The Youth Cultural Center Maribor, as part of the 29th International Festival of Computer Arts (MFRU), has launched an open call for student intermedia art projects for the Student Prize of the MFRU 2023 festival.
Twelve students applied with 11 projects.
The members of the expert jury, Maja Smrekar, Miha Colner, and Aleksandra Saška Gruden, unanimously decided as follows:
- 1st prize goes to Tomaž Pavšek and Tyana Rendič for iHuman
- 2nd prize goes to Manca Žitnik for Prepusti se toku
- 3rd prize goes to Tamara Kostrevc for Can You Feel It
All of them will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to present their projects in the GT 22 exhibition space (Glavni trg 22, Maribor) during the MFRU festival in October.
The main prize winners, Tomaž and Tyana, will be awarded exhibitions at the Cultural Incubator in 2024, an exhibition space on Koroška cesta 18, Maribor.
Reasons from the jury
Tyana Rendič & Tomaž Pavšek: iHuman
The winning work, iHuman, by the artistic duo Tyana Rendič & Tomaž Pavšek, convinced the jury with its holistic appearance: an effective conceptual design and (planned) physical realisation. In this conceptually complex work, the artists addressed topical and universal contemporary issues, such as the coexistence of humans and machines, the significance of physicality, the consequences of digitising everyday life, and the trajectory of advanced technology development. They did so through the narrative format of a dialogue between two fictional characters, one summarising the characteristics of humans and the other the characteristics of artificial intelligence. In a contemporary society that is focused on progress at any cost and transactional interpersonal relationships, the artists critically and sceptically question potential futures, the consequences of constant development, and the digital gadgets that may be diminishing the cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence of human beings. The work is conceived and, judging by the description, executed in a visually effective way. Even with its formal effects, it can engage the viewer, prompting them to reflect on the possible contextual aspects of the work.
Manca Žitnik: Prepusti se toku
The jury recognised Manca Žitnik's work, Prepusti se toku (Go With the Flow), as complex and simultaneously illustrative in terms of content and execution. Through object visualisation, featuring a black cubic object and white spheres that move on its surface according to a certain automatism, the artist explores the social environment of control and personal freedom of decision-making. She brings to light the individual's distress caused by collective movements directed towards an endless competitive struggle. The latter inevitably leads to questioning the limits of the individual, as suggested by the title. The work is structured in a way that offers a multi-layered view of maintaining a balance between control and surrender, demonstrating the author's understanding of the precarious existence of the individual in the consumer and technological chaos of the contemporary world. We believe that this approach provides the viewer with ample room for reflection and their own mental engagement.
Tamara Kostrevc: Can You Feel It
Tamara Kostrevc's artwork, Can You Feel It was recognised by the jury as a compelling exploration of the contemporary zeitgeist. The presented artistic practice delves into interpersonal relationships within the context of social anxiety. The work informs the visitor about living with anxiety disorders and, in doing so, encourages them to establish an empathic distance towards others. Formally, the theme is addressed through an audio-visual installation that modulates the intensity of the presentation based on the participant's pulse feedback, resulting in an exchange of audio-visual information between the visitor and the artwork. The involvement of the audience in a participatory immersive experience allows for a circulation of perspectives. Through the lens of experiencing intimate emotions, it offers the establishment of a mutual alliance and opens possibilities for interaction.