On Monday, March 13th, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the College of Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Roger Ebert's Film Festival will host the 20th anniversary of Cyberfest, a technology and arts festival. It celebrates the birthday of the fictional artificial intelligence character, HAL 9000, in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, which became operational in Urbana on January 12, 1997. At the first Cyberfest in 1997, Clarke joined the festivities via satellite from Sri Lanka, while the star of Stanley Kubrick's immortal film adaptation, Keir Dullea, was there in person. This year's celebration will take place at NCSA and include a public reception and a panel discussion.
"This event will celebrate the 20th anniversary of a truly unique experience imagined by Illinois' visionary faculty, staff and students and created from its extraordinary collaborative culture," said Veronica Paredes, postdoctoral research associate in Media and Cinema Studies and the NCSA. "We organized this celebration not only to honor the campus' past efforts, but also to use it as a beacon for our contemporary moment. How can the interdisciplinary generosity and intellectual boldness of the 1997 Cyberfest celebration guide us now?"
A reception with interactive demonstrations from the Advanced Visualization Laboratory, the Critical Technology Studies Lab, and the NCSA Creativity Lab will kick off at 5:30pm. Following that will be a 6:30pm panel about the impact of Cyberfest on culture and society featuring Dr. Donna Cox, head of the NCSA's Culture and Society Theme; Julie Turnock, Associate Professor of Media and Cinema Studies (U of I); Robin Bargar, Executive Director of Studio for International Media & Technology, Professor in School of Arts & Media, and in School of Computing Sciences & Engineering (University of Salford, Manchester); Insook Choi, Chair of Interdisciplinary Arts & Technology, Professor in School of Arts and Media (University of Salford, Manchester); and film and technology luminaries such as Ebertfest leaders Chaz Ebert and Nate Kohn, and entrepreneur Brand Fortner. Moderating the panel will be Veronica Paredes.The 20th anniversary of Cyberfest can be streamed live here. Click here to view footage of the 1997 Cybergala “Machine Child” performance.