Austin artists collaborate internationally for UNESCO’s Creative Cities of Media Arts

City to City: PLAY! is the second edition of the innovative online collaborative project

AUSTIN, TX – The City of Austin Economic Development Department announces the second annual UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts City-to-City Project. Austin is the first (and only) city in the United States to receive a Designation UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. This honor underscores Austin’s reputation as an innovative global city at the intersection of art, music, film, games and multidisciplinary digital experiences. Following the launch of a formal call, 14 artists from 13 creative cities were selected to participate in a four-month collaborative project. The 2021 theme for From town to town ‘PLAY!’ is a direct response to the lack of ‘playfulness’ in everyday human interactions throughout the pandemic.

“Austin is widely recognized as a collaborative community at the cutting edge of media arts technology,” says Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, director of the economic development department. “We are thrilled to support Austin’s media arts talent in developing a roadmap for securing capital, sponsorship and capacity building through the lens of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. .”

Initiated by UNESCO Creative Cities in Media Arts, From town to town was launched in the presence of artists, UNESCO officials and representatives of civil society. Teams of artists were created and encouraged to collaboratively create high-quality media artworks to be disseminated within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as well as to a wider audience.

The group of artists selected to represent the city of Austin is ARCOS: Erica Gionfriddo and Eliot Gray Fisher. ARCOS worked with Taeheon Lee (from York, England) and Meiyan Chen (from Karlsruhe, Germany) to create say hey. The team of artists describes say hey as an alternative social media experience to open minds to understand individual bodies.

Watch the February 9 live stream of the From town to town launch on facebook. Guests at the launch were welcomed by the Economic Development Secretary to the Mayor of Cali, Ms. Liliana Sierra Chavez. Speeches were also delivered by UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, Mr Ernesto Ottone and the Media Arts Cities Coordinator, Mr Dominique Roland. The event also included an interview with the Executive Director of the International Electronic Art Symposium, Sue Gollifer, as well as presentations by members of the creative teams and the works themselves.

UNESCO City-to-City Works and Artists List 2021:

PlaceHolder – Ivana Durkáčová (Kosice), Luciano Rodriguez Arredondo (Guadalajara)

FALL – Jorge Ramos (Braga), Julien Gaillac (Enghien-les-Bains), Anna Kim (Gwangju)

The gate – Yilin Wang (Changsha), Mauricio Diaz (Cali), Miyki Oka (Sapporo)

say hey – Taeheon Lee (York), Meiyan Chen (Karlsruhe), ARCOS (Austin)

high wave – Manuel Alejandro Jimenez Reyes (Toronto)

Explore a virtual gallery of artwork from Media Arts Cities online. The 13 UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts participating in the project are Austin (USA), Braga (Portugal), Calí (Colombia), Changsha (China), Enghien-les-Bains (France), Guadalajara (Mexico), Gwangju (Korea), Karlsruhe (Germany), Kosice (Slovakia), Sapporo (Japan), Toronto (Canada), Viborg (Denmark) and York (United Kingdom). These works of art will live both virtually in UNESCO’s Creative Cities of Media Arts virtual gallery and on tour at different events and festivals within the UNESCO network over the next year. Moving forward, From town to town will be an annual flagship collaboration between UNESCO’s Creative Cities of Media Arts.

Last November, the Italian Fondazione Santagata for the economy of culture awarded this collaborative initiative the prize for “Best international project”, highlighting both the importance of inter-urban collaboration and the role of culture and creativity in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is also at the heart of the mission and activities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. See the online exhibition of the first edition of From city to city: human responsibilityin 2020.


About the City of Austin Economic Development Department

The City of Austin’s Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries and local communities. These programs create an equitable and sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about useful resources, visit follow us @AustinEconDev on Facebook and @AustinEconDev on Twitter.

About the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)

the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and between cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The cities that make up this network work together towards a common goal: to place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and actively cooperate at the international level.

As a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) since 2015, Austin works individually and in partnership with other UNESCO cities to promote creativity and the integration of culture into development plans. urban. Through this designation, Austin artists have the opportunity to exhibit locally and participate in international cultural exchange programs with other UNESCO Creative Cities.

About Artists Representing Austin:

EG Gionfriddo is a dance artist and educator who believes in the intelligent body that each of us occupies. They are co-founders of ARCOS (, whose ongoing investigation probes the intersection of technology and humanity through rigorous interdisciplinary experimentation. With ARCOS, EG has been commissioned as a dancer and choreographer for festivals and symposiums including the American Dance Festival, Ammerman Center Biennial Symposium on Arts and Technology, Engagement Symposium of Philosophy and Dance, CURRENTS International New Media Festival and an award-winning production. at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. They have been awarded artist residencies at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the arts, Playa Summerlake, the Ucross Foundation as well as nationally at colleges and universities. EG is Assistant Professor of Dance Practice at the University of Texas at Austin and holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Shenandoah Conservatory and an MFA in Dance from Hollins University.

Eliot Gray Fisher is an interdisciplinary artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico, whose practice connects the superimposed layers of technology to performance. As co-director of the interdisciplinary performance group ARCOS (, he has presented award-winning works at festivals such as CURRENTS International New Media Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, created commissions at interdisciplinary symposia at Connecticut College’s Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology and Texas State University, has been visiting artist at institutions such as the University of Michigan and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, published in the peer-reviewed journal Theater design and technology and The Bloomsbury Handbook of Dance and Philosophy, has participated in residencies including Ucross Foundation and Signal Culture, and has received grants from the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media and the Charles and Joan Gross Family Foundation. Eliot holds a BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan University and an MA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College.

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