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Foundation Liedts-Meesen announces awards

On the occasion of the fourth biennale for contemporary technological art in Zebrastraat-Gent, iMAL/ La Cambre-Brussels in Belgium, the New Technological Art Award of the Liedts-Meesen Foundation goes to the work Nihil Ex Nihilo by Felix Sanchez Luque. The public awards go ex aequo to Wim Janssen with Static and Julijonas Urbonas for Euthanasia Coaster. These artists were selected from 337 entries from 40 different countries worldwide by an international jury consisting of Jean-Marie Dallet (Professor and Commissioner of Update I), Alain Liedts (Chairman of the Liedts-Meesen Foundation), Dirk De Wit (Director of BAM, Flemish Institute for visual, audiovisual and media art), Stef Van Bellingen (Consultant for Zebrastraat; artistic leader of VZW Warp), Nick Ervinck (artist, winner of the Update_2 public award), Julien Maire (artist, winner of the Update_2 jury’s award), Yves Bernard (founder of the art organisation iMAL) and Pierre-Yves Desaive (Professor at La Cambre, art critic for Flash Art, L’Art Même, art historian KMSKB-MRBAB).

Update_4: Prize of the Jury
Nihil ex Nihilo by Felix Luque (SP) is the winner elected by the Jury of the 2012 NTAA. With this work, Felix Luque continues his exploration around machine intelligence and themes typical of science fiction that he started with his previous installation Chapter 1 – The Discovery. He develops an original formal expression, hybrid between installation and narration, where the visitor is invited to progress through a succession of spaces. The work plays with many modes of expression, from audiovisual, sculptural, computational to narrative ones. It is a complex but relevant integration of techniques (3D animation, text to speech, AI, electronic, network processes, digital manufacturing) to raise issues about the nature of intelligence and the fate of intelligent creatures.

Update_4: ex aequo public prizes
Julijonas Urbonas: Euthanasia Coaster
The Lithuanian artist Julijonas Urbonas could expect that there would be some reaction to his design, but not to that spectacular extent: at peak times his website had over 20,000 hits per day, for a scale model of a roller coaster. Euthanasia Coaster is a (minutely calculated, real and feasible) design of a roller coaster in which people can put an end to their life with “elegance and euphoria.” The contemporary problem of overpopulation, suicide and euthanasia which divides our society is at the basis of this design. The artist does not make any ethical judgment, for or against, but through the aesthetics he examined the possible conditions which, through the kick of g-forces and euphoric moments, one could arrive in the afterlife. Euthanasia Coaster seems a radical consequence of our entertainment society that needs existential reflection.

Wim Janssen: Static
Wim Janssen studied experimental film and video at the Sint-Lukas in Brussels. Static is a spatial installation in which, using simple means, the phenomenon of noise or a snowy image on a television is visualized. We know this phenomenon when, by the distance, a fading or loss of signal occurs. Using tiny plexi plates, the precise placement in space, movement, rotation, the light angle and polarization, Janssen recreates this remarkable artifact of technology. Not only the iconic image itself, but also the manual way it is obtained, makes a fierce impression on the visitors.

Colloquium ‘Immortal’
Following the exhibition Update_4 in Zebrastraat in Ghent, the art school La Cambre and iMAL in Brussels, a colloquium was organized around the theme “immortal” in art. Museum directors, restaurateurs, philosophers, artists and scientists reflected on the physical and symbolic survival of artworks and more specifically computer-related or technological art. It is clear that the traditional paradigms concerning preservation and conservation are under pressure. This raises new questions about what can and should be preserved. Through the realization of ‘scores,’ which act as guides, it becomes possible to reproduce an artwork, and consequently the concept of authenticity gets a new interpretation. The results of this three-day colloquium will be processed into an online publication with text and video recording that will soon be freely available.

Zebrastraat 32/001
9000 Ghent, Belgium