Border Sessions is a progressive platform at the intersection of technology, society, art and science. We unite people and organisations to address urgent social, societal and environmental issues. We believe that the challenges we face today require unexpected solutions, Our aim is to give a more prominent role to creative pioneers. They can offer perspectives and insights that will inspire promising interventions.
During the festival, a range of professionals including writers, researchers, artists, activists, engineers and designers will be presenting their latest work and ideas in relation to new developments in technology. The list includes both new talent and established experts. All of our guests are pioneers in their own field, highly imaginative thinkers who are at their best when operating outside of established frameworks.
Their ideas serve as input for the creation of new alliances, innovation programmes and if possible, concrete prototypes developed during the festival. This way the festival serves as a multidisciplinary platform for new talent, experienced pioneers and established organisations to come together and set a new course through dialogue, reflection and practical experiments.
Technology is not simply a given. It is the result of human decisions in the past and present. The history of humanity and technology are inextricably linked; it is impossible to understand who we are without studying our tools and buildings. Over the course of centuries, the accumulation of technology in our society has made understanding the consequences of our designs and their applications incredibly complicated. We study them, philosophise about them, experiment with them and use them, often simply because we can.
Our society, with its disproportionate emphasis on maximising profit and short term gains, struggles to carefully balance the added value and positive application of new technologies. The bulk of existing organisations struggle with innovation, optimising gains is generally preferred to radically new concepts.
We’re facing a range of increasingly urgent challenges, such as rapid climate change, explosive urban growth, the threat to biodiversity and the questionability of genetic engineering. These vital issues require radical new solutions and attitudes – with technology playing a prominent part.
We plead for increased innovation and serious consideration of the use of technology in the service of positive gain for humanity and the environment. We can see that imagination, wonder, reflection, creativity, and financial independence are vital ingredients.
Our focus lies with those themes we perceive to be the most urgent, promising or controversial. Our interests include urban development, democracy, the human body, food, energy and space exploration. All are fields in which technology plays a decisive role and that (still) offer humanity a choice of different future paths. On the technology side we keep close track of developments in artificial intelligence, bio-engineering, nanotechnology, blockchain, and virtual reality, among others. Relatively new technologies like these offer exciting potential while being controversial because of the uncertain outcome of some potential applications.
History and organisation
Border Sessions was founded in 2012 out of a collaboration between literature and music festival Crossing Border and the technology innovation group Jungle.Works. In the last years, the festival has grown from a collection of presentations during one afternoon to a four-day festival with almost two thousand participants and dozens of national and international partners. The festival has a team of specialists with a broad network of advisors and other partners as its backbone. Together they all contribute to the success of the festival.