Honorable Mentions of the

Prix Ars Electronica 1995 - WWW Category

1. Best Groupmindware

Idea Futures:

Another Morgan Russell bon mot, "groupmindware" is at the heart of the Web where the weaving spider resides. Eric McLuhan has written about the myth of Arachne, the mythical figure who beat the Godess Athena in a weaving competition by weaving in its tapestry the fates of gods and men. To punish her audacity the gods condemned her to become a spider and weave for eternity. Groupmindware like Ringo++ or Idea Futures weaves our sensibility and our intelligences together in a seamless tapestry of intelligences and feelings. While many websites process information, i.e. the content of human thought and imagination, these sites also process intelligence itself. It is a kind of epistemological processing environment. In a way this category should come at the top.

2. Best Self-servers

Station Rose

At first, we meant this in jest. But, upon reflexion, it strikes me as rather puritan not to praise an artist for using the medium to do what he or she would do with every other media, that is to promote his or her art. Criteria then, should probably include estimating the complexity of relationships established by the application between the user and the site.

3. Best Community Watchdog Service

The File Room:

4. Best Community Information Service


These two are critical categories because the Web allows new community services not necessarily supported outside of cyberspace. The difference between the watchdog category and plain though extremely useful and interactive information services such as OTIS, is that the sitework affects the security, the privacy or the freedom of the users. There is a morality play in the infamous Toilet site; it is very much visited, apparently. The jury argued whether it was a fraud, just a digitized still. But Joichi Ito assured us that the image changed lighting according to the time of day, hence verifying the actuality of the camera trained on a toilet seat in what seems to be an office environment. The artistic merit of the piece is arguable, just as Duchamp's equally infamous urinal has had people arguing to this day. However, the best example of high morality associated with art comes from a Spanish artist living in New York, Antoni Muntadas, with The File Room, a site which collects, classifies, contextualizes and makes available all the censored material since the beginning of recorded time in files that people can consult and add to in clearly identified sectors. Pushed to extremes, this website could become a kind of permanent East German Stasi Police Records open file surgery site.

5. Best Netzine

t0 Public Netbase:

A true netzine is not just another "slow book", that is a book where you have to wait for the pages; it is an interactive, participatory kind of medium where the user can contribute something and be exposed to the critical judgment of other users. We felt that by including hypermail in its Chiller Lounge to provide chatlines and conferences with linked capabilities, Public Netbase was making the magazine idea more personal and more actual without abandoning the necessary news content to support and guide the user's involvement.

6. Best Experimental/Experiential Gallery:

Face to Face:
Digital Art Endeavours:

Same as above, a true art showcase on the Web is not just static images or objects in virtual space, but it brings out the user input. Perhaps one of the first examples of a good experimental gallery has been the well-known Graffiti Wall with their interactive wall where the user, if very patient, can add whatever he or she wants to a regularly refreshed blackboard on line. We poured several times into WaxWeb, but, perhaps because everything took so long to appear on screen that we would always loose track, we couldn't quite figure out what was going on. There is something haunting about it however.

7. Cleverest Device

Rome Lab Snowball Cam

That one was brought to our attention by Joichi Ito. We were seduced by the whimsical nature of the Snowball Throwing Machine, which allows you to blindly aim an artificial snowball at some hapless assistant at a military computer lab. Your throw is recorded (in almost real-time). And you can see the surprised, no rather tired, expression on the assistant by very slow scan TV. What so artistic about that, might you ask. It's a technological pun in the greatest post-modern tradition. It makes you recognize your own extensions.

8. Most Efficient and Useful Sensor


This is the weather satellite sites category, or the San Diego Traffic sensoring page which gives you regulat updates about the hotspots of traffic on the San Diego throughways. The esthetic pertinence of these sensors is that they extend the limitations of our own skin and senses to percieve much larger areas than our human proportions allow us to integrate. The matter of publically available sensors is also politically pertinent. Any access to non-linear real-time sensors on the Net is a new type of public domain information. It makes us understand why the Internet, and no specific local area network or any form of privatized Wide Area Network such America On Line or Compuserve, qualifies as the Electronic Commons. Only the Internet, once made accessible to everybody, has the capacity of representing public interest.

9. Best Homepage/Display

aMAZEing Web:

"Best Homepage" was a debated issue in search for categories. It could include criteria of presentation, design, legibility, ornement and all that but websites are also non-linear time-based media. Thus sequentiality and order must be included in the design of the page. Some sort of intuitive approach must communicate what the site is about and what it can do as soon as the page comes on screen. Design in a Web application must strive to make the homepage intuitively understandable and lead the user smoothly into the heart of the application. Partly because the slow speed of delivery, even with the best connection, partly because designers are still getting accustomed to the basic materials, most homepages have a stiffness to them which requires patience and understanding on the part of esthetic judgment.

10. Best Adaptive Response to the market forces


11. Virtual Id/entity creation

Kaspah's Home

This is another web natural in that the generation of virtual creatures and virtual persons issuing from collective input is something that could not be done without being on-line. The artistic level riseswith the complexity as well as the clarity of the entity being created by collective input

12. Most Likely to be Censored Page

Mircosoft Hate Page
Please also check the jury site:
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Responsible for the content: Thomas Riha
Realisation by LICON from Ed Humenberger

last changed 21.April 95