San Francisco Museum of Modern Art announced winners of its first online art award, SFMOMA Webby Awards. Established earlier this year, Webby Awards honor artists whose primary focus is the Internet as their medium, and who distinctively expand the possibilities of this new art form. The $30,000 Webby Prize for Excellence in Online Art was awarded to Entropy8Zuper!, the team of Auriea Harvey (U.S.A) and Michael Samyn (Belgium). Honorable Mentions of $6,500 each were awarded to three artists: Ichiro Aikawa (Japan), Young-hae Chang (South Korea) and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Canada and Mexico).
Young-hae Chang, on the other hand, steps into the most straightforward solution among the other winners. With the intensive use of animating typography, Young-hae Chang presents ironically witty, conceptual statements in a linear movie format. Deliberately avoiding graphic images, Young-hae Chang tactfully approaches the “less is more” equation, effectively conveying the directness of the artist’s assertive messages.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Vectorial Elevation, finally, is an experimental project reflecting remote connectivity between existing reality and the virtual one in a computer. The web site contains a 3-D interface that allows users to control 18 robotic searchlights that are placed around a plaza in Mexico City. Users can individually design a light sculpture with the 3-D interface from anywhere in the world, and view their work in real time via webcams. Unfortunately the project is now discontinued, however, the site still has a huge archive of past light works designed by users around the world.
SFMOMA plans to hold the Webby Awards contest annually. This would be one of the great opportunities to measure this fast-growing, ever changing digital art medium every year.