What is Ars Electronica?

Art, technology, society. Since 1979, Ars Electronica has sought out interlinkages and congruities, causes and effects. The ideas circulating here are innovative, radical, eccentric in the best sense of that term. They influence our everyday life—our lifestyle, our way of life, every single day.

The Festival as proving ground, the Prix as competition honoring excellence, the Center as a year-‘round setting for presentation & interaction, and the Futurelab and Ars Electronica Solutions as as in-house R&D facility extend their feelers throughout the realms of science and research, art and technology. Ars Electronica’s divisions inspire one another and put futuristic visions to the test in a unique, creative feedback loop. It’s an integrated organism continuously reinventing itself.

Center – The Museum, Presentation and Interaction

The Center is the Museum of the Future—the place where all the diverse blends of artistic genres, scientific domains and technological directions are displayed and processed. Biotechnology and genetic engineering, neurology, robotics, prosthetics and media art are juxtaposed here on equal terms and form experimental arrays conducive to testing ways in which we might be interacting and communicating with our surroundings and other human beings in the very near future, and getting an impression of what these changes will mean for us and our society. All exhibitions focus on issues having to do with how people can deal with their environment, and offer a variety of perspectives on our nature, our origins and our world. An extensive set of methodological tools is available to provide visitors with multifarious approaches to and ways of looking at the challenges posed by everyday life. Here, the emphasis isn’t just on interaction with exhibits on display; it’s on participation. The exhibitions are continuously being reworked and updated. What you won’t find here is a bunch of “Do Not Touch” signs; you’re cordially invited to enjoy a hands-on experience.

Festival – The Experimental Setting

Once a year, Ars Electronica invites artists, scientists and researchers from all over the world to a conclave in Linz to confront a specific, interdisciplinary theme in the context of speeches, workshops, exhibitions and symposia. Each year’s festival is dedicated to a different issue, and the formats of the various approaches to it are the very opposite of sacrosanct. This is a setting for experimentation, evaluation and reinvention, for the search for that which advances the betterment of human society, whereby the provenance of whatever that might be isn’t the least bit relevant.

Prix Ars Electronica – The Competition

Pixar in 1987, Wikipedia in 2004, Wikileaks in 2009—what all three have in common is being honored by Prix Ars Electronica and then proceeding to create worldwide sensations. The Prix Ars Electronica is our international trend barometer, constantly on the lookout for what’s new & exciting, what’s radically different, what’s making an impact right now. Innovation receives support; developments are showcased. The competition’s categories are defined broadly, and by no means restricted to media art. Jurors make wide-ranging forays across the entire spectrum of technological fields in their quest to spotlight the ideas of tomorrow.

Futurelab – Research & Development

The Futurelab staff includes experts in a wide array of disciplines at work on ideas that will exert a powerful effect on our future. Media art, architecture, design, interactive exhibitions, virtual reality and real-time graphics make up the Futurelab’s inspiration pool. Here, innovative people reconfigure available knowledge, build bridges to art, and come up with concepts designed to facilitate our interaction with the world of today and tomorrow.

An Enterprise of the City of Linz

Ars Electronica Linz GmbH & Co KG is an enterprise of the City of Linz. The Festival premiered in 1979. Ars Electronica Linz GmbH was incorporated in 1995; since then, it has been responsible for organizing and producing the Ars Electronica Festival and the Prix Ars Electronica, as well as for operating the Ars Electronica Center and the Ars Electronica Futurelab. Funding is provided by the City of Linz, the Province of Upper Austria and the Republic of Austria. Ars Electronica Linz GmbH is administered jointly by Artistic Director Gerfried Stocker and Financial Director Diethard Schwarzmair.