Media Art as a Social Process - the Prix Ars Electronica Jury Sessions
Speaker: Dietmar Offenhuber, MIT. Moderator: Nick Seaver, MIT. Abstract: This paper investigates the social structures of annual jury sessions of a prestigious art competition ‚Äìtheir composition, their temporal evolution and ultimately their decisions. The visual analysis has been carried out as part of an interdisciplinary research project analyzing the archives of Ars Electronica - one of the oldest and biggest media art festivals, held since 1979. As the relatively young field of media art matures and catches the attention of art historians, the question emerges how the development of the field is reflected in the social structures of the involved protagonists: the artists and the jurors. While the structure of the jury process has changed little over the years, the temporal dimension is very interesting ‚Äì the juries are filled with new faces each year, but also the categories (such as interactive art, net art, computer music or animation) are subject to constant change: some categories are retired or programmatically redefined while new ones are introduced. The analysis investigates three different structures: first, the cojurorships network across the different categories; second, the network of the awarded artists. Finally, since many awarded artists serve as jurors in following years, the interaction between the two networks is examined. The resulting visualizations not only reveal the structural roles of individuals in the jury process over the years, but also reflect the evolution of the field, its various sub genres and the interaction among them. Based on publicly available data, the results show a surprisingly multifaceted and detailed picture of the advancement of a dynamic field.