Ars Electronica Center’s healthy 2013 bottom line:
Annual Attendance Up 2.4% to 175,261
(Linz, January 10, 2014) Attendance at Linz’s Ars Electronica Center rose to 175,261 last year. “That’s a 2.4% increase over 2012, which was a very successful year in its own right!” was the enthusiastic reaction of Managing Directors Diethard Schwarzmair and Gerfried Stocker. The driving forces behind 2013’s terrific results were the AEC’s tours and other programs designed to effectively mediate visitors’ encounters with content—1,946 groups comprising 62,876 individuals took advantage of these offerings. Plus, the in-house event service staged 178 conferences, round-tables, client meet-and-greets and other get-togethers that attracted 33,993 guests. The highest one-day attendance was recorded on March 14, when 3,800 persons visited the Ars Electronica Center. The busiest month was September 2013 at 17,019. “The fact that we attracted more than 92,000 visitors from all across the Province of Upper Austria—including 46,072 from the City of Linz—underscores how strongly rooted the AEC is in this region,” Diethard Schwarzmair noted. “But, at the same time, the fact that 18% of our visitors came from approximately 60 countries worldwide attests to the Ars Electronica Center’s global renown.” Deputy Mayor Bernhard Baier, Linz’s commissioner of cultural affairs and, since December 3, 2013, chairman of Ars Electronica Linz GmbH’s Board of Directors, echoed these sentiments: “The Ars Electronica Center not only achieves the highest attendance of any museum in Upper Austria; it’s also without a doubt the flagship of cultural life in Linz, a facility with a high-profile international reputation.”
Delivering a Great Visitor Experience
“We especially pride ourselves in how well we attend to visitors’ needs—both the substantive quality of our content and how much time visitors spend here partaking of our extensive, diversified array of offerings,” said Ars Electronica Artistic Director Gerfried Stocker. “The tremendous amount of positive feedback we get tells us that the services our Infotrainers provide is extraordinarily well received, and is a key contributor to making a visit to the Ars Electronica Center such an inspiring experience for so many people.” This is particularly evident on weekends, when most visitors are families, some of whom spend several hours in the exhibition spaces. The message is clear: the AEC is extremely popular among youngsters as a setting for great times and cool experiences—for instance, 87 birthday parties attended by a total of 1,495 celebrants.
The Big Draw: The Ars Electronica Center’s Program for School Classes
The Ars Electronica Center’s school program also enjoys growing popularity. In 2013, visitors booked 2,647 guided tours, up 11% from 2012. At the AEC last year, a total of 35,569 pupils from throughout Austria enjoyed playful encounters with leading-edge technologies and their effects on our society. “It’s really important for us to reach young people,” Gerfried Stocker emphasized. “After all, in contrast to grown-ups, the high-tech devices aren’t what youngsters have a problem dealing with, but rather the social, interpersonal and, often, legal ramifications of their digital activities. Making youngsters cognizant of and sensitive to these issues is the mission of our educational efforts. Moreover, we endeavor to encourage young people to use new technologies to implement their ideas and bring their visions to fruition.”
Exhibitions, Presentations and Special Events in and around the Museum
A total of seven exhibitions and focal-point presentations were featured attractions at the Ars Electronica Center in 2013: Kids Experience Technology, People_Scans, In Touch with the Earth, A Crazy Chicken, Project Genesis, Like a Second Nature, and Your Cosmos. Other highlights included such events as the CEDIC–Central European Deepsky Imaging Conference; Experimentale 13, a joint production of 108 schools all over Upper Austria; three Gamestage conclaves co-produced with Gamecraft, Linz’s computer gaming community, Radiated Pixel and the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences’ Hagenberg Campus; and eight formation flights by the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s quadcopter swarm. The Deep Space LIVE events staged on Thursday evening are still audience favorites—the 64 presentations attracted 3,940 attendees.