Prix Ars Electronica


ORF Oberösterreich

The jury, in choosing the awards, recognised -work which made use of interactivity in a number of ways. In some cases the interactivity is of the most simple kind - basically a switch allowing the viewer to navigate in the material assembled by the artist. In other cases the interactivity is used for real time interaction with the contents of the computer software, and allows a very open ended creation. In all the interactive artworks, there is no work until the viewer or participant becomes actively

The Golden Nica Award in Interactive Arts was given to the group Knowbotic Research from Köln, Germany, for their "augmented reality" installation "Simulationsraum - Mosaik mobiler Datenklänge". The installation presents a sound sculpture environment which the viewers can explore through their own motions. The recognition by the jury of an artwork which makes use of virtual reality technologies underlines the interest of the jury in this direction in interactive arts.

The jury also awarded two Distinctions. The first was awarded to Stephen Wilson for his work "Is Anyone There; Pay-Telephone-Event"; this work explores social and cultural issues surrounding the contact between people and computers; the artwork involves the use of automatic dialing of public telephones and the recording of the calls in a database which can be explored later by the viewer.

A second Distinction was awarded to Australian artist Jill Scott for her interactive multi-media installation "Paradise Tossed". This work is an interactive, animated survey of the technological environment, idealism and design from a woman's point of view. The Jury also awarded 13 Honorable Mentions to artists working in a large number of different interactive media and artistic approaches. The range of work represented indicates the richness of the different tendencies in interactive arts. The countries represented by the awards included Germany, Austria, USA, Australia, UK, and Canada and France.

This year the jury was pleased to see several artworks which exploited telecommunications systems. These works included not only the prizewinning work of Wilson but also "Chip Radio" by Mia Zabelka, Gerfried Stocker and Andres Bosshard, and "Piazza Virtuale" by Van Gogh TV, both Honorable Mention winners.

A special note should be made of the Honorary Mention awarded to Joseph Bates for the work "Edges of Intention". In the view of the jury, this work involves new technical developments which could have important implications for future interactive artworks. The work is an attempt to create artificial intelligence based an.

The jury was pleased to note that many artists recognised this year created works mixing several media - including sound. It was also pleased to see that sound and visual effects were given equal status. Honorable Mentions were awarded to "Braindrops" by Werner Cee and Horst Prehn, which also included an EEG hookup, and the interactive sound sculpture "Der Klangsee " by Gerfried Stocker and Horst Hörtner.

Three interactive installations received distinctions - these were "Room of one's own" by Lynn Hershman, "Handsight" by Agnes Hegedüs and "The Desert Dreams a Mirage" by David Rokeby. British artist Kevin Ruston received an Honorable Mention for his interactive work "Digital Rear Windows" which allowed the viewer to explore the Hitchcock film in a non-linear manner. Honorable Mentions were also awarded to Akke Wagenaarfor her interactive installation "7 objects meet" in which the movement of 7 virtual objects governed by various Newtonian physical laws is modified by the viewer, and to French artist Catherine Ikam for the artwork "L'Autre".

The decision of Ars Electronica to create the new Prize in 1990 for interactive arts seems to be fully justified by the continuing quality of the submissions and the new developments in interactive artmaking. It may be useful in future years to consider creating new categories in the interactive arts. In particular, the new developments in interactive fiction, artforms with narrative structures, such as the interactive novel, interactive cinema and interactive poetry are leading to many new works; these were not well represented in the submissions to the competition this year.

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