The 2007 Prix Ars Electronica invited submissions in a total of eight categories that “taken as a whole” reflect the growing diversification of digital media art as well as the ongoing development of the Prix Ars Electronica. The most obvious manifestations of these two processes are this year’s two new categories: Hybrid Art and Media.Art.Research.
Hybrid Art focuses on hybrid and transdisciplinary projects. The essential element is the blending and interweaving of different media and genres into new forms of artistic expression. For many artists, it’s become a matter of course to transgress boundaries: they conduct research, pursue an active commitment to social and political causes, or engage with pop culture, and it’s now time to formally acknowledge this development. Hybrid Art is designed to expand the scope of the Prix Ars Electronica categories of long standing and thus to create latitude for #3new and unexpected forms of creativity.
Media.Art.Research, in turn, focuses on scholarly work in art history and media studies. This year’s theme is net-based artforms. The prizewinning work will be honored with a cash award to be used for a specified purpose from Linz’s Ludwig Boltzmann Institute. This category is meant to formally acknowledge the theoretical research currently being done on media art, which has developed into a thematically wide-ranging discipline in its own right over the last two decades. The great diversity and current relevance of the work being done by media artists call for a process of scholarly reflection designed to historically contextualize this art, to mediate encounters with it by today’s audiences and to preserve it for the future. The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Media.Art.Research (http://media.lbg.ac.at/en/index.php) was established by the Ludwig Boltzmann Society in 2005. It will pursue its mission for seven years under the aegis of the Ars Electronica Center, the Linz Art University and the Lentos Museum of Art. On the basis of the extensive holdings of the Ars Electronica Archive, the institute is doing scholarly work in the fields of media art and media theory.
A Golden Nica is presented to the winner in each of the following categories: Computer Animation / Film / VFX, Digital Musics, Hybrid Art, Interactive Art, Digital Communities and u19 – freestyle computing. Ars Electronica also awards [the next idea] Art & Technology Grant and the Media.Art.Research Prize.
COMPUTER ANIMATION / FILM / VFX
Codehunters / Ben Hibon (UK) / BLINK PRODUCTIONS
Ben Hibon’s Codehunters is an action-packed, apocalyptic work of animation. It’s set in the distant future in the slums of Lhek, a Far Eastern city that’s being plunged into chaos. Here, might makes right since the evil Khaan eliminated Krai, his last adversary, and installed his reign of terror. But resistance rears its head again with the emergence of Shen, Lawan, Zom and Nhi. They’re the Codehunters and their aim is to triumph though all who’ve gone before them have failed. In a final, decisive battle, their mission is to free the land and its inhabitants from Khaan’s stranglehold and to help Krai regain power and reestablish just rule…
Reverse Simulation Music / Masahiro Miwa (JP) / IAMAS
Mashiro Miwa’s Reverse Simulation Music is based on composition structures developed by computer and then played by musicians, performers or mechanical devices. Depending on the concrete movements and actions of the performers as they go about this, prescribed rules and calculations are acoustically reproduced in a particular or a random (improvised) order. In contrast to traditional compositions, “Reverse Simulation Music” is not an effort to intonate and acoustically recreate natural phenomena; it rather does just the opposite: transform “artificial,” computer-developed rules and structures into natural phenomena.
SymbioticA is a prototypical laboratory that combines artistic approaches and scientific methods, and makes them mutually accessible. Neurosciences, molecular biology, anatomy physics, anthropology and ethics “SymbioticA interweaves a wide variety of scholarly disciplines with artistic issues and especially problematic areas having to do with the life sciences”. This interdisciplinary research process ultimately delivers commentary and evaluation on scientific methods.
Park View Hotel / Ashok Sukumaran (IN)
Ashok Sukumaran’s Park View Hotel opens up a dialog between human beings and architecture. The setting is the César Chavez Plaza and the adjacent Fairmont Hotel in downtown San José. A specially constructed telescopic sight makes it possible to focus in on and “mark” individual windows of the hotel building as well as street lamps on the plaza below. Variously colored light impulses follow the “route” thus established, jumping from window to window and across the street to the street lamps on the plaza. Human being, park and hotel building communicate with one another …
Overmundo was developed by Hermano Vianna, Alexandre Youssef, Ronaldo Lemos and José Marcelo Zacchi and is both a community as well as a software tool. The Web 2.0 platform focuses on Brazilian cultures in all their diversity and complexity. Texts, images, videos and pieces of music reflect the age groups, genders, ethnic groups, regions and languages of Brazilian society/societies. Overmundo is an open and transparent online discussion forum that bridges geographical and social barriers. It conveys culturally and sociopolitically relevant discussions and scenes from large urban centers to rural regions and, conversely, gives citydwellers a feel for the way people in the countryside see things.
u19 – FREESTYLE COMPUTING
VoIP-Wiki / Daniel Robinig, Manuel Salzmann, Matthäus Spindelböck
VoIP-Wiki is a voice-over IP system that can be used for a variety of different purposes. For instance, it makes it possible to acoustically access information in a wiki system like Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. The voice connection is made either via voice-over IP, cell phone or landline. The project was realized in cooperation with the Carinthian Association of the Blind. Its many potential applications promise to substantially improve the quality of life of people who are blind or have impaired vision.
[THE NEXT IDEA] ART AND TECHNOLOGY GRANT
SUN_D / Jonas Burki (CH) / FHNW / University of Art and Design / HyperWerk Institute
With the development of SUN_D, Jonas Burki has come up with a concept for an image projection system with great promise for the future. It’s based on the mechanical manipulation of the light and shadow from an existing light source. SUN_D gets along without screens and energy-squandering beamer methods; it only takes advantage of already available light sources in public spaces, sunlight, for instance. SUN_D links together information and art in an innovative, sensory way that arouses observers, natural curiosity and thus gets their attention. Simple mechanisms make it possible to perceive the process of origination of the projected information. Unobtrusively yet effectively, the messages depicted through the use of SUN_D set themselves apart from the deluge of information with which we are constantly being flooded.
Exe.cut[up]able statements – Poetische Kalküle und Phantasmen des selbst-ausführenden Texts / Florian Cramer (NL/DE)
Florian Cramer’s dissertation Exe.cut[up]able statements – Poetische Kalküle und Phantasmen des selbstausführenden Texts investigates literature “older works as well as contemporary ones” that are based on calculation and algorithms. This text analyses cabbalistic combinations of utterances, word permutations, aleatory (combinational), stochastic (random) and recursive (running in reverse) texts, computer-generated literature as well as the poetics of programming languages and encoding systems. In going about this, calculations and algorithms are regarded as dimensions of language and literature like graphics and phonetics are perceived as dimensions of visual and acoustic compositions. A general characteristic of algorithmic literature is that calculations and algorithms cannot be separated from the text (and its meaning); rather, they possess their own poetics, which is why the text is “self-executing. Its meaning (semantics) thus refers to the encoding system on which it is based and vice versa. Exe.cut[up]able contains a brief account of the history of this literary genre and also analyses two concrete texts: “Quirinus Kuhlmann’s 17th-century permutational sonnet XLI” and “Vom Wechsel menschlicher Sachen and mez’ _Viro.Logic Condition][ing][ 1.1_” by Libeskuß.