Conflux 2024 theme: Symbiotic Realities

Now in its third year, Conflux Festival returns in 2024 to continue its investigation of the ever-evolving relationships between humans, machines, and other nonhuman intelligences through the critical lenses of art, music, science, and philosophy. The rapidly changing technoscientific landscape and the complex interplay between societal and technological progress are having a profound effect on our everyday lived reality. Their influence is apparent on the diverse humanitarian crises playing out on the global theater and in cyberspace, necessitating a continued engagement with the difficult future-focused questions facing humanity.

In its first year, Conflux Festival probed the machine-driven post-anthropocenic future under the theme “Exit Human”. Last year, the “Living Machines” theme provided a vehicle to explore various forms of nonhuman consciousness. To close out the trilogy, this year the festival will deploy its “Symbiotic Realities” theme to consider potential approaches for coexistence and mutual understanding between humanity and the realms of technology and nature.

Symbiotic Realities

The construction of reality is defined by the phenomenon of the interior experience of the subject. Processes that form a conscious mind give shape to what is considered real. Since consciousness is experienced from the inside, the creation of reality differs between different types of minds and bodies. As humans, we can only wonder what kind internal subjective experiences machines, plants, and animals have and how those shape their realities. Is it possible to truly know the “other minds” and how their realities are informed by their internal experiences? If so, what reality-crossing bridges can we build and how can we ensure that they are mutually beneficial to all those involved?

Perception plays an essential role in the transfer of information from the external world to the inner experience and it is instrumental in how realities are formed. The sensory apparatus of a conscious entity defines the modes of thinking about the world it can use to build its reality. Extra-human machinic sensory systems and expanded perception capabilities in fungi, plants, and animals allow for technological and natural realities that divert considerably from the human experience. Techno-natural augmented cyborgian sensory experiences for both humans and nonhumans alike can potentially hold the key to link realities between the two. To understand the experience of reality by a nonhuman intelligence is a worthwhile exercise in cross-species empathy building in order to imagine and build better futures.

Within the ongoing and expanding conflicts between humans and humans, humans and nature, humans and machines, and machines and nature, Conflux Festival aims to serve as a platform for envisioning new models for coexistence and synergy between humans, technology and the natural world and hopes to generate concepts for novel symbiotic techno-natural ecosystems that embrace various modes of understanding realities and existence.

The expressions and experiences of art and music that form the heart of the festival are highly dependent on the sensory perception system embedded in the human body. We know that some nonhuman entities can also produce and appreciate creative expressions akin to our own. However, the possibilities to build reality-crossing connections through these avenues are underexplored and deserve further examination. With the rise of ever more advanced machinic systems and the looming possibility of completely malleable biological constructs, transcending species and biochemistry, this exploration necessitates that it becomes a multidirectional endeavor. Through the co-creation of sensory encounters − combining human, machine, and nature − the inner experience of consciousness can transcend the boundaries of each individual entity’s reality and generate a symbiotic multitude of realities, bringing about a multi-species convergence of experience.

Conflux Festival’s four-day program investigates the current state of humanity and its connections to the experienced reality of other natural and technological entities. Through adventurous cultural and artistic practices, we invite thinkers, artists, musicians, and the creative minds of the audience to collectively explore the intricate web of relations between humans, technology, ecology, society, and the uncharted frontiers of the future.


Program 2024

  • Performances

    Program to be announced

  • Exhibitions

  • Club Nights

  • Conference

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