Golden Nicas awarded to artists from South Korea, Hong Kong, and Austria, as well as to an international collective

3,176 submissions from 98 countries at Prix Ars Electronica 2023

(Linz, June 12, 2023) A total of 3,176 projects from 98 countries were submitted to the Prix Ars Electronica 2023. The largest number of submissions—1,116 projects—were in the newly introduced category, “New Animation Art,” which focuses on groundbreaking animations at the intersection of new visualization techniques and new forms of communication, The other categories included “Digital Musics & Sound Art,” “Artificial Intelligence & Life Art,” and “u19 – create your world.”

The Prix Ars Electronica’s international jury composed, as always, of top-class members, included: Lev Manovich (US), Philippe Pasquier (CA), Helen Starr (TT), Mimi Son (KR), Nora O’ Murchú (IE), Kasia Chmielinski (US), Paolo Cirio (IT/US), Jens Hauser (DE/FR/DK), Nora N. Khan (US), Jurij Krpan (SI), Ludger Brümmer (DE), Tonica Hunter (GB), Ali Nikrang (AT), Małgorzata Płysa (PL), Asher Remy-Toledo (CO/US), Lisa Ackerl (AT), Sirikit Amann (AT), Conny Lee (AT), Karl Markovics (AT), and Remo Rauscher (AT).

The Golden Nicas 2023 are awarded to Ayoung Kim (KR), Winnie Soon (HK/UK), the collective Atractor + Semántica Productions (INT), and Sonja Höglinger (AT). All winners will receive a prize money of 10,000 Euros, while the Golden Nica in the “u19-create your world” category is endowed with 3,000 Euros.

In addition to the Prix Ars Electronica, the “Isao Tomita Special Prize” supported by TOMITA information Hub and the “Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity,” made possible by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, were also open for submissions in 2023. These are awarded to Robin Fox (AU) and the African initiative Masakhane, respectively. 

New Animation Art / Award of Distinction


Bassam Issa (IE)

“Operating in the gap between the fantasy and reality, Bassam Issa draws us into their seductive journey of metamorphosis and fluidity, queer possibility, destruction and decay, set against scenes of resilience and rebirth.”

Statement of the Jury

Outer worlds merge with inner worlds, the self of the body detaches from the surface. A whirlwind of emotions ebbs and flows—dream-like eroticism intertwines with corporeal horror, while scenes of destruction and decay stand in stark contrast to moments of resilience and rebirth. IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS is a 30-minute film conceived as an integral part of an imaginary video game.

The “logic” of computer-animated worlds is subverted, inviting scrutiny of their politicized and constructed nature. Bassam Issa delves into the exaggerated masculinity of gaming avatars and the idealistic associations of progress, growth, and transformation tied to them. This engenders a realm where selfhood intersects with queer possibilities, where multiple “disruptions” within the body and gender arise, dismantling binary frameworks. The film’s hyper-synthetic aesthetics exude both allure and unease, crafting immersive narratives rich in visual and conceptual contrasts that all explore themes of identity, social binaries, and norms.


New Animation Art / Award of Distinction


SANGHEE (Sanghee Lee) (KR)

“[…] very appropriate, simple yet convincing use of the medium to produce a truly embodied and immersive experience of grim life situations that are often portrayed too abstractly. The jury commends the work’s simplicity and efficiency, which successfully frames a set of interviews portraying the lived experience of Korean youth inhabiting the spaces on display, that can resonate with all viewers.”

Statement of the Jury

With Oneroom-Babel, SANGHEE tackles the oppressive reality experienced by thousands of young South Koreans residing in “Onerooms”—cramped living spaces consisting of a single room serving as a bedroom, kitchen, and living area. This VR project immerses players in a deep-sea exploration of a structure resembling the countless high-rises in South Korea, each composed of numerous “Onerooms.” Rather than housing personal belongings, these rooms are filled with texts and sounds derived from interviews conducted by SANGHEE with young individuals. SANGHEE presents the experience of “living in one room” as a collective memory of young people who left their villages in search of a new life in the city, only to find themselves without a genuine sense of home.


