Constantly striving to bring forth innovation is inherent in Ars Electronica’s nature. In going about this, attention is never focused on art, on technology or on society exclusively, but rather on the multifaceted changes they jointly engender and the interaction among them. Ars Electronica is intensely interested in the far-reaching cultural and social consequences of accelerating technological progress.
If, in this connection, we look back in history, we see that, above all, computer-based media were identified as the so-called key technologies and, as such, strongly determined Ars Electronica’s substantive focus. Over time, this relationship has changed, a technology that used to be the driving force behind the transformation of our world has become one that is the handmaiden of change, a technology that has come to pervade practically all facets of modern life. Right now, genetic engineering and nanotechnology, the cultural & social sciences, green technologies, design and architecture are the areas that have the inherent potential to fundamentally transform society. Along with these developments, Ars Electronica as well has undergone a constant process of change looking at things from new perspectives, going beyond digital technologies, and seeking innovative changes in newly emerging fields.
Our approach to this is always solution-oriented. We have never simply tuned out or suppressed social problems; in fact, we do just the opposite: actively integrating them into our encounter with new facts & circumstances to keep on the lookout for ways to arrive at solutions that are off the beaten path and doable at the same time.
A look at the current situation of our society quickly makes it clear that more unconventional, creative approaches are precisely what we need to effectively deal with our present problems. Whether we’re talking about the economic crisis, the ongoing modifications of our natural environment or the so-called Digital Divide—what are called for in tackling these challenges are bold pioneers with new ideas and experience gleaned from a wide array of fields, people who are able to collaborate on coming up with solutions to current problems and, in doing so, helping to make a positive impact on our future.
And that’s precisely where this blog comes into play. For starters, it functions as a platform on which highly diverse approaches and ideas can be presented. Beyond this, it’s a launching pad for discussions, and thereby creates a basis for the reciprocal inspiration of all participants. Here, different ways of doing things can be discussed and new collaborative arrangements configured.
Plus, participants have the opportunity to obtain a grant-in-aid designed to foster the implementation and/or further development of a particularly promising concept: [THE NEXT IDEA] VOESTALPINE ART AND TECHNOLOGY GRANT. This funding and support provided under the aegis of Ars Electronica and Voestalpine consists of a cash stipend in the amount of €7,500 and the opportunity to spend three months at the Ars Electronica Futurelab working in a state-of-the-art setting on fine-tuning the proposal or actually bringing it to fruition. This grant is awarded annually in conjunction with the world-renowned Prix Ars Electronica.