UCSC's Digital Arts and New Media program (DANM) will present "DANM Festival 2006," a four-day series of events that includes exhibitions, performances, symposia, and film screenings from May 4-7. It will include work by national and international artists, expert speakers, and students from the M.F.A. program. Events will take place on campus and at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

The festival is designed to showcase UCSC's new presence in the field of digital arts and new media. The DANM program was established in 2004 to address the increasing role of digital technology in the arts and to explore the impact of digital arts on human culture. The innovative new M.F.A. program will graduate its first class this June, and now serves as a center for the development and study of digital media and the cultures that it has helped to create.

"The impetus for the festival originally came from Porter College provost David Evan Jones," said assistant professor of art Ed Osborn. "The idea was to have a big public event, bringing in notable people from out of the area, to increase visibility and serve as a marker to the rest of the world that this program is here at UCSC."

Osborn is one of five DANM faculty members who will lead panels at the festival featuring top researchers in music and sound practice, performing arts, and biotechnology. His symposium, "Audible Terrain: Shifting Ground in Contemporary Sound Practice," will include Nigel Helyer, a sculptor and sound artist from Sydney, Australia, who studies sound and its relation to biology. Other panels will include "The Role of Virtuosity in a Technology-Enhanced Performance," hosted by David Merrill from MIT; and "Algorithmic Methods and Models in the Arts," led by UCSC music professor David Cope.

Music performances will include a presentation by electronic composer and sound-installation artist Laetitia Sonami--best known for her theatrical pieces in which she controls music and sound with a black glove, studded with sensors. There will also be exhibitions of work by top Bay Area media artists Jim Campbell, Paul DeMarinis, and Camille Utterback at the Museum of Art and History that include interactive video installations. "All the works are quite fascinating," Osborn noted.

In collaboration with the Santa Cruz Film Festival, the DANM festival will also present screenings of rare historical works that have been influential in the development of digital art, along with films by contemporary artists such as Harun Farocki.

DANM Festival 2006 is sponsored by DANM and Porter College, with promotional support from UCSC's Arts & Lectures program. For a complete list of all festival events and background information on guest artists and speakers, go to: http://danm.ucsc.edu/web/festival, or contact Elena Lledo at elledo@ucsc.edu, (831) 457-2027.