New Animation Art / Golden Nica

Delivery Dancer’s Sphere

Ayoung Kim (KR)

“[..] Ayoung Kim’s combination of philosophy, topology, and classical physics with excellent visual storytelling creates a highly successful portrayal of the emerging multi-layered and uncontrollable world we inhabit.”

Statement of the Jury

Ernst Mo—an anagram of “Monster”—works as a delivery person for the platform *Delivery Dancer* in a fictional Seoul. Like all other “Dancers,” Ernst Mo races through the never-sleeping, glittering metropolis day and night on her motorcycle. The “Dancemaster,” an AI, determines where and when she picks up goods and to whom and where she delivers them. It accepts orders, defines starting and ending points, calculates the shortest and fastest routes, assigns drivers, and notifies recipients. During her journeys, Ernst Mo constantly encounters points and intersections where an alternative world opens up. This parallel world is called En Storm, also an anagram of “Monster,” and it represents how life, behavior, and relationships of people could be if things unfolded slightly differently…

In Delivery Dancer’s Sphere, Ayoung Kim (KR) delves into the thriving gig economy. Through a blend of 3D animation and live-action shots, Kim challenges the fashionable marketing narratives surrounding urbanity, modernity, and individuality. Instead, she unveils a topological labyrinth brimming with overstimulation, relentless acceleration, and the perpetual pursuit of optimizing one’s body, time, and space.

“Dancemaster always likes to keep the action to a minimum. For Dancemaster, optimization is synonymous with elegance. No matter what path an object travels, nature always strives to minimize action…  You know that, don’t you? But this is no longer about nature…”

Through the use of montage, Ayoung Kim (KR) repeatedly disrupts the causality of the narrative, giving rise to a new syntax each time. Additionally, principles from classical physics, such as Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Fermat’s Principle of Least Time, and Hamilton’s Principle of Least Action, play an important role. For Delivery Dancer’s Sphere, Ayoung Kim (KR) is awarded the Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica 2023 in the “New Animation Art” category.


Digital Musics and Sound Art / Award of Distinction

zwischenraum – interspace – acoustic cartography / Julia Jasmin Rommel (DE)

zwischenraum – interspace – acoustic cartography* is based on an artistic exploration of the acoustic measurement of space, dealing with the aspect of orientation, while reflecting on the phenomena of ubiquity and space. […] The work represents a stunningly clear, minimalistic and beautiful realization of data sonification in an undeniably creative artistic way.”

Statement of the Jury

zwischenraum – interspace – acoustic cartography explores the perception of spaces through the lens of sound. Julia Jasmin Rommel’s audiovisual installation is based on real cartographic documents, encompassing geographical and geopolitical information. It investigates how our minds respond as we navigate from point A to point B. The project delves into transitions, restlessness, continuity, and orientation—elements that shape our movement through spaces. Additionally, the installation documents tunnels and bridges experienced during train journeys, as well as the spaces and emotions felt between flight booking and takeoff. Rommel goes beyond factual descriptions, seeking the artistic qualities inherent in cartographic data. She translates patterns of movement, particularly their changes, into captivating soundscapes. The resulting auditory experience becomes a tool for spatial orientation, transforming cartography into a medium of “cartophony.”


Digital Musics and Sound Art / Award of Distinction

Harmonic Motion / Alba Triana (CO)

“A complex arrangement of wave reflections alters the perception of the space, allowing different levels of subtle engagement with the piece. […] Hearing the unheard and seeing the unseen, visitors immerse themselves in a vibrational meditative environment that invites them to pause, become aware of their senses, and escape the cacophony of daily life.”

Statement of the Jury

Harmonic Motion is both a musical composition and an immersive installation. Everything revolves around vibrations, (sound) waves, and resonances. At the center of the installation is a cymbal whose movement is triggered by an electric signal. The sounds that are created in this way are generated without any touch, not by musicians. Thanks to fourteen spirally arranged reflections created by a laser system, the vibrations of this cymbal are not only audible but also visible.

Alba Triana (CO) creates a unique cyclical narrative language with Harmonic Motion, combining sounds and images. The rhythmic electric drive never fully controls the sound layer, as the cymbal also responds to changes in humidity, temperature, or movements in the space. Harmonic Motion makes processes and relationships tangible that would otherwise remain hidden, revealing the ways in which we and the world are interconnected.


