Ars Electronica Golden Nica prize awarded to Hyphen Hub’s artist collective with Awards of Distinction given to three other artists from the Hyphen Hub community
When: New York/Linz, 12 June 2023
Hyphen Hub is proud to announce that Ars Electronica in Linz Austria has awarded its top prize to an artist collective from the Hyphen Hub community. The Golden Nica in the category of Digital Music and Sound Art was awarded to A Tale of Two Seeds: Sound and Silence in Latin America’s Andean Plains, an audio-visual installation conceived by Juan Cortés in collaboration with Atractor Estudio and Semantica Productions. Additionally, three other Hyphen Hub artists were also recognized: Alba Triana received one of the two Awards of Distinction for her work Harmonic Motion; Richard Garet received an Honorary Mention for his work 30 Cycles of Flux; and Robin Fox won the prestigious Isao Tomita Special Prize.
Golden Nica Recipient | Juan Cortés + Atractor Estudio + Semantica Productions
Juan Cortés, founder of Atractor Estudio and a member of the Hyphen Hub community since 2014, based in Bogotá, Colombia, received the Golden Nica award in the category of Digital Music and Sound Art. This award is one of the most well-known and longest-running prizes in the field of electronic and interactive art, computer animation, digital culture, and music, having been awarded since 1987.
A Tale of Two Seeds: Sound and Silence in Latin America’s Andean Plains is a subversive sound installation that explores food sovereignty, deforestation, and the preservation of biodiversity through the story of soy monoculture and its expansion in South American territories. The project’s main research focuses on the irreversible and detrimental effects of agro-industry’s aggressive genetically modified monocultures on the land. The significance of amaranth grain in this narrative is crucial. Categorized as a parasite, amaranth has proven resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, which poses the largest threat to soy monocultures. A Tale of Two Seeds highlights amaranth’s historical and ongoing importance in the lives of many indigenous peoples as an essential grain that exists outside the dominant agro-industrial matrix. To create soundscapes that document the immense loss of diversity caused by agro-industrial expansion, Atractor, in collaboration with Semantica, utilized various recording devices such as contact microphones and ultrasonic detectors.
The sound installation is complemented by two video screens. The first video, On Vegetal Politics, reconstructs an algorithm commonly used in agribusiness to model the growth of transgenic crops on different types of soil. This work subverts the technology by demonstrating the superior efficiency of the amaranth plant when compared to genetically modified soy. The second video, Botánica Transgénica, is a web 3.0 and blockchain artwork that utilizes search algorithms and web scraping to revoke the original patents held by foreign agro-industrial companies on living organisms and register them as Colombian intellectual property. This three-part installation not only emphasizes the risks associated with genetically modified crops and genetic extractivism but also highlights amaranth’s role in resisting modern forms of colonialism, particularly genetic engineering, seed privatization, and land sovereignty.
A Tale of Two Seeds: Sound and Silence in Latin America’s Andean Plains | Installation Render | Credits: atractor + semantica
Additional Awards for Hyphen Hub artists | Alba Triana, Richard Garet, and Robin Fox
Alba Triana received one of the two Awards of Distinction for her work Harmonic Motion, a musical composition and immersive installation that explores the vibrational and interconnected essence of the universe. It delves into the dynamic web of waves and resonances that link all matter and energy, permeating all aspects of existence, including the sound(s) we hear and the music we create.
Harmonic Motion | Alba Triana | Credits: Camilo Martín, Alba Triana Studio
Richard Garet was awarded an Honorary Mention for his work 30 Cycles of Flux, a sound installation piece that consists of utilizing an emission of a 30-cycle sound wave (just below the hearing range of humans) to activate an array of speakers, consequently manifesting a visualization of imperceptible sonic energy in the form of kinetic energy.
30 Cycles of Flux | Richard Garet | Credits: Richard Garet
Robin Fox won the prestigious Isao Tomita Special Prize, named after the Japanese electronic composer who pioneered the use of synthesizers and sequencers in his work, is conferred on artists who have made an outstanding, innovative, and unique contribution to music.
Juan Cortés is an audiovisual artist and lecturer in Art and Audiovisual Media at the University of Los Andes, Colombia. His works take on multiple forms such as installation works, recordings, and concert pieces. He is especially interested in the connections between art, science, and educational processes.
