Ars Electronica 2005
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Computer Animation Festival

'Dietmar Offenhuber Dietmar Offenhuber / 'Christine Schöpf Christine Schöpf

That the first computer visualization of the motion in space of a three-dimensional object—the arc described by a flying ball, to be precise—is now widely regarded as the birth of computer animation is probably a matter of interest only to the chroniclers of such developments.

In our present age of visual communication, we experience the world that surrounds us, our everyday life, via orientation icons, e-government applications, advertising clips, lifestyle performances, music videos, scientific simulations, artistic explorations, cartoons, visual effects in Hollywood and Bollywood productions, mobile telephoning, organizational systems, gaming, exploration of the hemispheres and research into everyday life and GPS operating systems-we experience almost everything that describes our life via a world of images.

Since 1987, Ars Electronica has conducted the Prix Ars Electronica as an international competition staged annually as a means of recognizing excellence in an array of cultural domains that have utilized the leading edge of technological development in order to experiment with new forms of artistic expression.

Here, visual design assumes great importance as an area of tremendous relevance to society as a whole. After all, observing and evaluating products of visual communication nowadays have long since ceased to be a matter of listing the hardware and software utilized to generate them. These were the factors that certainly were significant in the '80s and '90s; now, we see images and stories on the basis of which we establish—and sometimes even caricature—our understanding of the world as well as our ways of dealing with and interpreting technology (if not, to a much lesser extent, of reality itself). This way of dealing with technology has also always been legitimated via reality—consider, for example, other visual techniques like photography. In other words, we deal with images and stories that describe our lives in a comprehensive sense and less so with the technologies connected with them.

More than 450 films, VX works, advertising spots, etc. were submitted to the 2005 Prix Ars Electronica for prize consideration in the Computer Animation/Visual Effects category; 15 of these works made it to the final round of judging, and three were singled out for recognition with cash prizes.

For the first time, the 2005 Ars Electronica Festival lineup will feature a film showcase that will go beyond these shortlisted works and screen submissions that illustrate the state of the art of visual design and current trends. The Selection Prix Ars Electronica 2005 presents a fascinating and impassioned journey through current technological developments, visual design, visualization of scientific phenomena, artistic R&D and storytelling about the topics of the day employing the means of the day.

Translated from German by Mel Greenwald

The Computer Animation Festival of the 2005 Prix Ars Electronica will feature selected works from this year’s competition in six thematic programs and three additional programs curated especially for the festival.
Das Computer Animation Festival des Prix Ars Electronica 2005 zeigt ausgewählte Beiträge aus dem diesjährigen Bewerb in sechs thematischen Programmen und drei weitere speziell für das Festival kuratierte Programme.

prix selection: visual effects

Falsified realities and synthetic perceptions-the visual effects from current film productions and commercials attest to the joys of manipulating accustomed ways of seeing things.

prix selection: waveforms

This program brings together visually outstanding music videos from the Computer Animation/Visual Effects category, visually supported compositions from the Digital Musics category, as well as synaesthetic explorations in the field of visual music.

prix selection: digital skin

From the transformation and deformation of the human body all the way to new digital forms of life—the digital body has continually been a theme of computer animation. The program showcases the multifarious facets of digital character animation, and features the winner of this year’s Golden Nica, Fallen Art by Tomek Baginski.

prix selection: narration

A renaissance of narrative animation has been evident to observers in recent years. Playful experimentation, blends of analog and digital animation techniques and even custom-made software have brought forth short films with highly individualized styles.

prix selection: motion

Visual landscapes, visionary worlds of imagery, animation in the most original sense of the word-motion, light and form are the main themes of this program's highly diversified selection.

realtime (curated)

In this program, the computer processor functions as a medium of both production and representation. The works of animation presented here were computed in real time, often with interactive intervention possibilities. The line up includes outstanding works from the young genre of machinima-that is, real-time animation produced in game engines-software art, efforts by members of the demo scene, and aesthetic experiments that are difficult to assign to conventional categories.

japanese animation (curated)

A selection of Japanese animated films from the Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo.

flashkino (curated)

Originally eyecandy for websites, Flash has developed in recent years into a tool for no-budget animated films that reach a large audience via the online medium. Flashkino is an initiative of Husemann and mrtz, two media artists from Berlin. They have combed through the Internet to discover interesting animated films, which they present in thematic blocks on the big screen. http://www.flashkino.info/

prix selection: making of

A behind-the-screens look at studio work provides insights into the current state-of-the-art of animation production and spotlights ingenious animation techniques and astonishing solutions designed to satisfy the paradoxical demands of cinematic illusion.