The jury for the Vida 8.0 competition in Madrid – Chris Csikszentmihalyi (USA), Daniel García Andújar (Spain), Daniel Canogar (España), José Carlos Mariátegui (Peru), Fiona Raby (UK) and Sally Jane Norman (France / New Zealand) – reviewed 69 artworks that utilise artificial life concepts and techniques, received from 23 countries. The Telefonica Foundation in Spain will give out the following awards:
FIRST PRIZE (10.000 euros):
Martin Howse, Jonathan Kemp
The desert of Southern California is a surreal wasteland of military bombing ranges and toxic waste, beautiful vistas and endangered species, and now three peculiar artificial life entities. UK Artists Martin Howse and Jonathan Kemp built these stark, semi-official looking devices at a research station run by the Center for Land Use Interpretation. In this arid landscape, Howse and Kemp hacked out what might be confused for remote meteorological stations, but are actually far more ambiguous devices. They harvest and store solar power, communicate with each other through wireless, listen to military jets, birds, and the wind, and constantly modify their own code. Their small computer displays tells us nothing — we have no way of entering their processing or conversation. They are functionally inscrutable, while nonetheless communicating a sort of technical authority. While their location is available as GPS coordinates it’s hard to imagine what one would gain by visiting them, and knowing the American Southwest they would probably be peppered with bullet holes anyway. Quixotic as they appear, they nonetheless present a challenge to our self-importance, as oblivious to our curiosity as are the desert tortoises or cacti that share their space.