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Zebrastraat Ghent

Organisation: Foundation Liedts-Meesen & Zebrastraat

Public Award
495 visitors casted a valid vote. The following five projects received 30 votes or more:
– The Timid Wilderness by Miranda Moss (ZA) (139)
– Doing Nothing With AI by Emanuel Gollob (AT) (69)
– Perfect View by Daniel Jolliffe (CA) (54)
– Probably Chelsea by Heather Dewey-Hagborg (US) (34)
– bearing by Greg Marshall (CA) (33)
“The Timid Wilderness is an immersive, interactive installation comprising a luminescent jungle of shy flowers. The flowers are sensitive to sounds, especially those of humans ; they hide away when the noise level is too high, but bloom when silence is restored. Inspired by pollinating insects being able to detect patterns on flowers that are only visible in the UV spectrum, the piece imagines what this supernatural, glowing world might look like, and questions the way in which we communicate with our natural surroundings. While the work is playful to interact with and visually decadent, a darker undertone lingers on the destructive abilities of humankind and how they impact the planet. Largely fabricated from recycled materials, the piece aims to teach children ideas about ecology and technology working in equilibrium, particularly aiming to introduce ideas such as biomimicry in a playful way.”

Jury Award
All eight international judges – Liedts-Meesen Foundation, Jean-Marie Dallet (artist and professor at the Université Paris 8), Stef Van Bellingen (artistic leader of WARP, Sint-Niklaas), Nick Ervinck (artist and winner of the public prize 2008), Yves Bernard (artistic director of iMAL Brussels), Alain Thibault (artistic director of Elektra Montreal), Ralph Dum (scientific officer and senior expert of the European Commission) and Karen Helmerson (program director for Electronic Media, Film & Visual Art at NYSCA) – have announced their judgement. Six projects received six points or more:
– Probably Chelsea by Heather Dewey-Hagborg (US) (13)
– Perfect View by Daniel Jolliffe (CA) (10)
– Putting the Pieces Back Together Again by Ralf Baecker (DE) (8)
– Nonfacial Portrait by Shinseungback Kimyonghun (KR) (7)
– Summerland by Matthew Ostrowski (US) (6)
– Asemic Languages by So Kanno and Yang02 (JP) (6)
“Probably Chelsea consists of 30 different possible portraits of Chelsea Manning algorithmically generated by analysis of her DNA. Genomic data can tell a multitude of different stories about who and what you are. Probably Chelsea shows just in how many ways your DNA can be interpreted as data, and how subjective the act of reading DNA really is. Probably Chelsea pushes this even further by presenting thirty different variations on Chelsea’s portrait, suspended as a crowd at an assortment of human heights. The form of the installation was inspired by conversations Chelsea and Heather Dewey-Hagborg had about the limits of DNA profiling, along with the incredible mass movement that advocated for her release from prison. Probably Chelsea evokes a kind of DNA solidarity, on a molecular level, we are all Chelsea Manning. Each genomic variation is a piece of data, a new clue and another possible story. As more data is put together, some things become more probable, and some less, but there is never certainty and there are always alternate possible narratives. Probably Chelsea portrays these alternate narratives and represents a sampling of the many stories Chelsea’ DNA can tell.”

The project received a positive appreciation from three judges. The proposed work responds to the requirements of the competition and its rules concerning the aesthetic use of new technologies, in response to contemporary values.

Award in collaboration with the STARTS-program of the European Commission
This award goes to Putting the Pieces Back Together Again by Ralf Baecker (DE).
“Putting the Pieces Back Together Again consists of 1250 stepper motors arranged in a two-dimensional grid. Each motor is equipped with a pointer made from acrylic glass. The radii of the pointers are chosen to intersect with the pointers of their neighbours. In the event of a collision, the pointers reverse their turning direction. Through the interplay of many entities, a complex behaviour emerges on the surface of the installation that’s forming spontaneous patterns. By manipulating the signals during runtime it seems like the pointers are negotiating their positions. PTPBTA acts as an epistemological instrument to look at dynamics that emerge from non-hierarchical and collective organisations including social systems, economics, climate system and biology.”

Ralph Dum: “The work of Ralf Baecker is a reflection on interaction and emergence. A number of identical parts (the chips and actuators in each pointer) create a system that is behaving randomly, chaotically.”

Each artist of the winning project is awarded with a cash prize of € 5000.

The call for entries for NTAA’21 will be send out on November 1, 2021.


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