WITH ITS SPECIFIC ORIENTATION AND THE LONG-STANDING CONTINUITY IT HAS DISPLAYED SINCE 1979, ARS ELECTRONICA IS AN INTERNATIONALLY UNIQUE PLATFORM FOR DIGITAL ART AND MEDIA CULTURE CONSISTING OF FOUR DIVISIONS.
The Ars Electronica Linz GmbH is a member of the Stadt Linz group of companies
Ars Electronica has been accompanying the Digital Revolution for 25 years now, and its vitality remains undiminished.
DR. FRANZ DOBUSCH
Mayor of the City of Linz
Linz is applying to be named European Cultural Capital in 2009. In September, the documentation supporting this application will be submitted to the office of the State Secretary for the Arts and Media in Vienna.With respect to the application's substance, the city is positioning itself as a "laboratory of the future" with an emphasis on media art and art in public spaces. The Ars Electronica Festival is an essential part of this. It all began in 1979 when, for the first time, Linz confronted the future taking shape in the field of tension and interplay where art, technology and society meet. The Brucknerhaus and the ORF were the driving forces behind the festival that turned the whole city into a stage for open-air events, installations, interactions and performances. A yearly festival theme was added in 1987. Another step toward the future was taken with the founding of the Prix Ars Electronica, the world's most highly endowed competition for computer art. The construction of the Ars Electronica Center finally provided Ars Electronica with a new home in 1996. During the eight ensuing years, the festival has been headquartered at the Museum of the Future. Linz recognized the signs of the times and has gone on to make a name for itself far beyond its borders as the metropolis of computer art.
DR. JOSEF PÜHRINGER
Governor of the Province of Upper Austria
25 years of Ars Electronica in Linz—this anniversary means much more than just a numerically noteworthy occasion for the Upper Austrian cultural landscape. It represents a quarter century of medial and technological history written and lived out right in the capital of our province. With this festival for art, technology and new media, Linz has succeeded in positioning itself globally as a setting for competition, presentation, research and documentation, and has thus assumed a place in the top echelon of international high-tech society. It is hard to exaggerate the long-term sociocultural and economic effect that this innovative facility has had. Ars Electronica has been a pacemaker of modernism for us, and it continues to embody farsighted commitment and bold vision focused on the digital future.
DR. ERICH WATZL
Vice-Mayor of the City of Linz
Ars Electronica has assumed a central role in the cultural life of the City of Linz. Twenty-five years ago, when the digital media still seemed like a utopian dream of the distant future, the festival was already establishing itself as the center of the encounter with art, technology and society. In doing so, it bore the name of the City of Linz as a hub of progress and innovation far beyond the borders of our land. Today, Linz is a dynamic, open space—an image that has been shaped to no small extent by Ars Electronica. Ars Electronica is a success story. The Festival and the Prix Ars Electronica, the Museum of the Future and the Futurelab combine to form a center for media culture whose orientation, configuration and size make it unique. Both in a regional context as well as with regard to its significance for the image of the City of Linz on an international level, Ars Electronica will continue to play a decisive role during the coming 25 years as well.
For the Ars Electronica Festival—an institution that has made a lasting impact on how our city is perceived— the usual elated exclamations of happy birthday are hardly appropriate. The point here is not to pick out a number more or less arbitrarily; what is incumbent upon us is to recognize and honor what this festival has accomplished since its inception. The business of producing cultural events is becoming more and more like a high-class version of Starmania. Festival programs, especially those in summer, increasingly resemble something out of a hotel manager’s marketing strategy. Consuming is juxtaposed to thinking. The tension among, on one hand, innovation, vision and curiosity about something of great future promise and, on the other hand, the mainstream of its repertoire has made Ars Electronica a valuable institution and will continue to do so in the future—and not only for Linz. It was a bold move in 1979 to initiate this festival, but an easy one too since hardly anyone realized that its future had just begun. The next 25 years will be increasingly demanding and ever more fascinating, though the instruments to achieve this will remain the same: innovation, networking and worldwide partnerships.
