Andreas Broeckmann on Tue, 1 Jun 1999 15:44:29 +0100

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Syndicate: MMirapaul: Prix Ars .net for Linux

Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 09:05:57 EDT

          June 1, 1999

Linux Takes Prize - In an Art Competition


               One of the top prizes in a prestigious electronic-art
competition has been given to a deliberately unusual choice: the Linux
computer operating system.

          Linux received the highest honor in the ".net" category of the
Prix Ars Electronica, beating out a number of more typical examples of
digital artistry. The results were announced Friday by the Austrian
Broadcasting Company, which organizes the annual "cyberarts" competition.

          In a statement on the contest's Web site, jurors
          explained that their decision was meant to show
          that "the '.net' category is not a prize for the
          most beautiful or most interesting home page on
          the World Wide Web... It is also intended to
          spark a discussion about whether a source code
          itself can be an artwork."

          Derrick de Kerckhove, director of the McLuhan Program in Culture
and Technology at the University of Toronto, served as a judge for the
".net" category. He said the decision was intended to send a message,
especially to electronic artists, that "the real material of the Web is the
code." He said the selection also emphasized the Internet's essential
ability to establish online communities "with endless creative
possibilities. Art left to its own devices can be a crashing bore."

          The source code for the Linux operating system, which acts as a
computer's primary control program much like Windows98 or Unix, was built
by volunteers collaborating online, and it remains freely accessible.
According to the jurors' statement, "Linux could only have been
created in this form on and with the Internet."

But should an operating system get picked as the winner of a cyber-art

                                     Andreas Broeckmann, a cultural
                                     historian who served on last year's
                                     ".net" jury, said, "The Prix Ars is not
                                     so much about art as it is about the
                                     creative conjunction of technology
          and human creativity."

          He continued, "Without doubt, there is a political dimension in
awarding the prize to an operating system that is non-commercial. But the
prize also recognizes some of the crucial aspects that characterize a good
piece of networked art" (such as being truly interactive).

          Robbin Murphy, a New York artist and co-founder of the artnetweb
site, said: "They should have given it [the prize] to the Net movement that
made Linux viable. But that's hard to classify, and who gets to take home
the award money? Why not just give it to the Net itself and send the money
to the Kosovo refugees?"

          Linux is named for Linus Torvalds, the Finnish
          programmer who launched the development
          effort in 1991. He will receive a cash award of
          $8,620, as well as a Golden Nica statuette.
          Torvalds did not immediately reply to an
          interview request.

          Prizes also were announced for interactive art,
          digital music, computer animation and visual
          effects, and a "freestyle" category open only to
          youths. As with the runners-up in the ".net"
          category, the winners were more conventionally
          arts-oriented. For example, the special-effects team for the film
"What Dreams May Come," in which paintings come to life onscreen, earned
the top visual-effects award.

          The winners, who will receive a total of $116,000, were selected
from more than 2,000 entries. They will be honored at an awards ceremony
during the Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria, in September.

          Matthew Mirapaul at welcomes your comments
and suggestions.

Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company

------Syndicate mailinglist--------------------
 Syndicate network for media culture and media art
 information and archive:
 to unsubscribe, write to <>
 in the body of the msg: unsubscribe your@email.adress