Digital Musics and Sound Art / Golden Nica

A Tale of Two Seeds: Sound and Silence in Latin America’s Andean Plains / Atractor Estudio (CO) + Semantica Productions (UK)

“This work reflects the social engagement and activism that many artists, particularly those in countries with prevalent economic and social disparities, employ to force the business of agriculture to be more holistic and ecological in its practices.”

Statement of the Jury

A dispute is raging over the direction of Latin American agriculture: While corporations are pushing ahead with the large-scale cultivation of soy, the indigenous population in particular is fighting to be able to continue cultivating their amaranth. The former is destined for the international market and promises high profits, while the latter is a cereal rich in vital nutrients that has been a staple food in Central America and Mexico since the Aztecs, Incas and Mayas. To eliminate amaranth from their huge monocultures using glyphosate, corporations turned to genetically modified soy. With unexpected consequences: Within a few years, amaranth—the name appropriately means “never fading” or “always blooming”—developed resistance to the chemical cudgel.

This defending of nature, in turn, becomes a symbol of resistance against the cultivation of genetically modified, non-native crops and the privatization of land and seeds. The collective Atractor + Semantica Productions was also inspired by this and draws attention to the agro-industrial colonization of Latin America, especially Colombia, with the sound installation A Tale of Two Seeds: Sound and Silence in Latin America’s Andean Plains. By means of sound recordings of underground as well as overground processes and the recordings of the electrical conductivity of soy and amaranth plants, the apparent transformation of the Andean landscape is also made audible. The socio-political effects of agriculture trimmed for maximum profit are also worked through on film, and a blockchain application brings the patent regulations of genetically modified plants and the question of (intellectual) property to the tableau.

Atractor + Semantica Productions (INT) is awarded the Golden Nica of the Prix Ars Electronica 2023 in the category of Digital Musics and Sound Art for their project A Tale of Two Seeds.


Isao Tomita Special Prize 2023 

TRIPTYCH / Robin Fox (AU)

“As a jury we felt that Robin Fox’s laser work embodies the artistic spirit of Isao Tomita, paying homage to his visionary approach and artistic dedication. By pushing the boundaries of audiovisual exploration, both artists have left a profound impact on electronic music and visual art, inspiring future generations to pursue innovative and transformative artistic endeavors.”

Statement of the Jury

Robin Fox (AU) is a composer and artist who masterfully combines light, sound, and movement in his works. His latest creation, Triptych, showcases his unique approach. Specially designed hardware generates electrical voltage, which gives birth to both visual imagery and an immersive sonic experience. Three synchronized laser projectors produce colorful geometric patterns that can be tailored to suit different event spaces. On the musical front, Triptych traverses the realms of high-art techno, deep sonic mass, and visual noise. Robin Fox’s experimental live events offer unparalleled experiential spaces that can only be fully appreciated and captured in person.

In recognition of Triptych, he is honored with this year’s Isao Tomita Special Prize.


Artificial Intelligence & Life Art / Award of Distinction

Shadows from the Walls of Death / Adam Brown (US)

“The artist points to the hidden sides of humans’ ‘chlorophilia’ by re-enacting recipes for bright pigments, which also served as rat poisons, and ultimately bio-remediating Van Gogh—referenced motifs with extremophile bacteria and hyper-accumulating sunflowers. The jury acknowledged the media archaeological dimension of the work used to question and highlight the material conditions and effects of media technologies in general.”

Statement of the Jury

Shadows from the Walls of Death is a long-term artwork that examines the historical, chemical, and material impact of “Paris Green.” This highly toxic pigment, enriched with arsenic, revolutionized art and industry in the 19th century due to its brightness and durability. Hundreds of thousands of people were exposed to toxic arsenic through the processing of the pigment, not only in the production of paint but also through its use as an insecticide, resulting in severe illnesses or death. In 1874, Dr. Robert Kedzie authored a book that aimed to raise public awareness and shed light on the dangers of arsenic-laden wallpapers. Adam Brown’s (US) performance series, Shadows from the Walls of Death, draws inspiration from this book. Through the reenactment of the synthesis, production, and utilization of “Paris Green,” the series raises crucial questions concerning the countless artworks that continue to adorn museum walls, despite being highly toxic.

