Pax Art Awards 2018
2018 marks the inauguration of the Pax Art Awards, created in a collaboration between the Art Foundation Pax and HEK (Haus der Elektronischen Künste). Groundbreaking in the field of digital art, the annual prize honours and promotes media-specific practices of Swiss artists whose works use media technologies or reflect their effects. The first artists to receive the prize were !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Lauren Huret and the artist group Fragmentin.
The Art Foundation Pax is an independent foundation for the promotion of digital and media-based art in Switzerland and is sponsored by Pax. Since its institution, the foundation has annually presented the Pax Art Awards at the HEK.
The jury of the 2018 Pax Art Awards – Mónica Bello (Head of Arts at CERN, Geneva), Davide Fornari (Head of R&D at ECAL, Lausanne), Sabine Himmelsbach (Director HeK) – commends !Mediengruppe Bitnik for their advanced and long-standing work in the field of media art with a prize of CHF 30,000. The prize money is divided into CHF 15,000 in support of a new work and CHF 15,000 for the acquisition of a work for the collection of Art Foundation Pax. Two further prizes of CHF 15,000, each respectively divided into support and acquisition, are dedicated to young emerging media artists. In 2018, these went to Geneva artist Lauren Huret and the artist group Fragmentin from Lausanne.
Jury seats and voting rights are also held by members of the board of Art Foundation Pax:
Nicolas C. Bopp, President, Art Foundation Pax, Basel
Fausto De Lorenzo, De Lorenzo Art and Museum Management & Consulting GmbH, Basel
The "non-Mediengruppe Bitnik", as the name is pronounced, has established itself as an important voice in the field of media art in Switzerland. The works of Carmen Weisskopf (Switzerland, *1976) and Domagoj Smoljo (Croatia, 1979), which span various areas of the media, reach an international audience. By addressing topics such as the involuntary publication of all usernames of the Ashley Madison platform ("Ashley Madison Angels at Work", 2017-2017), items for sale on the Deep Web ("Random Darknet Shopper" 2014-2016) or the legal status of Julian Assange ("Delivery for Mr. Assange" 2013), the artist group articulates itself in a consistent and novel way through relevant topics of public interest. Their work offers the audience unusual experiences and a greater awareness of the technologies that surround us.
Lauren Huret (*1984) is a Swiss artist whose work deals intensively with the effects of media technologies on individuals and society. In her videos and performances, the artist from Geneva deals with questions of identity in an increasingly technological world, for which she contrasts found material from the net with her own reflections.
The studio Fragmentin consists of the artists Laura Perrenoud (*1991), Marc Dubois (*1985) and David Colombini (*1989). In their works, the artist group explores the boundaries between the digital and physical environment and questions our present and the effects of technology in everyday life, especially from the perspective of control and influence. With their profound fascination for media technologies and media interaction, they create a multi-layered work that investigates the role of chance and control in modern interaction processes.