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Festival: Golden Nica Ars Electronica 2018

Text by CLOT Magazine

Ars Electronica Festival once again brings creative, innovative minds to Austria for the 2018 Prix awards under the theme Error- the art of imperfection. Ars Electronica offers compelling snapshots of codependent technological and artistic development with expansive and lasting social and cultural impacts [1].

The festival was born in 1979 with the premise of providing room for experimentation, evaluation and reinvention. Each September, lectures, exhibitions and workshops that interlink art, technology and science attract many participants to the festival in Linz, Austria. The Prix is annually awarded honouring creativity and innovativeness in using digital media under several categories, and the winners’ work is showcased in the festival.

This year’s theme, Error, is accompanied by the colour YInMn blue, which is the first new discovery of a pigment of the blue since cobalt blue in the 19th century [2]. Mas Subramanian and his team yielded an unexpected result by researching manganese oxide’s magnetic and electric properties. The 2018 Festival will focus on mistakes that could lead to a catastrophe or a breakthrough.

What makes an error become a failure or an invention? Is error a mistake or a deviation from the norm?  The artistic director of Ars Electronica, Gerfried Stocker, argues that error being an unexpected result is not necessarily a disaster, and the way to avoid being prejudiced about the unexpected is to introduce the term ‘tolerance’ to our language. Stocker: ‘Error and tolerance are twins, siblings. Tolerance is necessary to unfold the error’s productive power [3].

The winners of the 2018 contest, all impressive and inspiring, show elements of the philosophy of Ars Electronica: technical developments have social and cultural consequences. Digital Communities Golden Nica went to; a website that allows citizen journalism.

In the portal, topics are investigated using open source and social media, bringing together contributors who specialise in these. also provides guides for anyone who wants to learn and be part of its network. Many more cutting-edge projects will be displayed in September 2018, satisfying our thirst for new and unique ideas.

[1] Trent Nathaniel Grover (2008), Dream of the Techno-Shaman, Appendix A (“Ars Electronica: Towards the Integration of Art, Technology, and Society”), pp. 53-68 
[2] Schonbrun, Zach. “The Quest for the Next Billion-Dollar Color”. 

(All photos courtesy of Ars Electronica. Photo credit: BitSoil Popup Tax & Hack Campaign: LarbitsSisters (BE) / larbitslab)
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