Pax Awards 2018
The Pax Art Awards were held for the first time in June 2018. With its art prizes, the Art Foundation Pax honours and promotes in collaboration with HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel) a media-specific practice of Swiss artists whose works use media technologies or reflect their impact.
In 2018 the award worth CHF 30,000 went to !Mediengruppe Bitnik for its trailblazing and long-standing work in the field of media art. The artists received CHF 15,000 as prize money and production support for a new work, while a further CHF 15,000 will be used to acquire a piece for the collection of Art Foundation Pax.
Two additional prizes were awarded to young, up-and-coming media artists. Geneva-based artist Lauren Huret and the group of artists Fragmentin from Lausanne received CHF 15,000 each, comprising prize money and purchase of a work.
A splendid jury
Learn here, which competent people were in the 2018 jury. moreless
Mónica Bello, Head of Arts am CERN, Genf
Nicolas C. Bopp, Präsident Stiftungsrat Art Foundation Pax, Basel
Davide Fornari, Head of R&D at ECAL, Lausanne
Sabine Himmelsbach, Direktorin HeK, Basel
Fausto De Lorenzo, De Lorenzo Art and Museum Management & Consulting GmbH, Basel
The proud winners
Find out, which artists managed to get a Pax Art Award. moreless
!Mediengruppe Bitnik (read – the not Mediengruppe Bitnik) live and work in Zurich / Berlin / London. They are contemporary artists working on and with the Internet. Their practice expands from the digital to affect physical spaces, often intentionally applying loss of control to challenge established structures and mechanisms. !Mediengruppe Bitnik are the artists Carmen Weisskopf (*1976) and Domagoj Smoljo (*1979). Their accomplices are the London filmmaker and researcher Adnan Hadzi and the reporter Daniel Ryser.
The jury of the Pax Art Awards is honoured to appoint as awardee for the first edition the !Mediengruppe Bitnik as an established voice in the domain of media arts in Switzerland. Carmen Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo at a still young age have reached an international audience through several works which span different media. By tackling issues such as the hacking of the Ashley Madison platform (“Ashley Madison Angels at Work”, 2016 – 2017), the items on sale on the deep web (“Random Darknet Shopper”, 2014 – 2016) or the legal status of Julian Assange (“Delivery for Mr. Assange”, 2013), the artists express themselves on relevant topics of public interest in a consistent yet novel way. They address the hidden architectures and systems of control by means of complex artefacts embodying technologies, while also attempting to report undocumented events and narratives. They have unveiled the bots we might be chatting with on the internet, as well as the illegal products we might buy in the dark web, and they have been able to create a visual dialogue with Julian Assange, confined in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Their work provides the audience with unusual experiences and more awareness on the technology that surrounds us.
Honorary Mention Prix Ars Electronica 2016 („Random Darknet Shopper“) | Swiss Art Awards 2014 | Migros New Media Jubilee Award 2007
Fondazione Prada Milano | Shanghai Minsheng 21st Century Museum | The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow | City Art Gallery Ljubljana | Kunsthaus Zürich | NIMk Amsterdam | Space Gallery London | Cabaret Voltaire, Zürich | Beton7, Athens | Museum Folkwang, Essen | Contemporary Art Center Vilnius | La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris | Gallery EDEN 343 São Paulo und / and Roaming Biennale, Teheran.
!Mediengruppe Bitnik | Ashley Madison Angel at Work, 2016 | Installationsansicht Kunsthaus Langenthal
Lauren Huret (*1984) is an artist based in Geneva. She graduated from the Fine Art School in Bordeaux and received an MFA at the University of Art and Design in Geneva (HEAD). She’s interested by the manner in which language and ideas spread into minds and become singular concepts of reality.
The jury of the Pax Art Awards is pleased to honour Lauren Huret, a Swiss artist whose work deals extensively with the impact of media technologies on the individual as well as society. In her videos and performances, the Geneva-based artist deals with questions on identity in an increasingly technological world. The emotional attachments and physical independencies to our means of communications are also part of her work, as well as reflections on the history of new media or issues around the development of artificial intelligence. She has been able to create interesting connections in her extensive research on these select topics. She uses found footage material to do so, which she collects from the many internet video platforms, combining them with her own historical analyses and building connections along the way. Again and again she addresses our interaction with media technologies and our dependence on the virtual world, and opens them up to critical discussion in her poetic enactments. She has developed her own distinct visual language for this, which she employs to talk about our bodily and emotional constitution in a very contemporary aesthetic – using the possibilities provided by digital tools for her surprising image-discovery process.
Residency am Center for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski, Warschau
Kunstmuseum Luzern | Les Urbaines, Lausanne | Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin
Kunsthaus Langenthal | Hard Hat, Genf | Swiss Art Awards 2016 | Le Consortium, Dijon | La Panacée, Montpellier | Le Magasin, Grenoble | Neue Galerie, New York | Copenhagen Contemporary
Lauren Huret | Face Swap (past), 2016
Lauren Huret | Breaking the Internet, 2015
Fragmentin is an art practice based in Lausanne (Switzerland) experimenting with a range of different techniques and materials to produce interactive and performative installations, which question the impact of technologies on our everyday life. Founded in 2014 by Laura Perrenoud (*1991) and Marc Dubois (*1985), the studio has been joined in 2017 by David Colombini (*1989) after his graduation at the Royal College of Art in London. The three artists met at ECAL (Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne) where they studied in the Media & Interaction Design programme.
The jury of the Pax Art Awards chooses Fragmentin as runners-up for their ability to consistently extend the ambitious standards of creativity and to build on an ongoing fascination with media technology, interaction and design. The studio is led by artists and designers Laura Perrenoud, Marc Dubois and David Colombini. In their works, they explore the limits between digital and physical environments, questioning the omnipresence of technology and its impact on our everyday life, especially in terms of control and interference. In this context, they devise artefacts that show the role that serendipity plays in the processes of interaction and how this can be an antidote to control. Fragmentin’s works sharpen our senses and bring more tangible, accessible technological objects into our lives. Some of them are poetic interpretations of the potential of contemporary technologies, while others invite the viewer to intervene and sense the surroundings from other perspectives, into the paradoxical virtual landscapes. The jury particularly values Fragmentin’s strong contributions into the new media field. Their young career and achievements are astonishing. By awarding them with the first edition of the prize, we want to emphasize the link between their ideas and the description of materiality, opening up new means of enquiry of artistic practice
2017 Migros grant for digital culture | Swiss Design Prize | AppArtAward | Lumen Prize | IKEA foundation project grant | 2015 Collide @ Cern Pro Helvetia residency | 2014 Migros grant for digital culture | Prix de l’excellence de l’ECAL | 2013 Prix de la Ville de Renens
Mirage Festival, Lyon | Artlab, EPFL, Lausanne | ZKM, Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe | Digitaltag ZHdK, Zürich | Geneva International Film Festival, Genf | Hull City of Culture, Grossbritannien | Numerik Games, Yverdon | The Royal College of Art, London | Design Museum London | “The Unframed World”, HeK, Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel | Cinekid Festival, Amsterdam | Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Montréal | Design Days, Renens | Swissnex, San Francisco | Film Festival, Locarno | National Theatre, London | Bug & Play Festival, Zürich | Mapping Festival, Genf
Fragmentin | The Weather Followers, 2017