Prix Ars Electronica


ORF Oberösterreich

Statement of the Computer Animation Jury

It was an easy choice all the way up to the final few rounds, when it became extremely difficult. The jury worked very hard together to pick a winner for the Golden Nica. The eventual decision to split the prize and award it to two different entries was a result of the fundamental tension between the different avenues available for creating high quality computer animation. On the one hand the jury was presented with "Jurassic Park", which had an enormous budget (and ILM is an acknowledged world leader in film-making technology), and on the other hand there was what the jury considered to be a powerful piece by a small team working with a small budget: "K.O. KID".

In the end it was decided to split the award in order to give it to two companies who are both creating work that is technically very well done. ILM wins one for "Jurassic Park "for the simple reason that it is a technically pioneering and complex example of special effects applications in films. As everybody knows, it is also very successful in the commercial sense, and this very success threatens to completely overshadow the efforts of many smaller film companies and individuals active in computer graphics - and the jury certainly does not believe that these people's work is not comparably good. It is hardly possible to ignore "Jurassic Park", because it represents an important step in the history of computer graphics, but it is very important that people who do not have tremendous resources to try to create new work should be encouraged.

That is why the other Golden Nica is awarded to the authors of "K.O. KID", who have created a singularly tight, impressive and complex work. In every technical, film-making respect as well as in terms of content, this computer-generated film is a work of art, and that is the reason the jury has honoured it as a contrast to the special effects industry represented here by ILM.

The Distinctions go to the films "No Sex" and "QUARXS", two very different works that illustrate two very important directions in computer graphics. Each was chosen for its creative ability to express an idea.
Although "No Sex" does not represent state of the art technology or 3D and cannot be considered 3D graphics in the technical sense, the jury feels it is both a technically brilliant piece and a strong artistic statement and deserves to be honoured. It is unusual in that it was not done on a high end system, but it demonstrates that although there are different ways and means to create computer animation, it is the concept behind the work that makes all the difference. "No Sex" is distinguished by its editing, choreography, and in particular the very well-conceived interplay between picture, sound and content. Every image, every frame, stands as a graphic work in its own right. The work not only transcends traditional style and contemporary clip culture, but it also has a clear and strong message.

"QUARXS" is probably the most beautiful piece the jury selected. It is a powerful achievement in view of its modelling, rendering, and very realistic representation of non-existent things - surreal life-forms, to be exact - using the technology to create images that could not be achieved by any other means. In fact, what makes "QUARXS" such an interesting example is its perfect application of computer graphics to the representation of pseudo-reality - by portraying a pseudo-scientific investigation with undeniable entertainment value. With its very artistic design, excellent lighting and interesting concept, the technical brilliance of "QUARXS" is such that it is not even noticeable.

As with "Jurassic Park", "K.O. KID" and "No Sex", the actual use of the computer itself is no longer the main issue. These works were judged solely on the basis of form and content.

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