People, 1. -  3. October 1998
Gerfried Stocker
Biography: Gerfried Stocker (A), born 1964, is graduate of the Institute for Telecommunication Engineering and Electronics in Graz. Since 1990, he has been working as an independent artist. In 1991, he founded x-space, a team for the realization of interdisciplinary projects. In this framework numerous installations and performance projects have been carrried out in the field of interaction, robotics and telecommunication. Stocker was also responsible for the concept of various radio and network projects and the organization of the worldwide radio and network project Horizontal Radio. 1992/93 he was responsible for the programm of Steirische Kulturinitiative". Since 1995 Stocker has been the artistic director of the Ars Electronica Festival and the managing director of the Ars Electronica Center Linz.
Institution: Art in the Ars Electronica Center - Museum of the Future

The Ars Electronica Center in Linz was opened in Autumn, 1996. It continues to be the only center for art and digital media in Europe. It was conceived by its founders as an interface of art, technology and society; imparting future-oriented strategies in dealing with the present has become a key element of its mission.

Museum of the Future // Itself a product of artistic creativity, the Center's complex-as a museum of the future-does not serve primarily as a venue for the presentation of works of art; rather, organizing and producing works of art and fostering exposure to them occupy the focus of its efforts. Production and presentation-in conjunction with the Research and Residence Program, for instance-are based upon the Center making available its technological and spatial infrastructure as well as the aesthetic and engineering capabilities of its staff. At the same time, internationally relevant artistic and scientific events such as exhibitions, seminars, colloquia and speeches are presented throughout the year.

Magnetic Field // The Ars Electronica Center is determined to develop a type of magnetic field to attract to Linz creative individuals who possess curiosity and enjoy experimentation. This pool of innovative and committed human beings is precisely that potential which confers such enormous prestige upon the Center-and which is also enjoyed by the Ars Electronica Festival as an internationally-acclaimed pioneer in the field of digital art.

Second Fiddle // The Ars Electronica Center does not see itself merely as an artistic retail outlet, in the sense of a subsidiary affiliate which makes the output of artists available to its potential consumers-that would specify the function of a run-of-the-mill museum implementing a retrospective concept of art. The Ars Electronica Center is, to a much greater extent, a branch in the functional sense-a place where art itself undergoes ramification, ceasing to resemble an element in a diametrical opposition such as that of an object to a subject, and becoming participatory and processual. Examples of this are Ken Goldberg's TeleGarden, an actual garden in the museum, the blooming of which is contingent upon activities related to its parallel existence in cyberspace, and The Great Clone Party, a WWW and network event initiated by Beusch/Cassani for the Ars Electronica Festival 97, FleshFactor.

Ars Electronica FutureLab - Project in Progress//The FutureLab is the best-equipped lab/studio in Austria, focusing on Virtual Reality, the World Wide Web, 3-D animation, 2-D graphic design and software development. It has openend up a whole new field of activity and work to artistic engineering capabilities.

Laboratory/Studio// Integrated into the operational structures of the Ars Electronica Center, The FutureLab fulfills a number of functions including the development of new museum exhibits and the ongoing enhancement of those already in place. It also provides the infrastructural basis for the Research and Residence Program and its Disk Residence branch. In cooperation with a diverse array of commisioning clients, the Lab is engaged in the development of media-specific applications in fields ranging from urban planning to neurology. At the moment up to 35 people, linked with universities, companies and research institutes work on more than 40 projects.

Servicestation//Research and Residence makes its infrastructure and personnel available to support the work of artsits, scientists and researchers. Due to the extremely high level of technical expertise on the part of the program's guests, this support is, as a rule, concentrated upon very specific problems and issues.

Collaborations//On the other hand, collaboration with Ars Electronica partners and/or sponsors presupposes research undertakings. Depending upon the specified objectives, contact is established with appropriate institutions such as university departments or private firms in order to set up an optimal working envirmonment. The project is then carried out - eschewing tried-and-tested procedures and problem-solving strategies, employing instead the natural methods of trial-and-error. Because nothing truly significant can be pulled off without breaking new ground. If, for example, the asignment has to do with collecting data on a possible improvemnt of the quality of life in a neighborhood adjacent to an urban expressway, then this might be from the paticular point of view that, in conjuction with the project's visualizations, acoustic model could also be calculated so that, in conjunction with the project's visulizations, acoustic models could also be calculated so that results could be expierenced audibly.

Virtual Reality//In the domain of Virtual Reality, the Ars Electronica FutureLab is primarily involved in producing stereographic, real-time graphic applications such as those for the CAVE TM and ImersaDesk TM (I-desk), as these are presented in the context of the Festival. Due to the enormous diversity of the challenges the Lab faces, the composition of its working groups changes frequently. Artists are by no means forced into an overspecialized rut; neither aesthetic nor engineering capabilities are given short shrift, regardless of the project category.

Prix Ars Electronica - Platform for International Computer Art One main part of Ars Electronica is the Prix Ars Electronica which has been organized since 1987 by the ORF. Awards totaling 1.35 million Schillings donated by Siemens Nixdorf make it one of the world's highest-endowed Cyberart competitions. In 1998, 1.690 artists, scientests and experts from the entertainment industry have submitted their work in the competition's four categories: music, ineractive art, animation/visual effects and .net. The selected works which will be presented at the festival and thus provide a glimpse into the current state-of-the-art in digital media. Debuting in 1998 is a new category - freestyle computing - which the ORF has opended to young people unter 19 in Austria. The response to this competition, sponsored by the PSK, has been tremendous - 541 submissions impressively demonstrate the creativity of cyberkids.

Ars Electronica Center, Linz, A
panel 2 debate 1