In the masterclass and lectures programme, Art and Digital Culture, which will take place within the framework of RETROSPECTIVE-IN-MEGARON series of events, the celebrated animators, Barry Purves and Theodore Ushev, invited in collaboration with BE THERE! Corfu Animation Festival, will analyse their art, their techniques and their approach to technology. Dan Lejerskar, EON-Reality Chairman, will talk about "The Evolution of the Augmented Reality Market & the Human - Computer - Interaction Problem", Professor Nikolaos Kanellopoulos will make a presentation on “From Antikythera Computer to Quantum Computer: Augmented Reality and Art” and Professor Michalis Meimaris' speech will refer to “Human[e]ducation for a "good enough" screen”. The director of BE THERE! and Phd student of the Department, Vassilis Kroustallis, will focus on the relation of animation to politics. The programme will also include screenings of works related to the masterclasses themes.
Eija-Liisa Ahtila is one of the most celebrated visual artists and filmmakers. She has studied visual arts in Helsinki, and film in London and Los Angeles. Ahtila has herself described her work as “human dramas”. Her work focuses on existential issues and film language, and more recently, on more profound theoretical and philosophical issues, concerning human existence and culture. In her recent works Eija-Liisa Ahtila widens the focus from people onto their environment, departing from a biopolitical perspective. For example, in her film Studies on the Ecology of Drama she explores ways of creating images that move beyond cinematic anthropocentrism onto issues concerning the ongoing ecological crisis. Among others, her work has been shown in individual and retrospective exhibitions in Tate Modern, in MoMA, in Guggenheim, in Bilbao, in Jeu de Paume, in Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, in Kiasma in Helsinki, in Moderna Museet in Stockholm, while she has participated in influential group shows, such as Venice Biennale. Her work has received numerous distinctions and awards, including, an honorary mention at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999) and Artes Mundi Prize (2006). She is a former professor at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, at 2009 she was honoured with the title of Academician of Art. Her works have been shown in significant festivals all over the world, as well as in television.
Dan Lejerskar began his career at Volvo Aerospace as program manager for the Arianne 5 rocket program for the main engine rocket. He founded and ran PKAB, a company that focused on numerical simulation to virtual reality and interactive 3D. In 1998 he co-founded EON Reality and also headed RealityBUY.com, a company, which developed interactive 3D focusing on development, content and application. The company grew organically to a peak of US$240 million. In 2009, he co-founded Greenwave Systems, a company, which accelerates Internet of Things with a software and services platform that enables managed services simply, affordably and at scale. He helped grew the company organically to a US$190 million value.
Lejerskar holds dual Masters of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science from Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. His awards include Most Accomplished Businessman for Fastest Growing Company in Sweden, Co-winner with the CEO of Volvo AB of the Chalmers University of Technology Daleen Prize and Entrepreneur of the Year. He has been selected to speak in capacity of VR expert to the Asian Leadership Conference in 2015 and 2016.
Diverse and multitalented Barry J. C. Purves is a British director, theatre designer, screenwriter and producer usually, but not exclusively working with animation. His relationship with theatre -as an actor as well- formed the style of his work, which is defined by the feature of performance with puppets. Purves has been honored with more than sixty international prizes of best director, best film, grand prix, and nominations for Oscar and BAFTA awards. Many festivals have held retrospectives of his works, including the Edinburgh International Festival, the Bristol Puppet Festival, London International Animation Festival. He teaches at colleges all over the world, including National Film and Television School of London and Staffordshire University, from which he has received the title of a honorary doctorate. Purves is also the author of numerous articles, and of two monographs on stop-motion animation and a director for TV series (BBC, ARTE, Channel Four etc.).
Theodore Ushev is an animator, graphic designer, illustrator and multimedia artist. He has studied in Kyustendil and at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. For Ushev, animation has socio-political impact, humanitarian character and therapeutic power. His work explores the relation of the medium of animation to visual arts, for example, in the historical avant-garde movements. Ushev is based in Montreal, Canada and collaborates with the National Film Board of Canada, and he also produces site-specific multimedia performances including the interactive Diagonales at Grande Bibliotheque of Montreal, an interactive installation in dialogue with famous films of Norman McLaren, and in cooperation with Iregular design studio (2014). His work, Blind Vaysha has been nominated for Best Animated Short at the 89th Academy Awards (2017), and has been awarded with many distinctions including the Cartoon Network Award for the Best Narrative Short Animation and the Canadian Film Institute Award for the Best Canadian Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Film Festival, the Jury Prize & Junior Prize of the Day, in Annecy 2016, the Animation Gold Plaque, at the Chicago International Film Festival, 2016.
Dr Nikolaos Kanellopoulos, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D., is professor in the Audiovisual Arts Department, Ionian University, specializing in Computer Systems & Applications and elected Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of Ionian University. He has served as the Head of the Audiovisual Arts Department of the Ionian University of Greece (2007-2012), as faculty member for the Computer Science Engineering & Informatics Department of Patras University and for the Archives and Library Science Department of Ionian University, as Vice-President for the Computer Science Department of the Ionian University and as President for the Greek National School of Dance. He has been a member of the National Governmental IT Committee and has served as a specialist scientific adviser, reviewer and evaluator of IT in the Ministry of Education, Research & Development, Justice, National Defense, Presidency, Mass Press & Media. He has contributed in the development of the Department of Computer Engineering & Informatics of Patras University and the Research Academic Computer Technology Institute of the Ministry of Education. Ηe has extensive experience with more than 50 National and European R&D projects in the fields of Computer System Architecture, e-government and Information Technology Applications. His published work includes three international patents and about 100 papers/studies. He has presented his opinion on various scientific and cultural matters in the mass media. He has written one play for theatre as well as various literature essays. Currently his main research interest is in the application of digital technology in audiovisual art interactive systems (VR/AR).
Dr Michalis Meimaris, Professor Emeritus of New Technologies in Media, Communication and Education, with significant contributions in the field of digital storytelling, has served at the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, being also the Head of the Department for a period of four years.
He is the Director of the University Research Institute of Applied Communication, while in the past he established and directed the laboratory of New Technologies in Communication, Education and the Mass Media.
He has been awarded Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques of the French Democracy.
Dr Michalis Meimaris is a member of the Administrative Board of the Unesco Institute for Information Technologies in Education since January 1st, 2014.
Vassilis Kroustallis comes from Corfu and is the initiator and director of Be There! Corfu Animation Festival. Moreover, he is the editor of the animation portal zippyframes.com and a Phd student of the Audio-Visual Arts Department. In 2016 he was honoured with the 2016 Norman McLaren – Evelyn Lambart Award for the Best Scholarly Article in Animation published 2014-2015, for his paper on “Failure to Think, Failure to Move: Handicapped Reasoning in Waltz with Bashir”. Recently he was selected as an ambassador for Greece for the newly established institution of European Animation Awards.