Can you talk a bit about A Lab and Radion? How do they help FIBER in its vision?
JS: It’s funny because we started at Trouw.  That space had everything we wanted: an exhibition space, the big club area, and other spaces.  Unfortunately, that club doesn’t exist anymore and it resulted in a big hassle to fit our program.  We had to look for spaces with different qualities.

Our symposium will be at Volkshotel, but we thought we wanted something else for the exhibition, so that became A Lab. It has the qualities of Trouw, with the same stripped down approach and a subterranean vibe. We felt at home here and confident we could present the works in a good way.

Radion is the very industrial, concrete club which also has a screening space. This is a very different feeling from the “nice” programs. As A Lab and Volkshotel are about presenting the artworks and presentations in a clear way, Radion is more of an immersive space. When you enter and take the stairs down you enter a void. Seven hours later you will exit and be like, “wow, what have we done this night?” I like having these three spaces that are connected to each other, taking the subway to reach them all, from the North to the East to the Deep West. Not only does it connect well to the theme but it is a very interesting way to travel through the city and see its different parts.  Interestingly enough, if you look at the history of these spaces, you will notice that A Lab is a former creative laboratory; Volkhotel was the former head of a newspaper; Radion was a dentist education center.

Luuk Meuffels: The most important thing is a certain atmosphere. It [Radion] is a raw club. You get the feeling you can do anything there. Last Tuesday we went to test it out and we found that there was no problem to drill holes in the wall and do whatever we need to transform the club into what we want. Trouw had this same feel. When visiting, it has a free feeling to it. It doesn’t feel like some poppy style club like Melkweg or Paradiso. Sometimes a club is built perfectly for performances but lacks atmosphere. Those places seem so organised, just like most Dutch festivals, which goes against that feeling of freedom.

Speaking as a programmer, in constructing the event as an experience rather than a collection of one-off events, what was your approach to balancing the education, presentation, and performance aspects?
JS: What we try to do is, when we start thinking about the program and artists, we look at what is happening with big developments in art, technology, and society and try to connect with them. This year, we program around the theme of how hidden media technology is influencing our perception of the world. So, it is about algorithms that work out of site yet still have a huge functionality in how the world runs. Then, we try and break it down within different categories, like cinematopgraphic A/V performances and music. Finally, we make a program that is aesthetically based.  Aesthetics connect with the audience and are a way of telling a story. What is interesting about FIBER is we allow audiences to be interactive and we present the workshops in a highly personal way. It opens up the minds and eyes of our visitors who suddenly step into this world of complex art and start to understand it, taking the knowledge back home. For instance, we have a work dealing with the complex systems of BitCoin called BitCoincloud. In the symposium and the presentation we really open up this field of BitCoin with speakers and articles.

LM: When setting up the musical programme I tried to get away from the one sided vision of music. Nowadays in Amsterdam, you have a lot of techno events that start with techno and end with techno, but I wanted to step away from that like we do with the podcast series. It is more a blend of different styles that have certain connections.

The artists all respect each others music, which is very important to create a story over the entire night. We start with Felix K, who is very eclectic, plays everything from ambient to breakbeat and drone music. After, we have Convextion, which is more electro-esque live act. Then, we get into the “real” club night with Neel‘s deep atmospheric techno, and Jon Osborne, a guy who can really read a crowd and is very flexible.

I wanted a story to be told throughout the night. Not everyone does it that way, but I try and think of the narrative before the artists, then choose the perfect artists for each slot. Felix K is opening because he is the perfect opener, not because he has the least name recognition or anything.

I am also a visual artist, where I VJ at parties. I always have to follow the music, improvising with my visuals.  The DJ is always the guy who is leading. With this festival, I can think about the music and visual story. I’ve been thinking about it as a cross between audio and visuals, making one setting that is a complete and complementary vision.

Luuk, as a VJ, you mention how the DJ leads and you adapt but you still need to have a library of resources. Before you get into the venue, how do you plan out a VJ performance?  Do you have a certain “go to” collection of resources that you know you will use?
LM: With the visual collection I am working with at FIBER, Deframe, we are totally involved with electronic music we like ourselves, so we have developed a certain visual style that fits the music we like. When we get to play visuals at events with DJs that fall into this spectrum we know that it will fit in some way to our library. This would not be possible with Trance music though. We also, of course, have our own identities so sometimes things may fit and other times we may have to search a bit more.

Where do you find the balance between bringing in artists you are involved with year round and outside artists you may not have a direct relationship with?
JS: This navigation is always a delicate balance. As a makers festival which originated between Utrecht and Amsterdam, you want to support your local scene. For example, we started with working with the Distant Drummers guys, who also started in 2011 and now have very different outputs. We have a very strong connection with these local artists and want to support them.

At the same time, you have to be very critical that you don’t always look to the same artists and really push yourself to expand your view on a discipline. Now, we have opened up to a lot of International artist who make work related to FIBER and its theme, and try to balance them. We are always discussing how many foreign and how many local artists we have, as well as how they relate to the theme and each other.

The way I read through your theme description is that there is a light side and dark side.  The light side holds the possibilities of the future of communication, but the dark side, which we are currently living through, is one of mass surveillance and uncertainty between the organic and inorganic.  How did this theme develop?  Why did you think it was the best theme for 2015?
JS: When Edward Snowden was presenting this mass scale surveillance apparatus, we were in the process of preparing for the last festival. Before, we had two festivals that really celebrated the opportunities of technology but you could already feel that something was changing in society. Also, if I look to the developments of what is happening within techno, everything became a bit darker. People were interested in performing deeper, darker sets, and covering their identities. You could see the Dystopian aesthetics surfacing. Then, the Snowden revelations break and we realise that there is no escaping now. We are very emerged with technology and suddenly it isn’t our friend anymore. We started thinking how we connect with this theme and still be FIBER, looking from a makers perspective and the possibilities of technology; how do artists apply these concept in their work? The subterranean theme was born out of the notion of what is happening behind the surface of your screen. There is a whole world out there of different forces that are tracking and manipulating your behavior.

The lighter side is that we have a background in the creative coding community and A/V performance. Now, all this open source technology, and the communities that have developed around them, is really inspiring and groundbreaking.

LM:  I focused on the theme with the visuals. We are working on a slowly evolving stage design, something really different from other stages you would see. It will turn into chapters throughout the night, like chapter 1 is the ambient performance, chapter 2 is the live performance, moving into the later chapters more attune to dancing. I can’t tell you much more, but the idea is to start off with an architecture of lines and throughout the night it evolves into deeper layers.  I know its vague, but it will all be revealed throughout the night.

Speaking about Edward Snowden, it is interesting as I came here from New York City.  Recently, a hologram “statue” of Snowden was projected in Fort Greene Park, after the physical statue was removed within a few hours.  I thought this immaterial protest against material consequences and, not to mention, figures was quite powerful.  There was a full hologram march in Spain as well.  I believe that dealt directly with issues of immateriality having greater human rights than actual human beings.