His projects, inspired by sound and the forces of nature, have been exhibited in galleries and institutions like the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA), the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, and Creative Tech Week in New York. Cortés has been also awarded the VII award to the arts of the Alternate Space Gallery in Bogotá and the PRAC grand of the Ministry of Culture of Colombia. He is co-founder and curator of the RADAR Video Art Festival and the SATELLITE Festival of Sound Art and regularly works with the Hyphen Hub space for artistic and community creation.
In 2016, he received an Honorary Mention in the CERN Collide International Award, a partnership program between Arts at CERN and FACT Liverpool
Atractor Estudio is a Colombian collective founded in 2016 by Juan Cortés, Juan Jose Lopez, Juan Camilo Quinones and Alejandro Villegas. Their work has focused on natural phenomena and the meeting point between art, science, and technology. Semantica Productions was founded in 2021 by Jemma Foster and Camilla French, who are based in Colombia and the UK. Their work is focused on creating art from biodata and exploring non-linear linguistics and interspecies communication in the post-anthropocene.
Alba Triana is a Colombian composer and artist based in Miami, Florida. Her work embraces technological developments and freely appropriates elements from different artistic, scientific, and philosophical disciplines in order to expand the meaning of composition, performance, and aesthetic musical experience. The results are hybrid musical productions, which take form in nonconventional and varied formats, ranging from concert music, interactive installations, sound and light sculptures to vibrational objects. Triana has received numerous awards and accolades including the Civitella Foundation Fellowship. Her work belongs to private collections in Europe and the US, as well as to the High Quality Cultural Portfolio of Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her work has been shown in music festivals like Futura, Synthèse, La Colombie à Paris, France; Zilele Muzicii Noi, Moldova; and Subtropics, Miami.
Richard Garet is a Uruguayan sound and visual artist based in Miami, Florida. His materials emerge from ontological investigations of background noise and the decadence-and-decay of technological utilities. Garet seeks to invert the normative function of background noise from unconscious status to active presence. The images and objects in his work stem from processes and experimentations applied to both outmoded and current technological media that emulate situations that translate material source into abstractions. His works embrace the objectification of the ordinary, repurposed technologies, transposition, articulation of space, nuances of perception, and extended techniques applied to time-based practice. Such creations, both conceptual in origin and experimental, embody contemporary life as a filtered experience. Garet emphasizes two notions from this experience that inform his work; debris from constant cultural bombardment and the experience of commodification, both being considered by Garet to be sensory overload.
Robin Fox is an internationally recognized Australian based audio-visual artist working across live performance, exhibitions, public art and composition for contemporary dance. His audio-visual laser works, which synchronize sound and visual electricity in hyper-amplified 3D space, have been performed in more than 60 cities worldwide. His critically acclaimed work Single Origin premiered at Unsound Krakow late 2017 and has toured extensively since with highlights including headline shows at Berlin Atonal, Semibreve (Braga), Mutek (Montreal and Mexico), Sonica (Kings Place London) among many others. Recent large scale audio-visual works include Night Sky for Brisbane Festival, Aqua Luma for Mona Foma 2021, Library of Light for Illuminate Adelaide 2021, BEACON for Mona Foma 2022 and MONOCHORD for Rising Festival 2022. In 2019 his science fiction opera DIASPORA premiered at the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Made in collaboration with Chamber Made the work won the Green Room Award for Best Production and Best Visual Design.
Hyphen Hub is a New York-based non-profit organization that explores, promotes, and presents new visions of the future through the integration of art and emerging technologies. Hyphen Hub produces innovative live performances, art salons, and organizes and curates art exhibitions. It also serves as a platform for a global community of artists, engineers, designers, performers, and tech innovators to connect, share information, and collaborate.
Ars Electronica is an Austrian cultural, educational and scientific institute active in the field of new media art, founded in 1979. It is based at the Ars Electronica Center (AEC), which houses the Museum of the Future, in the city of Linz. Ars Electronica’s activities focus on the interlinkages between art, technology, and society. It runs an annual festival and manages a multidisciplinary media arts R&D facility known as the Futurelab. It also confers the Prix Ars Electronica awards.