Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau: Interactive Art Research

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Gerfried Stocker, Christa Sommerer, Laurent Mignonneau
Springer Vienna, Jan 1, 2010 - Art - 232 pages
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dark room. It contains plants, and there’s a large- A year later, the pair’s next major project, A-Volve, A format projection in the background. A group of was honored with the Golden Nica grand prize in the astonished individuals are touching the plants – some Prix Ars Electronica’s Interactive Art category. A-Volve cautiously, some shaking them quite vigorously. All are would go on to also make quite a name for itself wor- absolutely thrilled by the apparent magic that lets them wide. conjure up a multi-hued digital world of plants right on And here again, what elicited such enthusiastic the room’s wall. responses from those partaking of it was the blending This extraordinary 1993 exhibition abruptly cata- of biological and digital metaphors and the consistent pulted Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau to linkup of art and science. This was indeed a work that fame in the international media art scene. And their displayed artistic, technical and scienti?c excellence in breakthrough installation Interactive Plant Growing equal measure and that impressively demonstrated the remains a major milestone in the history of the then- aesthetic and technological competence of its creators. nascent artform; it continues to be one of digital media Thus, it’s certainly no surprise that the two have art’s most frequently exhibited works. been frequent guests at Ars Electronica ever since.

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About the author (2010)

Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau are two of the most innovative and internationally renowned media artists and researchers. Their work has been called "epoch-making" (Toshiharu Itoh, NTT-ICC Museum, Tokyo) for developing natural and intuitive interfaces and for applying scientific principles such as artificial life, complexity, generative systems and nanotechnologies to their innovative interface design.

In the last 17 years, Sommerer and Mignonneau have created around 20 interactive systems, which have won them major international media art awards, among them the "Golden Nica" Prix Ars Electronica Award for Interactive Art in 1994 (Linz, Austria). These artworks have been presented internationally in over 200 exhibitions and are installed in media museums and media collections around the world. Sommerer and Mignonneau have regularly exhibited in and collaborated with Ars Electronica as artists, jury members and curators. They have edited several books, such as Sommerer, C., Jain, L.C. and Mignonneau L. (ed.), The Art and Science of Interface and Interaction Design. Springer Verlag Heidelberg, 2008; Sommerer, C., Mignonneau, L. and King, D. (ed.), Interface Cultures – Artistic Aspects of Interaction. Transcript Verlag, 2008; and Sommerer, C. and Mignonneau, L. (ed.), Art @ Science, SpringerWienNewYork, 1998.

Gerfried Stocker graduated from the Institute for Telecommunication Engineering and Electronics in Graz. In 1991 he founded x-space, a team for the realization of interdisciplinary projects. In this framework numerous installations and performance projects have been carried out in the field of interaction, robotics and telecommunication. He was also responsible for the concept of various radio and network projects and the organization of the worldwide radio and network project Horizontal Radio. In 1992-/93 he was responsible for the program of "Steirische Kulturinitiative." Since 1995 Stocker is the artistic director of the Ars Electronica Festival and the managing director of the Ars Electronica Center Linz. He edited several media art catalogs from the annual Ars Electronica (five of them from SpringerWienNew York) and together with Dr. Christine Schöpf and Dr. Hannes Leopoldseder, the Ars Electronica Cyber Arts catalogs (likewise five of them from SpringerWienNewYork).

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