The irony of this story is that art in particular so often tries to imitate nature and emphasize its importance for us humans, but in the process uses completely unsuitable materials. It is precisely through the urgent need to renovate such works of art that a new awareness of this contradiction is emerging in the art scene.


Artificial Intelligence & Life Art / Award of Distinction

3SDC project (Sunlight, Soil & Shit (De)Cycle) / Oron Catts (AU), Ionat Zurr (AU), Steve Berrick (AU)

“In times of hyperbolic promises of so-called ‘precision farming’ powered by ‘artificial intelligence’ and big data, soilless farming techniques such as hydroponic systems and vertical gardens to ‘green’ urban spaces, the 3SDC (Sunlight, Soil & Shit (De)Cycle) project stages a functional and monitored, yet voluntarily contestable circular food system. […] the manifold sensors to measure the artificially created ‘climate variables,’ culminating in a control room, mainly serve to validate otherwise absurd bio-cybernetics via the production of data, which has become our societies’ central currency.”

Statement of the Jury)

Sunlight, Soil & Shit (De)Cycle-3SDC delves into the future of food production. It explores new, seemingly sustainable forms of food production that eliminate the need for natural elements. Sunlight, soil, and waste are replaced with artificial light, substrates, and fertilizers, presenting the resulting technical food systems as less (or even non-) environmentally damaging. Oron Catts (AU), Ionat Zurr (AU), and Steve Berrick (AU) perceive these systems as “metabolic cleavage technologies” that stem from the same ideology driving tech corporations to develop and propagate nature-free metaverse fantasies. Through their work on 3SDC, they seek to critically examine these “metabolic rift technologies.”

The setup consists of four components: a compost incubator where muscle cells of mice are stored as lab-grown meat, an alkaline hydrolysis plant that transforms the cultured tissue into fertilizer, which nourishes the plants in the hydroponic systems (soilless cultivation). Finally, these plants are used as feed for the compost incubator, completing the biological growth cycle. The only output of 3SDC emerges from the control room, where a multitude of sensors generate large amounts of mostly useless data.


Artificial Intelligence & Life Art / Golden Nica

Unerasable Characters Series / Winnie Soon (HK/UK)

“Although Soon’s work serves as stern commentary on the increased role of pervasive, automated digital surveillance infrastructure in the control and erasure of dissenting voices, it also highlights the opportunity created through the combination of digital “breadcrumbs” and algorithmic techniques.” (Statement of the Jury)

Winnie Soon (HK/UK) explores how regimes employ digital infrastructure to exert censorship, with a particular focus on Weibo, one of China’s largest social media platforms. At the core of her investigation is the “Weiboscope” system, developed at the University of Hong Kong, which enables the analysis of Chinese microbloggers’ timelines and the identification of tweets that have been censored by the regime. The three-part Unerasable Characters Series emerged from the insights derived from this technical scanning, offering a profound exploration of the subject matter.

Unerasable Characters I is based on 54,064 tweets that were censored between June 30, 2021, and June 30, 2022. Using Machine Learning, these tweets were transformed into a massive stack of documents spanning over 6,000 pages, bearing witness to the sheer scale of censorship. From this stack, another book emerged, created through the use of Machine Learning as well. While the content of the book is illegible, it, too, is prohibited because it is based on forbidden texts.

Unerasable Characters II is a living archive that is fed daily with censored tweets. Each tweet is transformed into a character-by-character display and visualized as a blinking unit within a grid. The duration of visibility for each unit depends on how long the original tweet remained on Weibo before being removed.

Unerasable Characters III delves into 2,104 tweets that were posted on Weibo between December 1, 2019, and February 27, 2020—the day when COVID-19 emerged in China—only to be later censored. In this project, all the tweets have been rendered indecipherable, except for the punctuation, emojis, and special characters that remain visible. Through a web presentation, these tweets symbolize the affective and expressive nature of these “unheard voices,” offering insights into their temporal, spatial, and emotional dimensions.

