REVIEW: furtherfield – Open Access

Complete review

[review excerpt ]

In general terms, the award categories at media art festivals have been subject to change as the creative uses of technology evolved during the last decades. The FILE PRIX LUX has the advantage of being created at a time in which it can be relatively safe to set up a few broad categories that cover most of the forms of combining art and technology. Only three categories have been established: Interactive Art (which usually refers to objects and installations that respond to inputs from the viewer/s), Digital Language (related to the festival’s title and which embraces any artwork that deals with language, narrative, code or text in a generative or interactive manner) and Electronic Sonority (the category assigned to any artwork in which the production or manipulation of sound is a key element). These three categories prove to be comprehensive, as shown by the diversity of the projects distinguished with a prize or an honorary mention: immersive interactive installations, musical performances, urban interventions, bioart pieces, a collectively created machinima movie and even an iPhone app are among this year’s FILE PRIX LUX awardees.

In the Interactive Art category, the winners are Ernesto Klar for Relational Lights (1st prize) and Kurt Henschläger for Zee (2nd prize). Both present immersive environments in which light and space are key elements, although the interaction is totally different. Klar’s work invites the viewer to interact with two projected geometric drawings inspired by the work of Lygia Clark. In a hazy dark room, the viewer sees two T-shaped projections of white light on the ground, which form a three-dimensional space which reacts to the visitor’s presence. The interaction is playful and really beautiful in its simplicity, whilst also limited in time: after a few minutes, the projections suddenly stop reacting to the user’s movements and reconfigure themselves in a new shape. This abrupt interruption is consciously introduced by the artist in order to remind the viewer that the artwork has a life of its own. In contrast, Henschläger’s Zee takes place mostly in the mind of an audience exposed to an overdose of audiovisual stimuli in a foggy room. Continuing the experience of his acclaimed performance FEED, this time the artist allows the viewer to walk around the space and have a more meditative sensory experience.

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