The International Association for Digital and Interactive Arts
Background:

The Artech-International Association has its roots on the Artech (Art and Technology Industries in the frontier Region Minho–Galicia) initiative. This initiative has been established in 2002 concentrating local activities around the theme digital art in order to promote a community of digital artists in the region of Minho-Galiza while establishing an experimental common creative design space for artists. A creative design space has been constructed based initially on three locations: Guimarães at the School of Engineering of the University of Minho and at Computer Graphics Center (engageLab: www.engagelab.org); Vila Nova de Cerveira at the premises of International Art Biennale of Cerveira (www.bienaldecerveira.org); and Pontevedra at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Vigo (belasartes.uvigo.es). It is worth to mention here the involvement in the Artech actions of the School of Arts of the Portuguese Catholic University, at Oporto (www.artes.ucp.pt).

The local artistic community has been living around different art fairs, conference, workshops and training actions where they can exchange ideas, present their works and establish collaboration within the Artech community. Two events deserve special mention here: the International Art Biennale of Cerveira, organized since two decades ago; and the Artech – International Conference on Digital and Interactive Art that has been organized alternatively in Portugal and Galicia, starting in 2004 being now at its fifth edition.

The Artech initiative has also promoted post-graduate courses in the field of digital arts and cultural heritage. For instance, the Master Course on Technology and Digital Art of the University of Minho (www.mtad.dsi.uminho.pt) aims at forming a professional profile in the fields of digital art, cultural expression, education and entertainment.

Since the beginning of its operations the Artech initiative has hosted hundreds of digital art installations ranging from pure infotainment applications to more formal artworks exploring different interactive and media technologies such are: computer vision, virtual reality, digital sound and music, among others. These installations have been presented at the art fairs and conferences as also applied art seminars all over the last 10 years.

Currently, people and institutions that have been behind the Artech Initiative, in fact, an informal action, decided to go a step forward and found a proper international art-science-technology association to embrace the growing activities and initiatives happening around the Artech Initiative.