VI.5 Mapping the Archive: Prix Ars Electronica

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Dietmar Offenhuber

Evelyn Münster

Moritz Stefaner

Gerhard Dirmoser

Jaume Nualart

The Ars Electronica Festival, held since 1979, is one of the oldest and most prestigious festivals of electronic and new media art. The Festival’s archive makes it possible to render the formation and canonization of the young art discipline. This examination of the archive by media artist Dietmer Offenhuber, information designer Moritz Stefaner, visualization consultant Evelyn Münster, software developer and researcher Jaume Nualart, and systems analyst Gerhard Dirmoser follows a three-step process. The first step involves a quantitative analysis of the total body of 37,432 Prix Ars Electronica submissions. The analysis shows the trends of the various sub-genres of media art, national preferences for specific genres, and the temporal evolution of the categories. The second step focuses on the jury process of the competition: the role of the jurors and their social connections in a network analysis, as well as the terminologies used in the written jury statements. The map reveals a tight-knit community and highlights the interdisciplinary connections across the field of media art. Finally, an art-historical citation network investigates how winning projects resonate in the context of scholarly literature and popular publications. The visualizations reveal the difference between the official view of the festival and the actual state of artistic practice.


Yavuz, Mahir. 2009. Information Aesthetics. “Mapping the Archive: 30 Years of Ars Electronica Visualized in Huge Scale.” Accessed September 21, 2011.

Offenhuber, Dietmar. 2009. Prix Arts Electronica: Mapping the Archive. Accessed August 29, 2011.

Offenhuber, Dietmar, Evelyn Münster, Moritz Stefaner, Gerhard Dirmoser, and Jaume Nualart. 2008. Mapping the Archive: Prix Ars Electronica. Courtesy of Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Media.Art.Research. and Ars Electronica. In “6th Iteration (2009): Science Maps for Scholars,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Elisha F. Hardy.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.