A total of 3,159 entries from 84 countries were submitted for prize consideration to the 2016 Prix Ars Electronica.
- Computer Animation / Film / VFX
- Interactive Art +
- Digital Communities
- u19 – CREATE YOUR WORLD
- Visionary Pioneers of Media Art
RHIZOME / Boris Labbé (FR)
„Rhizome is a very complex and complete piece of artwork, blending complementary techniques in a post-digital painting-like visual poem.“ (Statement der Jury)
In his black-and-white animated film, Boris Labbé has created a constantly changing universe of dynamic figures. They appear to be graceful little geometric sculptures whose shapes and component structures undergo incessant metamorphosis, queuing up one after the other to form a never-ending chain.
Award of Distinction
Nosaj Thing / Cold Stares ft. Chance The Rapper + The O’My’s / Daito Manabe (JP), MIKIKO (JP), TAKCOM (JP), ELEVENPLAY (JP), Rhizomatiks Research (JP)
“Cold Stares” repeatedly switches between reality and illusion as it goes about dealing with the meaning of life and personal remembrance. The two figures on screen are dancers—alternately real-world protagonists and computer-generated figures in an abstract environment.
Peripheria / David Coquard Dassault (FR)
David Coquard Dassault’s dystopian animated film is set in a huge, abandoned high-rise housing project. Off camera, one hears children’s voices and a few conversational fragments; on screen, there’s a roaming pack of dogs that have taken this neighborhood previously inhabited by humans as their turf. Nevertheless, a rosy future doesn’t await them here either. But suddenly the plot takes an unexpected turn and casts an entirely new light on this entire sequence of events.
“Can you hear me?” / Christoph Wachter (CH), Mathias Jud (CH)
„Can you hear me? is a powerful and playful act that engages in questions challenging who gets access to information and data, privacy and the state of surveillance. It is a testament to the importance of artists who use the medium of interaction in a way that allows them to leave the traditional space for artistic discourse and occupy the space for dialogue currently used by a system of governance known for overriding basic rights of the democratic society – personal privacy and freedom of speech.“ (Statement der Jury)
Edward Snowden’s disclosures shined the spotlight of public attention on Berlin’s federal government district, revealing it to be the site of extremely intense surveillance and espionage by numerous intelligence agencies. So this is precisely where Christoph Wachter and Mathias Jud wanted to set up a temporary installation on the subject of power and powerlessness in the Digital Age. On the roof of the Akademie der Künste—right between the listening posts in the American and British Embassies—they set up improvised antennas and installed an independent Wifi communications network, the range of which included the Reichstag, the Office of the Federal Chancellor and the Swiss Embassy. Anyone with a Wifi-capable device could join the network and chat, send text messages and share files. Personnel of the embassies and German government agencies were cordially invited to join in too. Plus, anyone who wished could send messages to the intelligence organizations on precisely those frequencies on which the American NSA and the British GCHQ were listening in.
Award of Distinction
OpenSurgery – a do-it-yourself surgery robot for domestic laparoscopy / Frank Kolkman (NL)
Frank Kolkmann’s “OpenSurgery Initiative” examines the question of whether do-it-yourself surgical tools are a suitable alternative to professional health services that are far too costly for many people. Frank Kolkmann has designed a surgical system for home use, all the components of which can be ordered online and assembled at home. The aim of Frank Kolkmann’s “OpenSurgery Initiative” is not so much to create a fully functional robot that can perform actual operations but rather to initiate a discussion about the tense interrelationship between socio-economic factors and ethical values in the field of medical care.
Parasitic Symbiotic / Ann-Katrin Krenz (DE)
Technology’s advance to the point of utterly pervading our world seems to be occurring increasingly at the cost of nature. “Parasitic / Symbiotic” by Ann-Katrin Krenz focuses on precisely this tense interrelationship. In it, she applies milling tools to the trunks of trees, using them to engrave an encoded text—a romantic poem about being at one with nature—into their bark. Like parasites, the equipment clings to the trees and inflicts damage on them, albeit in such a moderate form that it poses no serious threat to them. At the same time, this (parasitic) intervention gives rise to something new, which unfolds as the outcome of a (symbiotic) connection between technology and nature.
„P2P Foundation“ is a new generation of communities that help to build communities. It is dedicated to advocacy and research of peer to peer dynamics in society. Established ten years ago, it evolved into one of the main drivers of the ‚commons transition‘.” (Statement der Jury)
As a decentralized and self-organized non-profit organization, the P2P Foundation analyzes, documents and promotes peer-to-peer strategies that seem to be well-suited to facing the challenges and problems of our times in ways that display great future promise. The focus is on three key traits: sustainability, openness and solidarity. Since its inception, the community of the P2P Foundation has input over 30,000 entries that document the history and development of the peer-to-peer movement. The P2P Foundation Wiki has been accessed more than 27 million times, and is thus the platform that has assembled the world’s most massive collection of knowledge about P2P.