DR. HELMUT OBERMAYR
Director, Austrian Broadcasting Company’s Upper Austrian Regional Studio
ORF Upper Austria and Ars Electronica comprise a conceptual pair that has been closely interconnected for 25 years.Without Dr. Hannes Leopoldseder, then director of the ORF’s Upper Austria Regional Studio who served in that capacity until 1998, and Dr. Christine Schöpf, the head of our cultural department, there would not even be an Ars Electronica—it would not have come about, and it would probably not have lasted. Over the years, the organizational structure changed a number of times. For years, the Prix Ars Electronica was organized by the ORF as a separate part of the festival, and it was the Prix that endowed the festival as a whole with an international reputation. Now the Prix as well has been organizationally integrated into Ars Electronica, and ORF Upper Austria is once again a co-organizer of the entire festival. For us, Ars Electronica is an indispensable part of our overall cultural mission and the cultural policies we pursue as a public broadcasting institution in Upper Austria.
MAG. MARTIN STURM
Director O.K Center for Contemporary Art
Ars Electronica is an outstanding example of how art and culture as essential social codes and sub-systems that point the way to the future can be made visible and positioned/ anchored over the long term. The enormous changes that the Digital Revolution has brought about in how we see, think and behave, and the accompanying production of continually updated medial realities have been a central theme of the festival since its very inception. In pursuing an encounter with this theme, the festival’s cultural and artistic mission offered the necessary latitude for playful, creative as well as critical confrontations with media policy developments that are otherwise treated exclusively from an economic perspective. At the same time, the introduction of the Prix Ars Electronica as a prize and exhibition format has made clear what a powerful impact the development of digital tools and network structures is having on artistic practice now. Through persistent pursuit of its mission over the years, Ars Electronica has achieved long-term success in constructing a cultural, future-oriented image for the City of Linz and, indeed, for the entire region of Upper Austria. Its founders and directors deserve a tengun salute for this alone.
Director Lentos Museum of Art, Linz
Linz has successfully linked its image—especially in cultural affairs—to the state-of-the-art and the dynamic trendsetters of contemporary culture. The highperformance engine driving this process has been Ars Electronica. First-class universities (of art), fascinating museums and lively free art scenes can (fortunately) be found elsewhere as well. Ars Electronica is one-of-akind— even after 25 years, and even though it is no longer the only festival that provides a platform for art and social/technological critique. But Ars Electronica has succeeded in positioning itself anew each year and in consistently attracting both regional and international audiences to Linz. Lentos, as a young museum that defines itself as a medium of artistic and communicative discourse, is looking forward to its first opportunity to work together with Ars Electronica as part of this anniversary celebration and to further collaboration on inspiring projects in years to come.
UNIV. PROF. DR. REINHARD KANNONIER
Dean of the University of Art and Industrial Design
The Ars Electronica Center has become one of the University of Art and Industrial Design’s most import associates in recent years, since an essential part of our efforts to develop a higher-profile public image is focusing on expanding competency in specific media fields, which—combined with a joint strategic concept—is designed to further enhance Linz’s status as a place to locate media enterprises. This already successful and extremely fruitful collaboration of the two institutions is being structurally extended to encompass additional levels, the most important areas of which are interface cultures,media theory and history, and knowledge design and mediation.We are also thankful for the Ars Electronica staff’s generous cooperation in conjunction with the Ars Electronica Festival and are looking forward to carrying on this good working relationship in the future!
UNIV. PROF. DR. RUDOLF G. ARDELT
Dean of the Johannes Kepler University, Linz (2000 - 2007)
What began 25 years ago as an exciting experience for young art, culture and media enthusiasts has since developed into a key partner and associate of the Johannes Kepler University.With its lively debates that have included confrontations with significant sociopolitical issues and developments in recent years, Ars Electronica has come to represent an important source of stimulus for intellectual discourse. Furthermore, the founding of the Ars Electronica Center and the Ars Electronica Futurelab has also established networks involving the Johannes Kepler University. These range from participation by JKU staff members in joint projects with the Museum of the Future to collaboration on application-oriented research, and are thus of scientific as well as economic significance.
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