STARTS is an initiative of the European Commission to foster alliances of technology and artistic practice that effectively implement European policymaking to nurture innovation and that benefit the art world as well. The focus is on people and projects that contribute to mastering the social, ecological and economic challenges this continent faces. The STARTS Prize is awarded annually to innovative projects at the interface of art, technology and science that have the potential to contribute to sustainable economic and social innovation. This year ‘s exhibition of selected winner and STARTS projects showcases current best practice approaches for responsible innovation in the fields of environmental commons, ecology, artificial intelligence, digital ownership, policymaking as well as communication and media technologies. The projects shed light on these impressive, wide-ranging roles of the artistic and creative communities and their potential to act as guides through the digital transformation. The exhibition displays stunning artistic-driven innovation in the form of large-scale transnational and multidisciplinary collaborations, community-led digital investigations, artist-tech partnerships and grassroots initiatives.
730 Hours of Violence
Domestic Data Streamers Studio (ES)
730 Hours of Violence is an exhibition that aims to shed light on such complex realities while holding critical discussions with citizens about how we collectively see and relate to new paradigms of violence.
Giulia Foscari (IT), UNLESS
Grand Prize – Developed as a transnational and multidisciplinary collective effort, Antarctic Resolution was launched on occasion of the bicentenary of the first recorded human landing on the continent in the format of a 1000-page volume published by Lars Müller Publishers and authored by the 150 leading world Antarctic experts. The encyclopedic publication focuses on the continent’s unparalleled scientific potential, contemporary geopolitical significance, and extreme inhabitation model.
Holly Herndon (UM), Mathew Dryhurst, Herndon Dryhurst Studio
Grand Prize – Holly+ is Holly Herndon’s digital twin. She is using machine learning to create freely available online instruments and tools that encourage anyone to create art with her AI voice and image, as part of an expansive art and research project experimenting with the economy around her digital likeness.
Hosoo Co., Ltd. (JP) , Yasuaki Kakehi Lab, The University of Tokyo (JP), ZOZO NEXT, Inc. (JP)
Honorary Mention – In its pursuit of beauty for over 1,200 years, with its distinctive structures and design, HOSOO’s Nishijin textiles have a rich history of pushing innovation by incorporating technology. This research project named Ambient Weaving aims to complement this by experimenting with the use of Nishijin textile as a medium for representing characteristics taken from the surrounding ambient environment.
Avatar Robot Cafe DAWN ver.β
Ory Yoshifuji (JP)
Honorary Mention – People can visit the Dawn Avatar Robot Café, where users work and visit via robots. Users can seek employment via the company’s Avatar Guild staffing agency, thus remaining active in society. The goal is to show that with the right tools, even people who have difficulty in moving about freely can do physical labor and customer service from the comfort of their homes via an avatar robot.
Cleaning Emotional Data
Elisa Giardina Papa (IT)
Honorary Mention – Cleaning Emotional Data is a three channel video installation that addresses new forms of precarious labor emerging within artificial intelligence economies. Specifically, it focuses on the global infrastructure of microworkers who “clean” data to train emotion-recognition algorithms. These workers label, categorize, annotate, and validate large amounts of data, thereby enabling AI to function.
Digital Violence: How the NSO Group Enables State Terror
Forensic Architecture (GB)
Honorary Mention – This project maps the use of the malware Pegasus, developed by the Israeli cyber-weapons company NSO Group, against activists, journalists, and human rights defenders worldwide. To elucidate the extent of its reach and impact, we produced a navigable digital platform, video investigations recounting the stories of individuals targeted with Pegasus, a sonic representation of collected data, and a video investigation presenting new research into the web of corporate affiliations within which NSO Group is nested.
The Plant Intelligence Plan
Tianyi Zhang (CN)
Honorary Mention – With ecological relationships as the breakthrough point and based on plant intelligence research, the Plant Intelligence Plan recognizes the initiative and rights of plants. The plan uses biotechnology tools and materials to restore the ecological relationship between commercially bred crops and animals, which human beings have alienated.
Gijs Schalkx (NL)
Honorary Mention – Warum sich auf große Konzerne und ihre Versprechen verlassen, die Welt zu retten, wenn man es selbst tun kann? Der Niederländer Gijs Schalkx hat sich überlegt, wie der Verbrennungsmotor von Fahrzeugen auch in einer Zukunft ohne fossile Brennstoffe weiterexistieren kann.
Libby Heaney (GB)
Nomination – As the first artwork using quantum computing, Ent- is a 360 projection using fantasy and sci-fi to create an emotional, embodied experience. It is a reinterpretation of the central panel of Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights.
The Glass Room: Misinformation Community Edition
Tactical Tech (INT)
Nomination – The Glass Room: Misinformation Community Edition is an interactive community engagement exhibition that invites people to think critically and proactively about their relationship with digital technologies. It is a space to reflect, discuss, and debate how technology impacts our daily lives and how we consume information, focusing on misinformation, political influence, and democracy.
Quorum Sensing: Skin Flora Signal System
Helena Nikonole (TR/RU), Lucy Ojomoko (RU)
Nomination – Quorum Sensing: Skin Flora Signal System project develops DIY approaches for modifying human skin microbiome to produce smells that can be easily detected to self-diagnose or prevent diseases. Moreover, this project connects three kingdoms in a symbiotic relationship, uniting bacteria, plants, and animals (such as humans).
The STARTS Prize has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 956603.