STUDIO Fellows Secure Interactive Art prizes at Ars Electronica


(June 3, 2014) Two projects developed by Fellows of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry have been recognized with awards in the Interactive Art category of the 2014 Prix Ars Electronica, the world’s premiere competition for experimental new-media arts. The artworks (“Balance from Within” by Jacob Tonski, and “CLOUDS“, by James George and Jonathan Minard) will be presented this September in the CyberArts Exhibition of the Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria.


Jacob Tonski’s “Balance from Within“, a robotic sculpture, secured an Auszeichnung (Award of Distinction) in Interactive Art in the Prix Ars Electronica.

This sculpture is a 170-year old sofa which balances precariously on one leg, continuously teetering, responding internally to external forces. Within the body of the sofa, a robotic assembly maintains balance dynamically. Both sincere and absurd, the project is a meditation on the nature of human relations, and the things we build to support them. Of “Balance from Within”, the jury of the Prix Ars Electronica writes that it “is much more than a mere poetic sculpture; it is an urgent and critical reminder.”

Tonski, now an assistant professor of art and interactive media studies at Miami University of Ohio, initiated his project while an artist-in-residence at the STUDIO in the summer of 2010. “Balance from Within” was made possible through funding from the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts, and was completed in 2013 with finishing support from the School of Creative Arts, Miami University, Ohio.


CLOUDS, by James George and Jonathan Minard, has secured an Anerkennung (Honorary Mention) in the Interactive Art category of the Prix Ars Electronica.

CLOUDS is an interactive, generative documentary that allows the viewer to explore different perspectives at the intersection of code and culture. Filmed using a new 3D cinema format called RGBD and created entirely with open-source software, CLOUDS uses a data-driven “story engine” to present an endless, ever-changing conversation. In addition to the recognition by Ars Electronica, CLOUDS has also received the best-in-show award for new media at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The CLOUDS Documentary was conceived during the STUDIO’s Art && Code 3D conference in October 2011, when Minard (a documentary filmmaker and alumnus of the CMU School of Art) met George (an artist and software developer). The project was developed with support from the STUDIO, Microsoft, Kickstarter, Eyebeam, YCAM InterLab, and NYU ITP.

About the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry:
The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry is a flexible laboratory for new modes of arts research, production and presentation. The laboratory’s current emphasis on new-media arts builds on more than two decades of experience hosting interdisciplinary artists in an environment enriched by world-class science and engineering departments. We support the work of emerging artists who work in emerging media, through research investigations in new forms such as interactive installation, robotics, computational cinema, biological art, network culture, tactical media, critical software, game arts, and information visualization.

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