As Locust Projects launches a new Digital Innovation Initiative, we are contextualizing the work we will be doing and commissioning by featuring the work of organizations who have been pioneers in the field of digital art and technology – the first features ARS ELECTRONICA.
Founded in 1979 in Austria, ARS ELECTRONICA is a platform working at the intersection of art, technology and society through organizing exhibitions, educational programs and research projects focused on the future of our societies.
For many years, the screening program of the Prix Ars Electronica Animation Festival has shownthe best of current productions, compiled from the submissions to the Prix Ars Electronica’scategory Computer Animation.
In 2022, 657 submissions were sent to this category and the jury convened in April for three days of deliberations in Linz. This selection presented at Locust Projects was the basis for the on-site jury session and the programs of the 2022 Ars Electronica Animation Festival.
Many of the works being shown can be categorized as expanded animation, hybrids between games and animations, site-specific installations, or experiments with new technology such as artificial intelligence or machine learning. The spectrum of formats ranges from animated shorts to animated documentaries, from experimental-abstract works to interactive animated audio-visual environments.
The Electronic Theatre features a selection of the works honored by the jury in the Prix ArsElectronica category Computer Animation.
The Prix Ars Electronica, organized by Ars Electronica Linz GmbH & Co KG, is made possible by support from the City of Linz. Special thanks for additional support go to Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and OeAD. The Ars Electronica ANIMATION FESTIVAL 2022 is organized by Ars Electronica in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg Campus. The Ars Electronica ANIMATION FESTIVAL 2022 on Tour was produced in collaboration and with special thanks to the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs.
About Ars Electronica
Ars Electronica is a platform working at the intersection of art, technology and society through organizing exhibitions, educational programs and research projects focused on the future of our societies. Founded in 1979 in Linz as a festival it has since expanded to include a laboratory, an award and a museum dedicated to the study and promotion of media arts and digital culture.
The Electronic Theatre is ARS ELECTRONICA’S annual best-of program, a compilation of outstanding animated films, chosen by the jury from the submitted works in the category Computer Animation. The selection showcases current productions in terms of artistic content, as well as cultural and technological innovation.
Anxious Body, Yoriko Mizushiri (JP) Prix Ars Electronica 2022 / Award of Distinction in category "Computer Animation" at the 2022 Prix Ars Electronica / 05:49
Sensitive, fluid, physical, erotic, meditative, melancholy, and feminine, the films, installations, music videos, and designs by Yoriko Mizushiri offer new perspectives on separate body parts, based on infinitely talented control of the line and movement, a choice of light, “corporeal colours” like pink and purple, and without superfluous emotionality in the face and eyes. Her hand-drawn animation offer haptic suggestions, delve into fragments of daily life, tiny gestures and moments, and immerse deep into the abysses of the unconscious. The serene rhythm of Mizushiri’s works leaves the door open for the viewers to let themselves go to intimate interpretation. Image: Yoriko Mizushiri (JP)
Tartarus, Mariano Ferández Russo (AR) / Prix Ars Electronica 2022 / Honorary Mention / 02:38
The deity Tartarus. The force of conquest and destruction. Whatever they want, it will be taken. Because Tartarus sees themselves as the owner of everything, as they despise everything. Their servants—Titans—are to impose this deity’s limitless will, with no guilt or shame. Without challenging it. It has been like this era after era, since the beginning of time. Until now, when primordial tears announce the end of the Eternal.
This short film is a result of a different approach to our creative process. A psychedelic creative trip we embarked upon during several months of lockdown.
It all started with a raging need to let our creative energy take some shape. We were looking for a project that could challenge our skills and understanding of our own craft at that moment. There were so many things we wanted to try—both technical and creative—we just couldn't focus. It felt overwhelming at times.
Then Juan Barabani jumped on board bringing his fresh vision, his deep love of art, and a collaborative spirit—and things started to get trippy. The animatic came naturally, too: a reflexive, tranquil pace that let one dwell on the excruciating amount of little details we would be animating. Also, that rhythm felt cosmic and solemn.
Clocking in at around 2 minutes, with few shots, complex designs, and subtle actions, we knew animation had to be challenging but survivable, so we set ourselves up for “traumatizing.”
We then established 3 rules:
- Economize. Animate at the lowest frame rate possible to force us to carefully draw each pose and set the right exposition for each keyframe.
- Be creative with the animation ideas, but don’t go beyond the tone suggested and inspired by the style frames.
- Carefully plan the composition workflow.
But to be honest the final comp rule was: More pain, more gain. Hope you all enjoy and get mesmerized by Tartarus.
Radicalization Pipeline, 2021, Theoklitos Triantafyllidis (GR) / Prix Ars Electronica 2022 / Honorary Mention / 03:09
Two seemingly endless hordes clash into a violent free-for-all, swinging large melee weapons and shouting with distorted voices. A wide range of characters—from citizen militias to fantastical creatures—enter the screen only to kill each other, wave after wave, sinking their virtual bodies slowly into a muddy landscape. The mood occasionally lightens up by the medieval covers of familiar pop songs that complete the soundscape conceived by the composer and sound designer Diego Navarro. Looking at phenomena such as the rise of QAnon, the artist suggests connections between gamification, fantasy, and political radicalization.
The Crow, Glenn Marshall (UK) / Prix Ars Electronica 2022 / Honorary Mention / 03:00
Very, Very, Tremendously, Guangli LIU (CN) / Prix Ars Electronica 2022 / Honorary Mention / 12:12
In this animation, artificial intelligence is used to transform a dancer into a crow. Based on a live action short film, AI is used to transform each video frame into a painting using text to image synthesis. A derelict building becomes a desolate landscape, and a dancer becomes a human crow figure. The result is a haunting and compelling piece that follows the crow through its brief dance in a landscape of post-apocalyptic barrenness, to its inevitable demise.
When fox and rabbit say goodnight, Finn Stevenhagen (NL) / Prix Ars Electronica 2022/ Honorary Mention / 20:29
When fox and rabbit say goodnight. is a short film following a boy on his search for love and constancy. The film appropriates the hollow animation aesthetic of early 2000s’ video games to explore the themes of neglect and grief through the limited dialogue, body language, and the depiction of characters. Negligence during the modeling, texturing, and animation stages has become the basis for the unspoken narrative and reinforces the themes. Juxtaposition of the characters’ limited ability to express themselves with their desire to do just that, presents clearly artificial depictions of humans as closely to their real counterparts.
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