International Festival
of Computer Arts

MFRU 2021

27th MFRU Dangerous idea or (bright) future? – Transhumanism

08.–15. October 2021, Maribor, Slovenia

The International Festival of Computer Art (IFCA), that presents, analyzes and helps people understand the computer as a machine for production, distribution, communication and archiving, has been around for more than quarter of a century and it’s about time that became recognized for it. In the mid-1990s computer technology played a key role in broader social, economic as well as ecological transformations and steered development of the cities from an industrial past to a post-industrial future. IFCA, with a special focus on computer art, has been a unique platform for addressing change and potential that these technologies brought, locally and internationally, ever since.

The declaration of pandemic and all the related health safety measures, that happened in the previous year, have forced the festival to change its program and adapt to these new circumstances. Thus, the central curated program took place in an online, virtual, and digital environment. For the same reason, a large part of the program will this year also be presented on the festival’s website, but at the same time the program will have separate events spread out in the public spaces throughout a wide area. At various locations in the city, it will be possible to get to know the practices of local intermedia artists as well as projects of internationally renowned artists, for example in shop’s display windows, within underpasses and abandoned bars.

While the 26th IFCA focused on projects addressing the infrastructural aspects of the relationship between computer technologies and planetary ecologies, the 27th edition of the festival attempts to address the community-related issues in relation to open society, open science, open technology, and continuing research in directions of transhumanism. Between technology and integration of technology in processes on a planetary level, a question of importance on human beings arises. A human and his personal freedom versus the ever-increasing and necessary subordination to technology? But there is also a forecast or even hope that technology and science will accelerate and improve human evolution, so that humanity could transcend its physical, mental, and social limitations. If we managed to successfully replace all the biological parts of a human body, we would become a machine that could be eternal. But a question remains, would we still be able to feel, think, and recollect memories in the same way. What would happen to our view of the world?

This past year has indicated various possibilities and fields of research which are, for a festival like IFCA, very interesting to present. At the same time, they also give us points to question the future that is promised to be achieved by exceeding human capabilities. Restrictions are precondition for establishing the desire for progress, for upgrading. Therefore, within the central theme, sub-themes that relate to emotional states such as fear, empathy, insecurity, help, are exposed. Technology and artificial intelligence, in some respects, go beyond humanity and its creativity. They present new dilemmas that will force us to re-evaluate economics, politics, and capitalism. The main exhibition therefore deviates crucially from the established form of the exhibited works. On the one hand, this means "field work", conversations and actions that focus on thinking about the possible or the impossible. In practice, this means conducting workshops, residencies, transfer of practices, new forms of debates and continuous, long-lasting development projects, enriched by a critical theory of the information / communication society and social phenomena.

The central exhibition in the form of art projects connects various festival participants, creators, and the public in the city. This new exhibition format brings additional effort to experiment with exhibition design and focus on exhibiting outside the classic gallery spaces. The integration of art projects into spaces that are not primarily intended for art exhibitions. Therefore, the central exhibition does not only aim to reach a new "audience" but also opens a different access to the extended socio-ecological context, fundamentally determined by the complex technological systems, processes and networks whose operation the festival attempts to address.

Program Manager of 27th MFRU Aleksandra Saška Gruden
with support of Miha Horvat


Program manager Aleksandra Saška Gruden
Curators Aleksandra Saška Gruden, Miha Horvat, Kristina Prah, Sara Nuša Golob Grabner
Coordinator Sonja Gregorn
Festival photography and video Mitja Lorenčič
Texts Aleksandra Saška Gruden
Designer Dorijan Šiško
PR Managers Mojca Potrč, Žan Lebe
Technical implementation Matej Modrinjak
Archives editing Živa Brglez
Website designer & developer Marko Damiš
Assistance Mojca Hinteregger, Urška Novak, Eva Lubej, Dani Marinič, Sara Nuša Golob Grabner
Translator, Lector Helena Marko



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Production partners

konS ≡ Platform for Contemporary Investigative Art is a project chosen on the public call for the selection of the operations “Network of Investigative Art and Culture Centres”. The investment is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union.


Media partners