Prix Ars Electronica


ORF Oberösterreich

Statement of the Computer Graphics Jury

Golden Nica:

Michael Joaquin Grey, USA, for "Jellylife"


Keith Cottinghatn, USA, for "Fictitious Portraits" and

John Kahrs, USA, for "Supercluster"

These three pieces are examples of three approaches to computer graphics, three ways of producing computer-generated still images which represent a good range. It is the opinion of the jury that all these approaches should be rewarded or mentioned in connection with the prizes awarded.

Michael Joaquin Grey's "Jellylife" is a very good piece. It is graphically very powerful, but also very deep in a technological sense. It demonstrates a balance between the artistic statement and the technological statement, the two complementing each other. It is really a mixture of the 3-D approach and of deep concepts coming from the world of science and being used - in this case -for the generation of computer images.

It is also an investigation of a .process, an evolution within the digital material, using the terms of artifical life in the algorithm, the process that governs this work. The result is a temporal solution using a hybrid approach.

The image from Keith Cottingham's "Fictitious Portraits" - the face - is a very disturbing one, and therefore very powerful. Art should have the capacity to disturb. The details of how it was produced are less important for these purposes than its capacity to move people, which is what makes it so very interesting. Although in a very bizarre way it looks more like a painting than most other photographic images, the portrait is in fact a manipulation of pixel data and was composed using a two-dimensional process.

As a still image, this portrait really addresses a classical tradition of portraiture which goes back a long way. The way it is integrated into this classic form is, of course, an element within this context, as is the way in which the computer is involved, and it poses some questions as to where the image comes from and on which level the image exists: as a digitised image or as a photographic image.

"Supercluster" by John Kahrs represents a whole class of computer-generated images derived from 3-D data. It has something to do with 3-D modelling, it has to do with the material; it uses artificial material for a picture, applying picture material in a still rather than in a procedural manner. There is no obvious concept or formal composition, but it makes a statement about computer graphics and how it needs to look less like computer graphics. Thus it is strictly the quality of the rendering and the lighting that makes the difference here.

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