6 Questions for Ars Electronica’s Gerfried Stocker on Merging Art With Technology Solutions to Drive Social Transformations, Artnet [13/2/2023]Marilena Pateraki
The S+T+Arts Prize, open to submissions through March 3, 2023, highlights collaboration across disciplines and the next generation of media.
The intersection of science, technology, and art has become an increasingly rich site of exploration in the wake of the digital revolution—an inquiry that S+T+Arts, an initiative of the European Commission, has been leading. Falling under the umbrella of Ars Electronica—an educational and scientific institute and platform dedicated to art, technology, and society—the initiative is perhaps most well-known for its annual competition, the S+T+Arts Prize. The prize, which honors projects that highlight innovation within technology, industry, and society while being arts-driven, commenced their open call last month.
Beyond this prestigious award, however, S+T+Arts has a wide-ranging mission that “explores the collaborative potential between science, technology, and the arts,” and encompasses everything from artist residencies to outposts across 11 EU countries.
We reached out to Gerfried Stocker, the artistic director of Ars Electronica and founder of FutureLab, the in-house research and development branch, to learn more about S+T+Arts and its projects.
Since joining Ars Electronica in 1995, what are the most significant changes or developments you’ve noticed over the decades?
When we talk about the “digital revolution,” we could refer to different dimensions: technological, cultural, or social. Two key points that combined all three are 2007, when the iPhone reached the market, and 1989, when the conception of the world wide web (WWW) was formed. Technology and its possibilities were opened to a mass audience. What is a revolution if not something the masses are jumping into?
The invention of the WWW provided a wider audience a window into the digital world. Around the same time, Ars Electronica Center was envisioned, and later opened in 1996. It marked an important twist from being mainly an arts-driven festival for a small community to an educational institution as well. It was conceived not as an art museum to exhibit digital art from the festival, but as a complementary institution that would utilize the energies and excitement that artistic experiments with technology could bring to the need of communication, education, and training of a larger audience.