NEU NOW LIVE Retrospective: Part 3 - Mindaugas Bačkus, Cellist and Orchestra Art Director 30 July 2013

'Some of my colleagues were shocked by this, because at that moment I had already three kids.

But professional development was in progress  and I didn’t want to stop.

Mindaugas Bačkus is an accomplished musician who has dabbled in many forms of artistic practice -  from pioneering the revival of baroque cello in Lithuania as a freelance Cellist (at the time he was the only musician in the country who played a baroque instrument) to championing diverse concert programmes that attract broader audiences as the Art Director of the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra. In tempo with all this he is also a father and a dedicated educator to children whose endeavors can teach us all about balancing the responsibilities of life with our creative passions.

Bačkus's contribution to NEU NOW LIVE 2009, 'On the Edge', reflected the 300-year evolution of the cello. This music programme featured baroque and modern cello performances that contrasted the compositions, playing techniques, and instruments themselves yet still brought them together into one musical entity.

The NEU NOW team dispatched Jessica Maxwell, resident cello and diversity enthusiast, to catch up with Mindaugas and hear how the beat goes on.   

This interview was conducted via written correspondence the week of June 10, 2013.  Read more »

NEU NOW LIVE Retrospective: Part 2 - Koji Wakayama, Experience Designer 19 July 2013

'Do you have a pet?
Are you comfortable in the presence of robots?
Would you like to have a robot as a pet?
Would you like to have a robot as a servant?
Would you like to have a robot as a slave?'

These are just a few of the questions Koji Wakayama, Swedish Experience Designer and participant of the first edition of the NEU NOW LIVE Festival, investigates through his work with applied robotics and new technologies. 

Wakayama's presentation in Design at the NEU NOW LIVE Festival in Vilnius, ‘Robot Garden: Can Machines Have Experiences?’, primed the audience to consider these matters. 

Wakayama recently landed the position of Frontend Developer for the Nordic region's leading digitial agency, Creuna, and in the past has created electronic promotion campaigns for household names like IKEA, Volkswagon, and Grolsch as well as having taught Experience Design to Master Students at Konstfack University.

The NEU NOW team dispatched Jessica Maxwell, resident festival tech nerd, to catch up with Koji and see where life has taken him - and his creations - over the years.

This interview was conducted via skype on June 20, 2013.  Read more »

NEU NOW LIVE Retrospective Launches: Part 1 - Susanne Irene Fjørtoft, Theatre Maker 17 July 2013

'Talk with people and be curious. I think that's a good approach to most things. Be curious, and investigate, and engage.'

This is the answer Susanne Irene Fjørtoft, Norwegian theater maker and participant of the first edition of the NEU NOW LIVE Festival, offered when asked what advice she would give to the young artists in this year's Festival, now on its fifth edition.

Not one to shy away from her own advice, Susanne is currently engaging with the world in a number of different ways; from her her freelance work as a sceneographer, to her theatre making with the performance ensemble LIVESTOCK, and her collaboration with the Happy Gorilla Dance Company, her artistic endeavours have led her to unexpected encounters - including finding herself in Istanbul in the midst of June's protests.  

A self described '100% Happy Gorilla', all of her undertakings are marked by a thoughtful playfullness that emanates from her sense of curiosity as well a keen sense of awareness, reflection, and social responsibility.

The NEU NOW team dispatched resident festival busybody Jessica Maxwell to catch up with Susanne and see where life has taken her - and her art - over the years.

Returning to the craft of the long form interview, what follows is a condensed form of the longer original version. In regards to today's bitesize media consumption it includes section headings to expedite reading.

This interview was conducted via skype on June 19, 2013.  Read more »

NEU NOW at Prix Europa: Interview with Festival Director Susanne Hoffmann 02 July 2013

The European League of Institutes of the Arts is very proud to announce that the films featured in the NEU NOW LIVE Festival 2013 will be presented at this year's edition of Prix Europa in Berlin from 19-26 October. Read more »

Update on New EU Programmes 04 July 2013

The three EU Institutions, the European Parliament, the European Union, and the European Council of Ministers, agreed on the future budget of the Union 2014-2020 on 26 June. Read more »

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