digifest 2006: MODS begins today!

The Design Exchange kicks off digifest 2006: MODS tonight at 9:00pm with its launch party at Toronto’s Design Exchange.

digifest runs from May 10-14, 2006 at three separate venues: the Design Exchange, Harbourfront Centre, and the Ontario Science Centre. Canada’s premiere new media, urban planning and design festival is packed with insightful, informative and contentious issues. Open to public input and discussion, digifest panels and workshops cover hot topics including bioengineering, podcasting, gaming and urban space issues in our city.

Today at 3:00pm, the Design Exchange will host the Orphan Spaces: Retail/Commercial team site proposal presentations for the Orphan Space Series. In its second year at digifest, “Orphan Spaces” speaks to neglected areas in the city. From 6:30pm-7:30pm, one member from each of the eight participating teams will participate in a panel discussion on urban public spaces and the ways communities influence aesthetics and policy. Team members will be joined by James Brown, Principal of Brown & Storey Architects, and Matt Blackett, co-founder of Spacing Magazine. The panel will be moderated by Ian Chodikoff, Editor of Canadian Architect magazine.

On Friday, May 12, a panel discussion entitled Buy/Myself Gaming and the Impact of Technology on Culture begins at 10:00am at the Design Exchange. Panelists will explore how artists, techies and everyday people utilize unintended applications of computer hardware, video game software and mobile technology to express themselves and their personal vision. Moderated by Derek Chezzi (Rogers/Yahoo) and Angela Piacenza (Canadian Press), panelists will include digifest artists Alex Chan (creator of film French Democracy), James Cordiner (Blipverts) and Jim Munroe (No Media Kings).

At 2:00pm, the Design Exchange will feature Transformers Design as a Malleable Medium. This panel discussion will explore the ways scientists, designers, artists and others use and modify materials as a means of artistic expression. Moderated by Michael Prokopow (Curator, Design Exchange), the discussion will include digifest New Voices participants Nicole Motta, Steven Daniels, Simon Trudeau and Mark Argo.

On Saturday May 13, Harbourfront Centre will host two panels focusing on innovations in the medium of radio. The Radio Revolution panel discussion will take place from 2:00pm-3:30pm. Industry professionals will discuss the details of recent advances in radio technology and how it has impacted the way in which we listen and think about the medium. From 4:00 pm-5:30p, DIY Radio panel discussion will bring together artists, creators and programmers to discuss how podcasting and other forms of DIY radio have changed distribution, storytelling and the creation of art and the effect of the art on radio. In Podcasting 101, experts will walk participants through the basics of podcasting, including the technical know-how and important insights into the craft of audio and radio art.

Also on Saturday, May 13, the Fusion fashion show will take place at the Ontario Science Centre from 7:00pm-7:30pm. Researchers and students will showcase fashions inspired by innovative materials and technologies. The show will include designs by Thecla Schiphort and Simon Trudeau.

Filling out the program on Saturday, controversial artists and medical researchers Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr will be joined by scientists from the Gallie Lab and the Ontario Science Centre for a panel discussion on tissue bioengineering from 6:00pm-7:00pm. Participants will discuss bioengineering and its controversial ethical implications as well as using wet-lab technologies in art. The Ontario Science Centre will also host an interactive DNA workshop on Saturday, May 13 from 10:00am-5:00pm, where the public will have an opportunity to use their own hair follicles to uncover their own unique DNA. A $40 workshop fee will apply.

For complete digifest information and schedules, please visit www.dx.org/digifest/