Laurent Mignonneau & Christa Sommerer


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Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau are internationally renowned media artists, researchers and pioneers of interactive art. They worked 10 years in Japan as Associate Professors at the IAMAS Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in Gifu, Japan and as Researchers and Artistic Directors at the ATR Advanced Telecommunications Research Lab in Kyoto Japan. Before they were artists-in residence at the MIT CAVS in Cambridge US, artists-in-residence at the NCSA National Center for Supercomputing Applications Beckmann Institute in Champaign Urbana, IL, USA and artists-in-residence at the NTT-InterCommunication Center in Tokyo. In 2004 they set up the department for Interface Cultures at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria where they are both professors.

Sommerer held positions a Visiting Professor at CAFA Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing in 2019, as Visiting Professor at the Empowerment Informatics Program at Tsukuba University in 2018 and as Obel Guest Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark from 2014-2016. Mignonneau was a Chair International Professor at Paris 8 University in France in 2015.

Sommerer and Mignonneau have published numerous books and research papers on Artificial Life, interactivity and interface design and they lectured extensively at universities, international conferences, and symposia. Sommerer is also an International Co-editor for the LEONARDO Journal, MIT Press, among other international media art board and committee memberships.

Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau created around 50 pioneering interactive artworks that have been exhibited in around 350 international exhibitions They received numerous awards, f.e. the 2016 ARCO BEEP Award in Madrid Spain, the 2012 Wu Guanzhong Art and Science Innovation Award which was bestowed by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China and the 1994 Golden Nica Prix Ars Electronica Award and in 2021 the Austrian State Art Award in the category of Media Art. They created pioneering interactive artworks such as "Interactive Plant Growing" in 1992 where visitors can interact with real plants to create artificial plants on a screen (From the ZKM Collection: and Another highlight is the interactive Installation "A-Volve" in 1994 where visitors can create Artificial Life creatures that swim, mate and propagate in a pool filled with water.

In 2010 Sommerer and Mignonneau became interested in the attention economy and created a work called "The Value of Art". Visitors can look at paintings and 10 seconds of their attention increases the value of the artwork by one Euro. The constantly increasing value of the art work is printed on a thermal printed attached to the art work.They also have been interested in digital portraiture and created interactive installations such as "Portrait on the Fly" (2015). Here visitors can produce their own live portrait through a swarm of 10.000 flies or through artificial ants in "Homo Insectus" (2020) Sommerer and Mignonneau have also created several large scale public installations such as "ANTopolis" (2020) where people and passerby in the city could see themselves transformed by virtual ants on a gigantic screen. Sommerer and Mignonneau artworks are mostly concerned with interactivity, the human-nature relationship and ecological topics.

Dr. Christa Sommerer and Dr. Laurent Mignonneau
Professor for Interface Culture
Institute for Media
University of Art and Design Linz
4020, Linz, Austria

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