Connecting digital artists to the planet – Egypt – Al-Ahram Weekly

The Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, as well as other stakeholders from the private sector, international development organizations and the entrepreneurial community, announced the launch of the ClimaTech Run 2022.

The ClimaTech Run is a multi-stage program for tech entrepreneurs and digital artists who share a collective passion for sustainability and technology. The winners will present their work at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh in November.

The competition has two tracks that harness the power of both technology and art: the first track is for global tech entrepreneurs (the ICT for Climate Action track) and the second track is for digital artists (DigitalArt4Climate) . The ClimaTech Run extends for a month until September 22 through live global events and webinars.

“We all have a role to play in climate action. Young people are particularly fundamental in finding new innovative solutions… and this is an opportunity for young people to turn proposals into concrete projects,” said Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation.

Zooming into the second track, artists and visual storytellers of all ages, especially young creatives, must curate artworks that articulate feelings, ideas and visions related to climate change as a source of hope for climate action.

Mohamed Meatemed Eissawi, coordinator of the ClimaTech Run, said Al Ahram Weekly that the technical concept behind the competition lies in the central role that technology plays in building a connection with the Earth.

“We try to grab people’s attention and move their attention through technological art to present issues that affect our daily lives. We try to connect technical concepts with environmental issues by linking culture, technology and the environment to raise awareness of climate change,” he said.

The competition focuses on technology, harnessing the idea of ​​digital art, from digital paintings and drawings to 3D modelling, photo manipulation, digital collages and photography. These forms of art projects are becoming more prevalent than traditional art, Eissawi explained.

The art track is co-designed and implemented by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) and the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI Glotcha).

“The power of digital art accelerates and amplifies any subject when it begins to go digital,” said Nadine Ghaffar, Founder and Curator of Art from Egypt. Weeklyexplaining that for every 500,000 people who physically visit exhibitions, more than a billion visit, view or participate online.

Digital art is one of many forms of future cultural expressions, Ghaffar said. “This is where the world is heading, but that doesn’t mean that all the different forms of cultural expressions like canvas, sculptures, oil paints and physical items will be obsolete.”

Public voting for the selected artworks will take place from September 25 to October 5. Competition finalists will be selected by a team of curators and judges coordinated by the IAAI GloCha DigitalArt4Climate Consortium. The overall winner will receive a prize of USD 100,000, in addition to USD 50,000 for African entrepreneurs.

COP27 will be a great platform for different forms of cultural expressions, Ghaffar said, noting that those involved would be interested in participating in ClimaTech’s digital art track to meet like-minded people from all over the world.

DigitalArt4Work uses blockchain technology to transform the way disparate communities communicate and trust each other through permissionless distributed ledger technology. “Our generation has been blessed with the remarkable opportunity to impact our world with the transformative power of art and blockchain technology,” said DigitalArt4Climate Partner Irina Karagyuar.

“Watching the storm of global climate change rise creates a great deal of uncertainty, anxiety and a sense of hopelessness. If we combine the transformative power of culture with the transformative power of technology, we can build a global climate change movement. ‘angels who care about the common good and care about Mother Earth,’ said DigitalArt4Climate founder Miroslav Polzer.

During the COP26 competition, called “Humanity challenged by Climate Change” and exhibited in Glasgow in 2021, a 10-year-old digital artist diagnosed with autism won fourth place. In first place, filmmaker Souki Belghiti portrayed the stranded shores of Morocco in his short film No Noah for the next flood.

“There will be no Noah to save us from the next flood – this is an expression of my deep sadness at the ongoing environmental disaster and a love song for our world,” he said. captioned his video.

Last year’s artwork featured in the art competition represented a growing movement within the non-fungible token (NFT) community to use art to inspire change and strengthen the fight against corruption. climate crisis. It aimed to promote the creative economy which covers activities such as advertising, architecture, arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music, performing arts , publishing, research and development, software, computer games, electronic publishing, TV and radio, NFT and crypto art.

NFTs still do not have a large target audience in Egypt, Ghaffar pointed out, but the younger generation is interested. “We are part of a global economy, so somehow we have to jump on it [NFTs] boat too.

On the other hand, Timmy Mowafi, Founder and Managing Partner of NFTYArabia, said that on the surface, NFTs have a bad reputation when it comes to climate change due to popular blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum which use huge amounts of energy.

However, this trend is slowly waning, and there are many other mint cheaper proof-of-stake blockchains developed to be much more environmentally friendly, and these will reduce carbon emissions.

Mowafi said some blockchain technologies have already offset its entire carbon footprint.

Carbon offsetting has become a healthy trend in the NFT space, where an art collection, channel or marketplace will make sure to offset their environmental effects with carbon credits, registering an equivalent positive impact on the environment through partnerships with relevant charities fighting against climate change.

Mowafi said he believes NFTs will eventually take over industries in all countries that rely on any type of digital infrastructure, including Egypt.


*A version of this article appeared in the September 8, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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Marilyn M. Davis