European artists Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, participants in NCSA's Fine and Applied Art Visitors Program for the 1993-94 academic year, recently traveled to the Ars Electronica Festival at Linz, Austria, to receive the distinguished Prix Ars Electronica 94 Golden Nica in Interactive Art. Their award-winning work, A-Volve, was developed during their association with NCSA. For it, they won $16,000 (U.S.).
Viewers of Sommerer and Mignonneau's artwork interact with virtual creatures in a water-filled glass pool as they design shapes and profiles on a computer monitor with a sensor pencil. Algorithms developed by Sommerer and Mignnoneau ensure that the creatures "swim" smoothly.
Ars Electronica, Europe's largest festival of art and technology, is a yearly competition that awards prizes in four categories: animation, graphics (images), music, and interactive art. This year there were a record number of 1,584 entries from 38 countries. The competition, ongoing since 1987, was organized by Austrian Telvision, endowed by the Kapsch Co., and sponsored by the City of Linz and the Province of Upper Austria.
SIGGRAPH 93 was the locale of the first U.S. showing of the artists' work. Previous joint exhibitions were in Austria, France, and Canada. In February 1994, they were invited to participate in Imagina 1994 at Monaco and show Interactive Plant Growing.
Early in July, the artists left for Tokyo to develop an interactive art project for Nippon Telephone & Telecommunications (NTT), which will be shown at NTT's InterCommunications Center, a museum of art and technology scheduled for opening in 1996. Bon voyage!