Winnie Soon (HK/UK) is awarded the Golden Nica of the Prix Ars Electronica 2023 in the AI & Life Art category for the Unerasable Characters Series.


u19–create your world / Young Creatives 0 – 14

u10 Hauptpreis

Strom erzeugen durch Bewegung (Generating Electricity through Movement)

Leopold Kastler

Exoskeletons were originally designed to assist in physically demanding tasks. However, Leopold Kastler has taken a different approach by creating an exoskeleton that generates electricity instead of consuming it. This innovative device can be worn on the arm or leg, as long as it performs bending movements that drive the generators. Specially installed LED lights indicate the direction of the generator’s rotation. With effective operation, it is envisioned that this exoskeleton could easily recharge batteries. Leopold Kastler, the young inventor, holds great promise for the potential of his creation.

u12 Hauptpreis


Maximilian Posset

Inspired by “R2 D2,” Maximilian Posset has built his own mobile service robot. He utilized various household and garden items for its construction: the robot’s body is made from a recycling bin for glass, its propulsion system operates using a remote-controlled car, the arm was once a remote control antenna, and a motion light has been repurposed as a spotlight. Maximilian Posset’s “R2 D2” can navigate straight paths, transport small objects, provide illumination, and still function as a garbage bin. The R2 D2 SERVICE-ROBOTER represents the principles of upcycling and resourcefulness, showcasing a remarkable technological innovation.

u14 Hauptpreis

Der Klassensprechersong

Fabian Kranzl

Fabian Kranzl’s Klassensprechersong (The Class Representative Song) is a celebration of German rap that seamlessly combines entertainment and social commentary. With a healthy dose of irony, Fabian addresses “all class representatives of the world” and advocates for genuine commitment to one another—a commitment that serves the community rather than individual advancement. While this message applies to the microcosm of classrooms, it can also be playfully extrapolated to global affairs. “This rap is politics!” exclaims the jury.


u19–create your world / Young Professionals 14 – 19 / Award of Distinction

Gan Eden / Anatol Grandits, Tomas Perkovic

The future as a dystopia—in their interactive artwork Gan Eden (Hebrew for “Garden of Eden”), Anatol Grandits and Tomas Perkovic depict a post-apocalyptic, uninhabited Earth as a result of dramatic climate change, presenting the future as a dystopia. Players can explore various locations and narrative spaces, including a boat, a factory, a highway bridge, and a forest. Throughout, the oppressive atmosphere of destruction and uncertainty remains. Anatol Grandits and Tomas Perkovic powerfully illustrate the consequences we face if we continue to destroy our environment: exile from paradise.


u19–create your world / Young Professionals 14 – 19 / Award of Distinction

Meditações / Linda Michelitsch, Konstantin Redl, Emma Gruber

Anger, rebellion, rule-breaking, the quest for truth and the future—the short film Meditações brings youthful emotions to the forefront. The film is as restless as its characters, with no seamless narrative; instead, one experience follows another. Meditações is a fragmented exploration of the search for meaning, destruction, and resignation, yet always with a spark of hope shining through. It is a coming-of-age film of an unconventional nature.


u19–create your world / Golden Nica

Verblassende Stimmen / Sonja Höglinger

“It is not easy to comment on this work because its visual presence actually conveys everything succinctly. It speaks without speaking. Its tonality is tattooed into the fabric skin forever with needle and thread. […] Verblassende Stimmen (Fading Voices) is an analog work that, despite everything, manages to capture the digital and intertwine the best of both worlds in a wonderful way.”

Statement of the Jury

When loved ones pass away, their voices are silenced forever. With Verblassende Stimmen (Fading Voices), Sonja Höglinger attempts to process the loss of someone close to her and preserve their voice and timbre in a very special way. By sewing a sound track onto a sheet, she shows what will never be heard again while simultaneously preserving the memory of it. She challenges us to reflect on how we remember the voices of those departed individuals who were once very dear to us.

For Verblassende Stimmen, Sonja Höglinger is awarded the Golden Nica of the Prix Ars Electronica 2023 in the category “u19 – create your world.”

Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs / Honorary Mention

konSPARK – Academy for Contemporary Investigative Art

Artists: Nastja Ambrožič, Lavoslava Benčić, Dr. Julian Chollet, Eva Debevc, Leon Dolničar, Tadej Droljc, Andrej Fon, Miha Godec, Jakob Grčman, Ida Hiršenfelder, Sanja Hrvaćanin, Stella Ivšek, Luka Jare, Bor Jarh, Lovrenc Košenina, Martin Krauser, Vesna Krebs, Gregor Krpič, Borut Kumperščak, Denis Lederhas, Lea Lipnik, Junoš Lukan, Taja Oblišar, Tara Pattenden, Jurij Podgoršek, Eva Pondrk, Katarina Radaljac, Anja Romih, Uršek Slivšek, Celeste Sanja Smareglia, Ana Smerdu, Saša Spačal, Kristijan Tkalec, Staš Vrenko, Jaka Waldhütter, Veljko Zejak

Robotics, biotechnology, AI applications—the rapid scientific and technological progress shapes our personal everyday lives, our society, and the global ecosystem. konSPARK Academy for Contemporary Investigative Art places these dynamics at the center and brings together engineers, scientists, and artists to develop shared perspectives on the present and a possible future.

konS≡PARK, a network of “creative hubs” in Slovenia (Ljubljana, Velenje, Nova Gorica, Novo mesto, Maribor), aims to engage a wide and interested audience, particularly the younger generation, in generating new ideas for inclusive and sustainable use of technological tools. Rather than seeking the perfect solution, the focus is on exploration and experimentation. Complex challenges are approached with playful curiosity, leading to innovative approaches in the next step. The network provides a platform for collaborative and interdisciplinary interactions, fostering a culture of creativity and forward-thinking.


Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs / Winner

Masakhane – pioneering participatory approaches to building African language technologies, for Africans, by Africans / Masakhane (INT)

The African continent is home to over 2,000 languages, yet they are scarcely represented in machine translation and communication programs. The after-effects of the colonial past are evident here in the lack of consideration for African languages. This development is  counteracted by the organization Masakhane (isiZulu for “We build together”), which aims to contribute to Natural Language Processing (NLP) research. By focusing on African languages, Masakhane seeks to address the linguistic diversity of the continent and promote inclusive language technologies that empower local communities.

The goal is to make new language technologies accessible to the African continent and thereby achieve sustainable inclusion in significant technological discourses. The starting points for this are community building, participatory research, and multidisciplinary approaches—in line with the project’s title, “for Africans, by Africans.”

Masakhane’s efforts are recognized with the Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs. This award acknowledges the organization’s impactful work in promoting linguistic diversity, technological inclusivity, and empowering African communities through innovative language technologies.


New Animation Art / Golden Nica

Delivery Dancer’s Sphere / Ayoung Kim (KR)

Credit: Written and directed by Ayoung Kim / Produced by Heejung Oh / Assistant director: Chae Yu / Project managers: Junyoung Lee, Yoojin Jang / Delivery riding advisor: Yiseul An / Physics advisor: Mankeun Jeong / Mathematics advisor: Seoyeon Kim / Actors: Seokyung Jang, Soojeong Hwang / Director of photography: Syeyoung Park / Music, sound mixing and mastering: Đ.K. (aka Dang Khoa Chau) / Editing: Hyunji Lee, Ayoung Kim, Chae Yu / VFX and motion graphics: Hyunji Lee / Unity level design: B. Paul Sandoval Lopez, Sanghun Heo / Unity animation: Sanghun Heo / Maya Modeling and Animation: Jaehwan Hwang / Lidar Scanning: Jieun Kim

Image: Courtesy of the Artist / Ayoung Kim (KR)

Artificial Intelligence & Life Art / Golden Nica

Unerasable Characters series / Winnie Soon (HK/UK)

Image: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne / Andrew Curtis

Digital Musics and Sound Art / Golden Nica

A Tale of Two Seeds: Sound and Silence in Latin America’s Andean Plain / Atractor + Semántica Productions (INT)

Image: Courtesy of the Artist atractor + semantica

u19 – create your world / Golden Nica

Verblassende Stimmen / Sonja Höglinger (AT)

Image: Sonja Höglinger

Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity – Winner

Masakhane – pioneering participatory approaches to building African language technologies, for Africans, by Africans / Masakhane (INT)

Image: Masakhane Community