SymbioticA - the art and science collaborative research laboratory at The University of Western Australia - has won the Golden Nica for Hybrid Art as part of the international Prix Ars Electronica 2007 awards - one of the most important awards for creativity and pioneering activities in the field of digital media.
An international jury chose SymbioticA from more than 400 entrants as the organisation that epitomised a space that transgresses boundaries and disciplines, describing it as an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning and critique of life sciences. It is the first research laboratory of its kind, in that it enables artists to engage in wet biology practices in a biological science department - UWA’s School of Anatomy and Human Biology.
SymbioticA was established at UWA in 2000 by cell biologist Professor Miranda Grounds, neuroscientist Professor Stuart Bunt and artist Oron Catts. Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr from the Tissue Culture and Art Project (TC&A) had been working as artists/researchers in residence in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology and the Lions Eye Institute since 1996.
Their shared vision for a permanent space for artists to engage with science in various capacities led to the building of the artists’ studio/laboratory on the second floor of the School of Anatomy and Human Biology. Lotterywest and UWA provided funds for the SymbioticA research space.
Since 1987, the Prix Ars Electronica has served as an interdisciplinary platform for everyone who uses the computer as a universal medium for implementing and designing their creative projects at the interface of art, technology and society.
The 2007 Prix Ars Electronica invited submissions in a total of eight categories that reflect the growing diversification of digital media art as well as the ongoing development of the Prix Ars Electronica. Two new categories - Hybrid Art and Media.Art.Research - increased the number of applications significantly. This year's 3,374 entries from 63 countries established a new Prix Ars Electronica record for submissions.
The inclusion of Hybrid Art into the award genres is to acknowledge and focus on hybrid and transdisciplinary projects. The essential element is the blending and interweaving of different media and genres into new forms of artistic expression.
SymbioticA was established to provide a situation where interdisciplinary research and other knowledge and concept generating activities can take place. SymbioticA offers a new means of artistic inquiry, one in which artists actively use the tools and technologies of science - not just to comment about them - but also to explore their possibilities. It also provides an opportunity for researchers to pursue curiosity-based explorations free of the demands and constraints associated with the current culture of scientific research while still complying with regulations.
SymbioticA represents an outstanding example of how an artistic research community effectively identifies new fields of engagement towards systemically meaningful art forms.
The official awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Ars Electronica Gala on September 7, 2007.
SymbioticA will produce a biological art exhibition at the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth (BEAP) from September 15 to 24, 2007, at The Bakery ARTRAGE complex.
The exhibition is curated by Jens Hauser and includes Beatriz da Costa, Orlan, Critical Art Ensemble, Verena Kaminiarz, Tissue Culture and Art Project, Paul Vanouse, Chandrasekaran, Zbigniew Oksiuta, Art Orient Objet and Brandon Balengee. Oksiuta was awarded the Hybrid Art award of distinction and Vanouse and da Costa were given honorary mentions as part of the Hybrid section of this year’s Prix Ars Electronica.
For more information about the awards go to: http://www.aec.at/en/global/press_detail.asp?iPressID=214&iAreaID=5
Jane Coakley 61 8 6488 7116