Award of Distinction
“Refugee Phrasebook” is an open community project providing useful phrases and information links for refugees and those helping them. Adapted to local needs and distributed with free licenses the team have produced and distributed medical, legal and general orientation phrasebooks in 44 different languages.
A bot (short for robot) is a computer program that can automatically perform certain repetitive tasks without having to rely on instructions from a human user. The SAZAE bot is just such a program. The bot went online in summer 2010 and has been active on Twitter ever since. It presents itself as a parody of a manga figure that’s extremely popular in Japan, Sazae-San, the chief protagonist of the manga series of the same name that’s been running on Japanese TV without interruption since October 5, 1969. (According to the Guinness Book of Records, it’s the world’s longest-running television series.) The SAZAE bot reacts to tweets and retweets. Its followers appreciate, above all, its witty remarks. Then, in 2014, Hitoyo Nakano was “born” and the anonymous human user behind the SAZAE bot assumed a purported identity. Since then, the SAZAE bot has been controlled via Google Forum, where anyone can post tweets as SAZAE bot completely anonymously. This isn’t just a site for exchanging opinions and jokes; here, people also arrange face-to-face meetings and other activities in the real world—for instance, handing out candy around Christmas, balloon takeoffs, guerilla actions, attending the Ted Talk or making a live appearance at the UN|COMMONS conference in Berlin.
Die Entscheidung / Jonas Bodingbauer (geb. 1998)
The Golden Nica in the u19 – CREATE YOUR WORLD category goes to Jonas Bodingbauer, a 17-year-old Linzer. He developed “Die Entscheidung” [The Decision], a game for two competitors: one plays a person who’s just found out he has cancer; the other plays the malignant tumor, and has to assemble credits to nurture its growth. Not until the game is well underway does the person playing the tumor find out that the person with cancer has good recovery chances if the illness—the tumor, that is—doesn’t grow. Thus, whether the person with cancer lives or dies depends on the decision of the person playing the tumor.
Award of Distinction
Blackout / Jasmin Selen Heinz (geb.1998), Tanja Josic (geb. 1998), Emily Poulter (geb. 1996)
Three young ladies from Vienna, Jasmin Selen Heinz, Tanja Josic and Emily Poulter are being honored for their socially critical experimental film. In impressive images, “Blackout” inquires into the meaning of life. The filmmakers have rendered a world in which there’s no longer any place for individuality, the human body has to be perfect, and the most important criterion is how a person “functions.”
Flucht / Dimitri Teufl (geb. 2003)
Dimitri Teufel, a 13-year-old boy from Salzburg, used Lego figures and the stop-motion technique to make this six-minute film consisting of 2,592 individual shots. “Flucht” (Fleeing) tells the story of a family who had to flee their homeland. Following an eventful sea journey organized by paid human traffickers, they arrive in Austria, where they receive a friendly welcome.
Honorary Mention & netidee SPECIAL PRIZE 2016
kameleon.ws /Ulrich Formann (geb. 1996), Kilian Hanappi (geb. 1996), Simon Wesp (geb. 1997)
This is the first time that the Prix Ars Electronica is awarding a special prize. Netidee (Net Idea) is meant to single out for recognition works that take an innovative approach to elaborating on the future of the internet, or showing how it can serve as a driving force contributing to regional development. Netidee is an initiative of Internet Foundation Austria. The 2016 prize goes to “kameleon” (Chameleon), a project by three Viennese schoolboys: Ulrich Formann, Kilian Hanappi and Simon Wesp. They’ve developed a way to imprint T-shirts with an individualized design, and to sell them via a webshop that functions completely autonomously. The motifs are generated by a computer program capable of learning, whereby each design is based on current events.
Merchandise Prize U14
Merchandise Prize U10
Jasia Reichardt (PL/UK)
The prominent art critic and exhibition curator Jasia Reichardt is this year’s Visionary Pioneer of Media Art. Her groundbreaking work and all that she has done on behalf of media art is being honored with a Golden Nica. The name Jasia Reichardt is, above all, indelibly linked to a trailblazing exhibition that ran in 1968 at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts and then at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. “Cybernetic Serendipity” was the title of this much-publicized show in which, instead of human artists, the spotlight was suddenly on computers, machines and algorithms. Under Jasia Reichardt’s direction, artists worked together with mathematicians, engineers and technology specialists to jointly create a completely novel form of presentation long before everyone was talking about cooperation between art and science in light of their tremendous potential for innovation. Numerous interactive exhibits gave visitors a close-up look at what Jasia Reichardt was getting at: the enormous potential inherent in new technologies, and the question of how humans and machines might someday coexist and work together. Jasia Reichardt didn’t showcase machines and programs only as tools performing a task; rather, she featured them as an integral part of the creative process. Jasia Reichardt was born in 1933 in Warsaw. She and her parents fled from the Nazis and lived from 1946 on in England. She attended the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, and was than active as an art critic and curated exhibitions. Until 1963, she was assistant director at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and, from 1964 to 1976, director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery. She currently lives in London.