Ars Electronica

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Ars Electronica new building under construction, October 2008.

Ars Electronica is an organization based in Linz, Austria, founded in 1979 around a festival for art, technology and society that was part of the International Bruckner Festival. Herbert W. Franke is one of its founders. It became its own festival and a yearly event in 1986. Its director until 1995 was Peter Weibel. Since 1995 Gerfried Stocker has been the artistic director of Ars Electronica. In addition to running the yearly festival, Ars Electronica maintains a media center and museum, the Ars Electronica Center, which opened in 1996 and offers tours and courses and hosts a technology lab. Starting in 1987, the organization also began hosting the Prix Ars Electronica, awarding prizes and generating publicity for outstanding cyberarts innovations. Co-director (together with Christine Schöpf) of the Festival is Austrian artist Gerfried Stocker.

With its specific orientation and the long-standing continuity it has displayed since 1979, Ars Electronica is an internationally unique platform[citation needed] for digital art and media culture consisting of the following four divisions:

  • Ars Electronica – Festival for Art, Technology and Society
  • Prix Ars Electronica – International Competition for CyberArts
  • Ars Electronica Center – Museum of the Future
  • Ars Electronica Futurelab – Laboratory for Future Innovations

Ars Electronica stands for the world’s leading media arts festival, a superlative state-of-the-art museum, and an innovative R&D facility. The Ars Electronica Festival, the Ars Electronica Center – Museum of the Future, and the Ars Electronica Futurelab are big draws that attract visitors, tourists, clients and associates from throughout Upper Austria and around the world.

— a 2003 Ars Electronica press release

Parts of Ars Electronica[edit]

In the real as well as in the virtual world, Ars Electronica consists of several parts:

Ars Electronica Center


Main page: Ars Electronica Center

The "Ars Electronica Center - Museum of the future" is in Linz, Austria. It is the leading museum of digital art and media art.[citation needed] Opened in 1996 and extended in 2009, the center presents computer art on a 6000 square meter area.

The Ars Electronica Center opened in 1996 as a prototype of a “Museum of the Future.” Its mission is to utilize interactive forms of mediation to facilitate the general public’s encounter with virtual reality, digital networks and modern media. A focus on issues at the interface of media art, new technologies and social developments characterize the Center’s innovative exhibitions. Beyond this, the Ars Electronica Center is the permanent base and thus the organizational foundation of Ars Electronica’s regional and international activities.


Futurelab is an interdisciplinary research project reuniting art, technology and society. It is a model of a new kind of media art laboratory in which artistic and technological innovations engender reciprocal inspiration. The lab’s teams bring together a wide variety of specialized skills; their approach is characterized by interdisciplinarity and international networking. The Futurelab’s wide-ranging activities include designing and engineering exhibitions, creating artistic installations, as well as pursuing collaborative research with universities and joint ventures with private sector associates. The FutureLab is directed by Horst Hörtner.

Entrance of the Brucknerhaus during the Ars Electronica Festival 2008


Chronologically the festival was the starting point of Ars Electronica in 1979. It is the most important festival of digital art world wide.[citation needed] The festival is conducted under a different motto each year. The essence of the internationally renowned Ars Electronica Festival is interdisciplinarity and an open encounter of international experts from the arts and sciences with a broad audience of highly diverse backgrounds and interests. Annually since 1979, the Festival has featured a lineup of symposia, exhibitions, performances and events designed to further an artistic and scientific confrontation with the social and cultural phenomena that are the consequences of technological change.

The years from 1979 to 1986 are untitled.

  • 1987 Free Sound
  • 1988 The Art of Scene
  • 1989 In the Network of Systems
  • 1990 Digital Dreams - Virtual Worlds
  • 1991 Out of Control
  • 1992 Endo & Nano - The World From Within
  • 1993 Genetic Art - Artificial Life
  • 1994 Intelligent Environment
  • 1995 Welcome to the Wired World - Mythos Information
  • 1996 Memesis - The Future of Evolution
  • 1997 FleshFactor - Informationsmaschine Mensch
  • 1998 Infowar - information.macht.krieg
  • 1999 LifeScience
  • 2000 NEXT SEX - Sex in the Age of its Procreative Superfluousness
  • 2001 Takeover - Who's doing the art of tomorrow
  • 2002 Unplugged - Art as the Scene of Global Conflicts
  • 2003 Code - The Language of Out Time
  • 2004 Timeshift - The World in 25 Years
  • 2005 HYBRID - Living in a paradox
  • 2006 SIMPLICITY - The art of complexity
  • 2007 GOODBYE PRIVACY – Welcome to the Brave New
  • 2008 A NEW CULTURAL ECONOMY – The Limits of Intellectual Property
  • 2009 HUMAN NATURE - The Anthropocene
  • 2010 REPAIR - ready to pull the lifeline
  • 2011 Origin - How It All Begins
  • 2012 The Big Picture - Weltbilder für die Zukunft
  • 2013 Total Recall - The Evolution of Memory


Winners of the Prix Ars Electronica 2008

The Prix Ars Electronica is often called the Oscar of computer art. As the world’s premier cyberarts competition[citation needed], the Prix Ars Electronica has been a forum for artistic creativity and innovation since 1987. It is the trend barometer in an ever-expanding and increasingly diversified world of media art. Thanks to its annual recurrence, its international scope and the incredible variety of the works submitted for prize consideration, the enormous Prix Ars Electronica Archive provides a detailed look at the development of media art and a feel for its openness and diversity. In 2004 Wikipedia was awarded a Golden Nica in the category "Digital Communities".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°18′35.9″N 14°17′2.29″E / 48.309972°N 14.2839694°E / 48.309972; 14.2839694