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Cinnamon Colomboscope 2016, while leaving us in a state of awe, due to the focus on technology used in art, opened a window for art lovers to step into new territory where creativity is considered.

Sri Lanka is a hub for art alright, but events like Colomboscope will help attract attention from other South Asian artists to this island. As many as 50 Sri Lankan and 17 international artists and speakers contributed to make the event, held at the Former General Post Office in Janadhipathi Mawatha from August 25 to September 1, a success.
President Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts Krishan Balendran, airing his views at the first speaking session held on August 1 said, “Digital technology is an uncharted world. Active participants must take it on after the festival concludes”.

Sri Lankans like Kavan Balasuriya, Muvindu Binoy, Malaka Devapriya, T. Krishnapriya, Imaad Majeed and Aamina Nizar featured among artists and speakers who added value to the event with their contributions.

 Colomboscope Curator Susanne Jaschko
Colomboscope Curator Susanne Jaschko

Sri Lanka’s arts and culture are deep-rooted, but compared to other countries it is relatively behind with regard to the use of technology in these spheres.  Most of the speakers who aired their views stressed how technology plays a major role in enhancing what’s produced. However, there were speakers who aired opposite views. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe who spoke at the launch said, “We have the technology, but we must catch up with creativity”.

The premier opined that Sri Lankans should make arrangements to protect and record practices in traditional culture like the thovil and baliya. Wickremasinghe said that the talent for art lies in the village and the authorities should go out there and find talent, akin to  how players with potential are searched for in faraway places, in the sport of cricket.

The event gets a new curator every year. This time around, Susanne Jaschko was at the helm. “The event will help artists see how they respond to new possibilities,” Jaschko said to a packed audience.

So, what was so special about choosing the Former General Post Office building as the venue for Colomboscope 2016?  Sam de Silva, one of the speakers at the launch, said, “The medium, used for the event is the building itself. The building gives a powerful message during these modern times”.

This year’s event, the fourth edition of Colomboscope, included exhibitions, film screening, audio visual performances, workshops, talks and thematic conversations among other items.

A workshop that catered to Facebook users on August 25 generated interest among both active social media uses and those curious to test the waters in this sphere. The speakers educating participants at this workshop opined that Facebook encouraged people to be more transparent in their dealings on social media. The speakers said that Facebook didn’t any longer encourage its users to be fussy over safeguarding privacy.

As fond memories of Colomboscope continue to linger in our minds, we also must think deep, whether we should channel more time and energies in enhancing our use of technology or getting to the next level in art and creativity. For a fact, it’s good to know that perfection or finding the right balance between art and technology is years away from us. This part of an artist’s journey is the hardest and also the most interesting.

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