Alvar C.H. Freude on Sat, 29 Apr 2000 09:16:00 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Prix Ars for the arse? Open letter to the .net jury members 2000

The Prix Ars Electronica 2000 in the category .net goes to a
Science-Fiction Writer. Strange world. Who should understand this?

But let's start my comments with some other facts:

The jury meeting was announced to be on April 14 - 16, 2000 (see But it happened the weekend
before. You can imagine, that the most artists are working until the
deadline ...

It seems that the jury doesn't know their own rules.

Quote from 
 "This category is open to all artistic-cultural 
  Internet activities, including Web sites, MUDs, 
  MOOs, online games, etc. The determining factor 
  is that the work has been conceived/realized 
  exclusively for the Internet."

There are two winners who doesn't fit into this: The winner of the
Golden Nica, Neal Stephenson, didn't won the price for any net project,
he won for his books. The second price goes to ”TeleZone”, a project
which includes an installation. But on is written:

 "If the content of the work is linked to an 
  additional interface, e.g. an installation, 
  please enter it in the category for Interactive 

Additional, it is interesting that the Prix Ars Electronica is awarded
this project, which is one the of the Ars Electronica Center' projects

hm, hmmm!

But back to the jury's rash decision. That the jurors said the entries
were disappointing in terms of both quantity and quality is a knock fear
in the face of all artists, who worked a lot of months on their
projects. It is possible, that the jury didn't understand at least some
of the works? is not (or at least shold not) like a TV!

Let's have a look on some of the honoured works:

Electrica on doesn't exist!

 Server:  localhost
 *** localhost can't find Non-existent host/domain

oh oh, oh no!

Nothing to say against the content, but it seems that the jury was so
enthusiastic of the nice top menu created with the SiteBrain Wizard
( Next year I collect all of the most cool,
most beautiful and free tools for creating a website's navigation,
collect some texts and win the prix ars? Perhaps with this the jury is
satisfied. Stupid.
oh no part II!

Is the Prixars mutanting to an award for the most beautiful Flash site?

”The Exquisite Corps” 

A community writing work like a lot of others since the last seven
years, with the exception that there are no hot'n'cool Flash graphics

It is noticeable that all honoured works are made with lots of graphics
and animations, most of them are using Flash. But where are the contents
and concepts? "Community forming, user input and feedback, links,
manageable complexity" is written about the criterias on the entry
regulations. But where can someone find this criterias on the winners
projects? I am sure, that there were at least some other projects on the
net which fit in this categories. For myself I can only talk about the
contribution of Dragan Espenschied and me -- -- which has tousands of
users, a database consisting of more then 20 MB pure text (this is more
than the most Flash sites containing in graphics and sound together),
tousands of lines of server side scripting code (not including all the
HTML files) and so on. And the jury yammers about the low quantity ...

Aaah, perhaps the "loading, please wait" message is missing. Yes, it was
really stressing me to speed up the blaster so that he precess a hit in
20 milliseconds. What a Crud!

It seems for me that the jury was not very interested in understanding
projects which needs more then a little bit viewing and clicking.

Yes, I know that the really literary contributions "<i hate sf traffic"
and "Spring Forward, Fall Backward" came from you, dear jury.  What
would Neal Stephenson say to this? Everybody is allowed to tax one's own
brain ... ;-)

Do you want more quantity in each project, dear jury? Sorry, but this is
not really possible for a non profit project! Remember that you
criticize the "vast flows of venture capital available to start Internet
enterprises, virtually anyone with any skill or interest in the Net has
increasingly been spending his or her waking hours pursuing commercial
rather than artistic endeavors"
( You can't compare a non
profit artistic work with multi million dollar websites!

As an example: we work since more then one year on the Blaster, some
months fulltime, but sometime we have to sleep ...

Are you worry about that the number of entries to the prix this year
declined so much? Have a look on the last year's winner, and you see the
reason of this decline!

What on earth you were looking for, dear jury, to have been thus

The .net category is not the same as Interactive Art with the difference
that the works are using the net. Don't expect TV. Don't expect visual
art. Don't expect virtual 3D environments. Expect, whatever this
might be.

And now, whats the solution? What can we learn from this?
There are two solutions:

  - rename the .net category in 
    "cool web graphics, 3D or flashing environments"
  - throw out all the visual oriented members of the jury

Uups, the winner is a writer. What deals he with the net? Aaah, surely,
he was only chosen because the jury want to antagonize the
community. You may select no winner the next time, if you are the
opinion that the entered works are not good enough, so you get no stress
because of such a stupid decision ...


Alvar C.H. Freude


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