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We Make The City: Artengine invites you to venture out for the Electric Fields Festival

By Diane Bond on September 12, 2013

What do dynamic maze installations with giant inflatable balls, musical bike parades featuring radios and modified walkie-talkies, and forest parties in the sugar bush have in common?

Besides being a few of my favourite things, they’re all happening across Ottawa as a part of Artengine‘s We Make The City programming for the 2013 edition of the Electric Fields Festival.

From September 11-15, the city will be transformed through various socially engaging projects – many of them are free and open to all ages. From workshops for building your own LED device for your bicycle wheel, collaborative sound pieces you can record and upload to various locations around the city, interactive light projections (with dancers!) and live video and sound performances — Artengine has promised five days of fun times for the whole city.

Ryan Stec, Artistic Director of Artengine, says the focus of the festival has shifted this year to encourage more active responses from members of the public. “At the centre, we’re thinking of the idea of participation, of engagement, of bringing interesting work out into the city – but also making people a part of that work. Seeing how they can shape the work. It’s not about technological experimentation directly, it’s about people,” he says.

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Of note is the Design Challenge and Poster Project: all summer long, people have been designing their own We Make The City posters. Artengine invites you to pick a few favourites, download, print and poster them throughout Ottawa and Gatineau (available under the ‘Posters’ section of the We Make The City website).

“When we were setting out to build how to get word out about the festival, we decided to experiment with the idea of marketing,” says Stec. “Rather than doing a typical promotional campaign — what if we turned that regular marketing campaign into a process of engagement? Anything that people submitted to us, we would print and post as part of the festival. We started printing and posting around the city with the idea of building a conversation at street level. It’s not a digital project, it’s not about an online conversation, it’s about ideas that people see and think about at the street level, in a physical and real space.”

So take the opportunity to get to know your city in a different way, Ottawa. We Make The City started on Wednesday, September 11 and continues until Sunday, September 15. Click here for more information.