Prix Ars Electronica 2012: The Results

Prix Ars Electronica
The 2012 Winners

(Linz, May 8, 2012) A total of 3,674 entries from 72 countries were submitted for prize consideration to the 2011-12 Prix Ars Electronica. This year’s most popular category was Digital Musics & Sound Art (834), followed by Computer Animation / Film / VFX (721), u19 – CREATE YOUR WORLD (675), Interactive Art (547), Hybrid Art (472), Digital Communities (313) and [the next idea] voestalpine Art and Technology Grant (112). The official awards ceremony will, as always, be held in conjunction with the Ars Electronica Gala on August 31, 2012 at the Brucknerhaus Linz.

Seven Competition Categories

Launched in 1987, the Prix Ars Electronica is the acknowledged trend barometer in the international media art scene. Each year, juries composed of well-known experts single out outstanding work for recognition and honor their creators with Golden Nicas, the “Oscars of media art.” The competition’s seven categories celebrate the vibrant diversity of contemporary media art: HYBRID ART, COMPUTER ANIMATION / FILM / VFX, INTERACTIVE ART, DIGITAL MUSICS & SOUND ART, DIGITAL COMMUNITIES, [THE NEXT IDEA] voestalpine ART AND TECHNOLOGY GRANT and the u19 CREATE YOUR WORLD category for Austrian young people.

Partners and Sponsors

The Prix Ars Electronica is produced by Ars Electronica Linz and the ORF – Austrian Broadcasting Company’s Upper Austria Regional Studio. Cooperating partners are Brucknerhaus Linz and the OK Center for Contemporary Art. The Prix Ars Electronica is supported by the City of Linz and the Province of Upper Austria. Lead sponsor is voestalpine, the donor of a grant to foster the development of visionary ideas. Additional sponsors are Liwest Kabelmedien GmbH, BFI, KulturKontakt Austria, Pöstlingberg Schlössl, Casinos Austria, Sony DADC and LINZ AG.

The Golden Nicas

Computer Animation / Film / VFX

Rear Window Loop / Jeff Desom (LU), Rear Window Loop

“Rear Window Loop” is a spinoff of Hitchcock’s 1954 classic “Rear Window.” The film, starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, is about a photojournalist who, after breaking his leg in an accident, is confined to a wheelchair. Out of boredom, he spends his time looking out his back window observing the goings-on in the courtyard of his Greenwich Village apartment building. Jeff Desom condenses Hitchcock’s masterpiece into a three-minute time-lapse video in which the famous rear window scenes of the original are assembled into a new collage yielding a panorama of the apartment complex that includes tilt-shift and other photographic effects. “Since everything was shot from pretty much the same angle, I could fit the individual scenes into a single panorama of the entire rear courtyard without much distortion,” Desom said of his work.

Rear Window Loop / Jeff Desom / Printversion / Album

Interactive Art

Memopol 2 / Timo Toots (EE)

“Memopol 2” depicts various information about a person whose ID or passport is inserted into the machine. “Memopol 2” combs international databanks and the WWW, and then shows the data it has harvested thereby on a large-format display. In these times in which we leave behind digital traces wherever we go online, and background checks by search engines and social network sites have long since become a part of everyday life, “Memopol 2” confronts us with our virtual likenesses.

Memopol 2 / Timo Toots / Printversion / Album

Digital Musics & Sound Art

Crystal Sounds of a Synchrotron / Jo Thomas (UK)

A synchrotron accelerates elementary particles to extremely high speed. One result of this is to produce a multifaceted, ever-changing cacophony. Jo Thomas concentrated on the injection of electrons. She captured and arranged micro-melodies that are as transient as the electron injections themselves. During this 38-minute work, the listener becomes completely absorbed, not least of all due to the 5.1. Sound that gets across the dry, almost sterile atmosphere with enormous compression.

Crystal Sounds of a Synchrotron / Green Lens Studios, London / Printversion / Album

Hybrid Art

bacterial radio / Joe Davis (US) with support of Tara Gianoulis and Ido Bachelet

Artist-researcher Jo Davis is being honored with this year’s Golden Nica for “Bacterial Radio.” The receiver’s circuitry consists entirely of genetically modified bacteria, which were introduced into a genetically engineered variety of an orange puffball sponge in order to cultivate electric circuit boards on a culture medium. Variants of the gene were then optimized in such a way that the proteins are capable of enriching other substances, especially metallic conductors and semiconductors such as germanium and platinum.

Bacterial Radio / Joe Davis / Printversion / Album

Digital Communities

Syrian people know their way / Syrian people know their way,

A group of graphic artists, filmmakers, musicians and bloggers were determined to use all means at their disposal to support the democratic uprising in Syria. Via social media and powerful visual statements, they get across their political and theoretical approaches in order to offer future prospects to as many people as possible and thereby give them the opportunity to become part of a free Syria.

Syrian people know their way / Syrian people know their way / Printversion / Album


state of revolution / Agnes Aistleitner (AT)

The 2012 Golden Nica in the u19 CREATE YOUR WORLD category goes to Agnes Aistleitner from Tragwein in the Province of Upper Austria. In her 14-minute video clip entitled “state of revolution,” she seeks traces of the recent upheavals in Egypt. As an outsider on site, she attempts to consider what transpired, gathering accounts and opinions from people on the streets and in marketplaces. In January 2012, the 19-year-old woman also staged a round-table discussion at the Austrian Cultural Forum in Cairo attended by the Austrian ambassador to Egypt, an Egyptian political scientist and students at the American University in Cairo. The topic: What can the West do for the revolution?

state of revolution / Agnes Aistleitner / Printversion / Album

[the next idea] voestalpine Art and Technology Grant – tools for the next revolution / Christoph Wachter & Mathias Jud (CH)

In these times in which the powers that be in various countries attempt to paralyze the internet and mobile telecommunications, or natural catastrophes can lead to protracted power outages, “” questions the security of existing communications channels and shows possible alternatives. In doing so, “” makes use of an open communications principle whereby computers or mobile devices with WLAN can form spontaneous networks to enable users to get into contact with one another. This means that chat and Twitter functions as well as the streaming of films are no longer dependent on the internet and mobile telecommunications providers. “” can be simply propagated as the need arises and freely modified by the open source community. “ – tools for the next revolution” is the recipient of this year’s [the next idea] voestalpine Art and Technology Grant.

Photo: – tools for the next revolution / Christoph Wachter, Mathias Jud / Printversion / Album

A pdf with the long version of this text, including all the Awards of Distinctions, Honorary Mentions aswell as statistics can be found here.


Video Rear Window Loop / Jeff Desom