Subtle Technologies was founded in 1998 by a group of artists interested in forging new ground.
In 2001 we included an exhibition component for the first time, enabling artists to present their work as well as discussing it. The Festival site was moved to Innis Hall, University of Toronto, to increase visibility and public access.
In 2002, with support from the Ontario Arts Council, Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts, we established a solid financial base.
In 2005 the Festival reoriented towards focusing on specific themes — the inaugural theme was Physics in recognition of the world year of physics.
The 2006 theme was Responsive Architectures. We also an evening of film on native architecture, an exhibition at InterAccess Media Arts Centre, and a symposium.
In 2007 the theme was In Situ: Art Body and Medicine. We partnered with the Ontario College of Art and Design, the University of Toronto, SymbioticA (Australia), and the Ontario Science Centre.
In 2008 we chose the theme of Light. We presented a hands-on weekend workshop in partnership with The Photon League on the latest innovations in holography. An evening performance showcased works that used light as a performance medium. We also held a symposium and a poster session.
In 2009 our theme was Networks. We hosted an evening of performances of media artists using networks in their work. This evening included performances in Second Life with live musicians collaborating between Banff and Toronto over a high-bandwidth link, and an interactive performance where the audience controlled the performance outcome. In 2009 we collaborated with Luminato by organizing a panel discussion. We also set in place a full board of six members.
In 2010 the theme was Sustainability. This year saw many changes in Subtle Technologies. We were awarded a Ontario Trillium Foundation grant which allowed us to hire, for the first time, a full-time Managing Director. This is allowing us to increase our range of programming and the reach of our marketing and events. The Director of Programming began creating new year-round and youth-oriented programs. We were also awarded charitable status by Canada Revenue Agency.
2011 continues the expansion begun in 2010. Our Festival (May 31 – June 14, 2011) will be more inclusive than ever before, with a return to exploring broad themes in the art-science intersection that are especially relevant today: visualization of life systems, the DIY and craft movement, and the interconnection between ecology and technology. During the year we are running monthly outreach events planned in partnership with organizations such as the Textile Museum and Hart House.