Camille Turner reports on the upcoming Subtle Technologies Festival June 4-6

We're fast approaching my fav time of the year, Subtle Technologies, June 4 - 6. I've been involved in this annual festival since its inception in 1996. It attracts some of the most innovative artists, scientists and thinkers from around the world started as an intimate weekend gathering hosted by an arts collective at InterAccess Gallery in Toronto. We were inspired by a project initiated by one of our members who after returning from visiting several ancient sacred sites, wanted to collaborate with us to build one in Toronto. She shared her excitement and wonder, noting that the sacred sites were built with the latest technologies of their time, some of which have now been lost. We wondered what the latest technologies were of our time.

With seed funding from the programming committee at InterAccess, we invited scientists and technologists to inform us and the
Subtle Technologies Festival was born. Our very first weekend event in 1996 was a magical meeting of minds. It was small, intimate, exciting. We had potluck dinners and discussions over pints of beer. We felt like we were at the centre of the universe, rediscovering lost parts of ourselves and discussing issues that were vital to the planet.

Fourteen years later, the festival is still alive with the sense of awe and wonder guided by our original mission. This year the theme is Sustainability. From June 4 - 6 noted presenters will converge on Toronto to share their work and rub shoulders with attendees in an intimate and friendly atmosphere.

Here are a few of the highlights of this year's fest...

Junk to Juice DIY power generation on the cheap May 29th & 30th, 12pm – 5pm at OCAD Learn how to make you own electricity using generators built from trash. The generators will run off simple, non-polluting, sources, such as waste heat and wind. This workshop is by Hacket, director of The Madagascar Institute

Contingent Ecologies May 22 to June 12, 2010. Opening – June 4, 2010.
Unconventional thinkers create the future in this exhibition of build environments in public space curated by myself,
Camille Turner, and Michael Alstad.

In Water Colours, an art and science boat cruise Saturday, June 5th 7:30PM to midnight Come and party with us as we rock the boat with the sparkling Toronto skyline as backdrop. Festivities include a recital by Gordon Monahan on his new instrument, the “Sauerkraut Synthesizer” and Zev Asher performing a documentary film starring his body. The voyage will be the vessel for a program of video and sound art chosen to reflect concerns for the water in and below us.

Community Day Sunday, June 6, 2010 Learn how to create a do-it-yourself garden to grow your own food! See an exciting documentary about two linguist adventurers searching for lost languages! Play in the mud with our interactive seed bombing activity! Explore, create and learn!

Hope to see you at the festival!

You can follow Subtle on Twitter @SubtleTech
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Here's a video from last year's fest.

Camille Turner is a Toronto-based artist and cultural producer who uses media and performance to build bridges across cultures and differences. She is a curator with the Subtle Technologies Festival.