[the next idea] voestalpine Art & Technology Grant

Six years have passed since [the next idea] voestalpine Art and Technology Grants was first awarded, so this would be a fitting occasion for Ars Electronica and voestalpine to devote an exhibition to these efforts. The mission has been to discover people who are taking original, innovative approaches to confronting the  facts & circumstance of this world, and are developing concepts that have what it takes to really make a difference.The exhibition spotlights work being done at the nexus of art, technology, design and science, and elaborate on the projects’ inherent assumptions as well as the social consequences they entail. It’s precisely this mixture of very creative people with wide-ranging skills and highly diverse backgrounds that promises to foster fascinating, inspiring encounters with topics and issues of great importance to our future, so to assure that these successful networking efforts don’t just loosen and completely unravel following the end of the Festival, Ars Electronica is launching a blog that will present the projects on exhibit as well as new and very promising approaches.


Frederik De Wilde – Hostage

Winner of the [the next idea] voestalpine Art and Technology Grant 2010

The medium of painting has a long tradition, and many critical reflections upon the contemporary relevance of the medium have been written. The percentage for renewal is rather small. Very small. Ironically, nanotechnology deals with the very “small” and it is within this fairly new scientific field that inspiration may lie for the arts, ready to be unfold and researched. The creation of the darkest nano engineered painting in the world, created in collaboration with the Rice University and Prof. Pulickel, entitled “Hostage” will serve as a case study to explore the possible paradigm shift it can generate in the arts in general and more specific in the medium of painting. In order to pursue this sublime ideal and go beyond the luminal, the artist researched and used anti-sublime strategies, using scientific tools, methodologies and introduced them into his artistic praxis.


Thanks to: Nanomaterials Laboratory at Rice University, Houston (USA), SMARTbe, Flemish Ministry of Culture and the University Hasselt

Jonas Burki – Sun_D

Winner of the [the next idea] voestalpine Art and Technology Grant 2007

SUN_D takes a radical new approach—one that doesn’t regard daylight as a problem but instead sees its tremendous potential. Jonas Burki considers sunlight and ambient light as a resource that’s natural, free and abundantly available, and builds sun monitors that adapt to natural lighting conditions.


Cesar Harada – Open_Sailing

Winner of the [the next idea] voestalpine Art and Technology Grant 2009

“Open_Sailing” is a pioneering open-source architecture designing and building the first International Ocean Station. The diverse community of experts, from a wide range of disciplines, develop the technologies required to enable a human floating symbiotic life with the ocean. Current research projects include “Energy_Animal”, a floating sustainable electrical generator that creates power from waves, wind and sun; “Life_Cable”, a unified cable for any inhabited structure needs; and a fleet of oil collecting robots to aid the cleaning of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The “Open_Sailing” project aims to provide a stable infrastructure for ocean research, developing technologies that will impact our lives on land as well as the ocean.


Cathrine Kramer – Community Meat Lab

A number of scientists are researching the prospect of growing meat in vitro as a potential solution to environmental and health concerns related to current global meat consumption. However, they have yet to discover a way to scale up the process to an industrial level. Hence, now is an opportune time in this emerging technology’s development to imagine how such a process could be structured in an alternative mode of production, independant of the industrial food system. The Community Meat Lab utilises existing knowledge of how meat can be grown in vitro to propose a scenario where the consumer makes a social and emotional investment in the production of their food rather than a monetary one.


Ken Banks – Frontline SMS

FrontlineSMS is a free software that turns a computer and a mobile phone or a modem into a two-way group messaging hub. Since it works at any place with mobile reception, it doesn’t need the Internet, which is a major advantage for many grassroots NGOs. Once the software is running on your computer, you can send messages to wide groups of people, and collect responses to any questions or surveys you might want to run, all via text message.


Niels Peter Flint – WonderWorldCompostdo

The basic idea behind WonderWorld are multimedia and multi-functional projects melting together various disciplines in order to create new expressions and types of projects which addresses issues extremely relevant to the challenges humanity is facing. The WonderWorld projects in general are showing new ways to do a lot more with a lot less in ways that let everyone participate. The projects try to come up with positive solutions to the challenges Homo Sapiens are facing on Planet Earth today. WonderWorldCompostdo (WWCdo) in particular takes up a tabooed topic centered around human waste. The main goal with the WWCdo project is to create awareness around how energy can be created for everyone on the planet if the technologies are used appropriately.


Hans Frei, Marc Böhlen – Micro Public Places

In response to two strong global developments: the rise of pervasive Information technologies and the privatization of the public sphere, Marc Böhlen and Hans Frei propose hybrid architectural programs called Micro Public Places (MMPs). MPPs are small but many, decentralized but connected worldwide.  They combine insights from ambient intelligence, human computing, architecture, social engineering and urbanism to initiate ways to re- animate public life in contemporary societies. They offer access to things that are or should be available to all: air, water, medicine, books, etc.. Last but not least they combine information technologies with subjective human intuition to make the public space a contested space again.


Eyal Burstein, Michele Gauler – Eye Candy

Each of your senses (touch, smell, sight, taste, hearing) sends information to the brain at a different frequency. The brain determines where the sensorial information it receives comes from by the frequency at which it resonates, so it can process it in the appropriate way. Arrays of resonators positioned on the surface of an Eye Candy transmit information from the tongue to the brain at the frequency that the eyes usually send visual information to the brain. A pleasant sensation of soda bubbles can be felt on the tongue as the mind decodes this sensorial information as vivid pictures.


Adam Zaretsky – Studiolab

[the next idea] 2010 Honorary mention

The Towards Biosolar Cells research program at Leiden University in the Netherlands combines natural and technological components to create solar collectors that supply fuel rather than electricity. Bioartists are collaborating in the development of these “artificial leaves”. Research begins with *Elysia chlorotica*, a wild species that is half plant, half snail. This sea slug eats chloroplasts from algae and becomes solar powered so it does not have to eat for long periods of time. Recently it was discovered that this snail has genetic information to repair the chloroplasts and keep them going; if the genes that allow the snail to maintain the functional integrity of the chloroplasts can be laterally transferred, it is possible the genes can be utilized for other organisms, ultimately for humans. This generates the possibility to produce solar-powered species for food and biofuel directly from the sun, reducing our ecological footprint.


BioArt artist Adam Zaretsky in collaboration with Prof. Huub de Groot (bio-solar cells) and Prof. Rob Zwijnenberg (Faculty of Humanities, Leiden)

Bruce Baikie – Intelligent Solar-Powered 3G-WiFi Broadband Access

[the next idea] 2010 Honorary mention

The purpose of this device is to provide a method and means for controlling the power usage of communication routers based on the electrical output of solar panels and batteries voltage\charge level. The two important pieces of this technology are the intelligent solar power control module and the software for power management and monitoring. These allow for smaller solar panels and battery sub-system, resulting in reduced cost, a smaller form factor and increased portability of communication routers. The aim is to create simple systems and to deploy them into developing regions, specific into schools.


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