ars electronica 03 .:. code : scandal

ars logoars patternars feet
on thursday afternoon the winners in the categories NET EXCELLENCE and NET VISION gave their presentations.
a few months ago, when this year’s winner’s were first announced on the website aec.at/prix, i had been very surprised about the jury’s choices. so i was quite looking forward to this presentation, maybe things would get explained a bit better here. unfortunately this did not happen. i think more than ever, that it is a scandal who won and why.
arrow golden nica NET EXCELLENCE: sulake labs oy for habbo hotel [google it if you must…]
this is just plain wrong. the biggest scandal of this years ars electronica festival actually…
and i have only started to think about the implications of the jury’s decision and about what is communicated here.
first of all the habbo hotel project is not even that new. the bulk of the shockwave chat environment has been online for almost 3 years and therefore what may have been the innovative part of this project at one point belongs to the past.
and second, what was honoured here is actually primarily a business-model, and as such, i think it should not receive an award from an artistic festival auch as ars electronica. habbo hotel represents a business-model offering answers to the industry’s questions about how to generate a new generation of internet-users, who are willing to pay for internet services and, as in this case, micro-content. habbo hotel’s target audience is now clearly declared as teenagers, who are willing to spend money for status symbols like furniture inside the rooms of habbo hotel. confronted with these questions the habbo hotel representatives at the festival were very unclear and vague in their responses. they were just sort of shruging these vaild reservations off. so that made it even worse.
arrow golden nica NET VISION: yury gitman and carlos j. gomez de llarena for noderunner
this wifi node detection game is an interseting idea as it bridges the online/offline gap in an innovative manner. however the coding is very poor as this page was not even programmed dynamically. during the game one of the members of the group stayed back in the “hq” and updated the position of the players manually. no wonder they only played the game a few times and have long dropped it since. good idea, very poorly implemented. does not deserve a nica at all.
arrow award of distinction NET VISION: david crawford for stop motion studies
whatever. i dont get this. it’s not very good fotography, and it’s not very well animated. the only thing that might be interesting is the algorhythm animating the image sequences. but this is something you have to be told, you wouldn’t see it from the work itself. terrible.
arrow award of distinction NET VISION: golan levin for the secret lives of numbers
sort of a cute idea, but even golan himself admitted that this project has not been very high on his priority list. and it shows …
arrow award of distinction NET EXCELLENCE: james tindall for boards of canada
don’t get me wrong here. boc is my favorite band and this website is quite nice, really meditative and well done. but is not an outstanding website. there are many many like this. hmmm. it’s still the best website of the 6 winners here.
arrow award of distinction NET EXCELLENCE: lia for re:move
there always has to be at least one website with an austrian author among the winners. so there… terrible awful webart!
arrow the weird thing is that some of the other websites, that got an honorable mention, are actually much much better than all of these, supervillainizer.ch, unmovie.net, injunction generator and sinplex.com

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.