IDSA and Ars Electronica launch FOUNDING LAB

With the launch of the FOUNDING LAB, the Institute of Digital Sciences Austria (IDSA) and Ars Electronica are now initiating a prototypical laboratory that will focus on exploring new forms of artistic and scientific approaches to the digital transformation from August 2023. It is kicked off with two Open Calls.

(Linz, 13.6.2023) The FOUNDING LAB tests new strategies for knowledge creation in the field of digital transformation that will shape the future of nature, technology, and humanity. The Ars Electronica Festival will serve as the initial platform for the FOUNDING LAB. On the one hand, it will open up exchange with experts from various disciplines, countries, and cultures, and on the other hand, it will open up dialogue with a broad public.

The FOUNDING LAB is an important component of the kick-off of the Institute of Digital Sciences Austria (IDSA). The focus is on questioning and testing various aspects of the digital transformation, such as the coexistence of robots and humans and the integration of artificial intelligence into our everyday lives. Furthermore, innovative formats, methods and strategies of teaching and learning, which are to be established at the IDSA as a pioneering university, are being developed.

“The goal of the cooperation between IDSA and Ars Electronica is to address students on a global level, whose educational focus has not yet been devoted to the topics of digitization or digital transformation,” says Claudia von der Linden, Chair of the IDSA Founding Convention, explaining the objective of the FOUNDING LAB. Gerfried Stocker, Artistic Director of Ars Electronica, adds: “With the FOUNDING LAB, we want to outline the basic features of university teaching and research in the 21st century with young committed people and internationally renowned experts.

The core topics developed in the FOUNDING LAB will lay the foundation for the further development of research priorities at IDSA in a transdisciplinary approach, which will link Upper Austria as a location for research, development and business even more closely with international markets.

FOUNDING LAB Summer School / Forum / Fall Term

The FOUNDING LAB has three formats that are closely linked both time-wise and content-wise: the Summer School (August 23 to September 13, 2023), the Forum (September 6 to 10, 2023), and the Fall Term (October 2023 to January 2024). All formats are aimed at PhD and Master students as well as Fellows, i.e. scientists, artists, designers, and developers who want to shape the future of digital transformation together.

The FOUNDING LAB is one of the building blocks of the IDSA fall program, which will include other dialogue formats as well: a series of lectures, for an exchange with the community, and workshops with other teaching and research institutions, as well as with industry, to determine upcoming research activities.

Who Owns the Truth about …?

With “Who Owns the Truth?” the 2023 Ars Electronica Festival for Art, Technology and Society will bring central questions about the transition from the automation of machines to the autonomization of knowledge and content generation to the foreground. At issue are the power of interpretation and sovereignty, the concepts of “genuine” and “original,” the definition of (intellectual) property and the right to its utilization. Based on the artistic, sociopolitical and philosophical consideration of these questions that is typical of Ars Electronica, the students at the Summer School will be working on them to determine where we stand: What is the structural and systemic status quo in terms of society, nature and technology, and what does this mean for a new university that is to be founded and that focuses on the digital transformation?

The students will then present their findings at the start of the FOUNDING LAB Forum, which is directly anchored in the Ars Electronica Festival. Then, together with the “Fellows,” they will discuss the scientific methods, disciplines, didactic methods, and technological tools that are needed for a contemporary analysis of and sustained involvement in shaping the digital transformation by a future-oriented university.

Summer School and Forum prepare the ground for the Fall Term. Starting in October 2023, students will be taught in the FOUNDING LAB seminar program and work together with the “Fellows” on the topics Infrastructure; Data & Code; Machines, Robots & Tangibles; Interfaces & Virtual Worlds; Media and Digital Society & Policy. The results will be presented to the public in January 2024.

Two Open Calls to kick off

The FOUNDING LAB is open to anyone who submits to the Open Calls to from now until July 3, 2023, and who meets the eligibility criteria. In early July, IDSA and Ars Electronica will select 75 students and 15 Fellows who will be invited to Linz.

Information: Ars Electronica and IDSA

Ars Electronica – Kunst, Technologie und Gesellschaft

Ars Electronica has been accompanying the digital transformation since 1979. The focus is never on technological progress per se, but on the question of its political, social, ecological, and economic impact on us as individuals and on our society. Embedded in a worldwide network of artists, scientists, developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and activists, Ars Electronica drives this research forward in and with as broad a public as possible. Whether through exhibitions, conferences, concerts, performances, interventions or innovative educational formats, the goal is to initiate a discourse and thus promote inclusive and sustainable visions of the future.

Institute for Digital Science Austria (IDSA)

The IDSA was founded in October 2022 and is dedicated to research and teaching in all dimensions of digitization and its transformative impact on science, art, society, and business. The university is based on interdisciplinarity and inter-university collaboration. The target group is students interested in the interplay of technical, natural science, economics, law, social science, humanities and cultural studies, and artistic disciplines.

Further questions to:

Ars Electronica

Christopher Sonnleitner / Head of Communications Ars Electronica
Tel. +43.664.8126.156 /


Mag. Katharina Feiertag / Tel: +43.664.608.734.065 /


Credit: Ars Electronica