Honorary Mention

Douglas Edric Stanley


Asymptote, Douglas Edric Stanley

I have received an honorary mention at the Prix Ars Electronica, which basically means that the festival gets to invite me to their prestigious festival without really having to pay me anything (great deal, huh?). Luckily, the piece was well-funded by the ICC, so at least I’m not losing any money on the show.

So I’ve been at least trying to maximize my efforts by giving as many interviews as they can throw at me. That means quite a few interviews as my installation is very popular with the journalists: they keep telling me that my piece is the least “technological” and the most “humanist”, two arguments that are diametrically opposed to my intentions. A german radio host from Berlin and I got into an interesting debate over this matter. While I agree that the piece is pretty, ok, that’s a nice thing but it doesn’t make it humanist (what a ghastly term).

I also gave an interview to the NHK — cute young woman presenter co-presenting with an older, more sophisticate man — and to an incredibly pretentious Italian presenter was a total jerk. He was followed was another Italian, more genial this time, named Ivo Mej, who gave me the lowdown on the previous interviewer. Ivo was actually very funny, very Italian. We had quite a laugh.

I also spoke to some equally pretentious Parisian reporters, and to some Americans that seemed to be lost more than anything else. Start speaking about 18th century European literature to an American (the piece is based on a Kleist text) and they run for the hills. Luckily, they were followed by an interesting journalist from Austria who was (surprise) thrilled to have an artist working with Kleist. She totally got it, too.

I was told by many that Ars Electronica is great platform for getting noticed. While the installation is very popular, I have serious doubts, based on the meeting I’ve had so far with curators, that anything of any importance will come of all this. Having the public like a piece is not the same as getting a curator on your side. Especially if the people sees the piece as “humanist”. Yikes!