8 – 12 FEB
critical fun & play
theme 2023: DRUGS
Socio-critical art and technology festival TEC ART lands in the city center of Rotterdam again from Feb. 8 – 12 2023 as a subversive element of the annual Rotterdam Art Week. The corner of Boomgaardsstraat / Witte de Withstraat functions as backdrop for a twisted Cyberpunk Arena: 500m2 of free-to-experience futuristic outdoor art, trippy light installations, performances and DJ shows; the adjoining indoor spaces of cultural center WORM can be visited for a psychedelic indoor exhibition of groundbreaking artworks by well-known names and up-and-coming talents.
To celebrate TEC ART’s tenth anniversary, the festival kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 8, with a long-cherished wish of the organization: a taboo-breaking scientific symposium on the controversial topic of drugs. In presenting the symposium and controversially themed artworks, TEC ART is championing more nuanced perspectives on drugs and encouraging visitors and policymakers to embrace the pioneering capabilities of mind-altering substances.
The topic of drugs is urgent not only because of the never-ending, inefficient war on drugs, but also because of the increasing intertwinement with technology in the form of recreational biotec designer drugs (such as 4-FMP, Benzo Fury and 2C-B) as well as the completely derailed international commercialization of Big Pharma’s modified ‘medicines’. In addition, drug use has a close relationship with the arts – think of drug users Vincent Van Gogh, Dali, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ella Fitzgerald, Philip K. Dick, Janis Joplin, Madonna and many others – and drugs form an essential aspect of social life for the vast majority of subcultures, despite potential dangers. It is no coincidence that drugs feature prominently in popular culture, from Aldous Huxley’s dystopian Soma to The Culture’s utopian drug glands by sci-fi writer Ian M. Banks. Keynote speakers and artists present their views during TEC ART Festival: what relationship do our bodies have to drugs in the future, and how will society relate to them?