Perissinotto in 2000, and originally based in São Paulo, the event drew interest throughout the country and the world in the years that followed, passing through Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre and hosting events abroad in Cuba, Angola, the Netherlands and Japan.
Although the event originally focused on the Internet, the creators eventually decided to broaden its perspective to include other aspects of technology. Referred to as ‘clusters’ – which for non-techies means sections divided into networks – the full range of events covers a variety of diverse themes, from tablets, applications and games to experimental electronic music, film animation and interactive installations.
One of the highlights of this edition of the festival – now in its 13th year – is an installation in the form of a large robotic cube that appears to float on air. But it’s not magic, it’s physics: helium. Named Paradoxical Sleep by its inventors, the Canadian artists Nicolas Reeves, David St-Onge and Ghislaine Doté, this intelligent cube can move vertically and reproduce images and videos.
Without ignoring the ideal of art for art’s sake, one of the most interesting aspects of FILE is that its inventions often have a practical application; or, in the words of Barreto, a ‘collective creativity that’s generated because the works are all connected in this festival in one big network.’
Highbrow considerations aside, anyone can enjoy the intriguing installations at FILE – there’s no need to theorise about future technologies and their consequences: you just need a bit of curiosity for shiny new machines, and a few free hours in which to be wowed by art’s power over science – or is that vice versa?