Prix Ars Electronica


ORF Oberösterreich

Roger F. Malina

The Interactive Art Jury awarded the Golden Nica award to Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau for their interactive artificial life installation "A-Volve". The Jury was unanimous in recognising this state-of-the-art work in the new field of artificial life, a direction which offers many artistic possibilities.

The distinctions were awarded to Loren Carpenter for his audience participation work "Kinoetic Evolution" and to the group TRANSIT for their three site interactive musical performance "Realtime". Both of the distinctions were awarded to work which involves interactions with many people. Most interactive work is designed for single viewers; the jury was particularly interested in acknowledging work which exploited new possibilities from computer mediated interactions involving a number of participants.

This year the Interactive Art category received a large number of submissions - over 200 - so that the competition was very tough. Several works that involved virtual reality technologies were reviewed. Two works of this type received mention: the virtual reality installation for two participants called "PlaceHolder" by Brenda Laurel and Rachel Strickland, and the playful virtual world "Menagerie" by Susan Amkraut and Michael Girard.

This year the Jury chose to recognise with Honourable Mentions a number of works which represent the development of new software tools with potential for rich artistic development. These new developments are very important, since most software systems have been created for commercial, scientific or mass entertainment purposes and are often not well suited for artistic work. Examples of work recognised with Merits this year are "Video Streamer" by Edward Elliott, which provides a very effective way of displaying time sequences of video images in manipulable format; also the work "ALIVE" by Patti Maes - a virtual environment where a viewer can interact with artificial creatures; the computer visualisation system "Responsive Workbench" by Wolfgang Krüger. The Jury debated at some length about where the boundary between innovative software tools and artistic work might be, but finally decided that these kinds of works were of such artistic interest that their categorisation •was secondary.

The jury notes this year the significant number of Prize and Merit winners who are from Austrian backgrounds or work in Austria. This can only be a, tribute to the success of the Prix Ars Electronica and the Festival in inspiring Austrian artists to work in this area.

© Ars Electronica Linz GmbH, info@aec.at