Prix Ars Electronica 2005

Quotes from
[Prix Ars 2005 / Jury Statement]

"The first of two Honorary Mentions for [the next idea] 2005 goes to Maschine – Mensch by Tobias Zucali and Christopher Rhomberg, both of whom are Austrians.

'The system begins with the sorter. Each worker is assigned objects of a specific colour. If the electronic eye discovers an object that fits the criteria, the sorter’s arm is moved, making it slide the object off the conveyor belt into a bin.'

The idea strongly recalls descriptions of industrial production lines, although the mechanical unit, known by the industry as a sorter, is in part replaced by the human body. The body is controlled by computer via electrodes (electrical impulses) and the resulting muscle contractions. The subject’s body relinquishes control and becomes part of the machine.

In an age where the battle for design, conception and the implementation of details in all production cycles is in full swing due to the general realization that we are in constant interaction with everything, this project gives us a completely exaggerated taste of what is to come, a parody of all serious attempts to find a methodical approach to solutions. Unavoidably, we come to a conclusion, the one also postulated by the two entrants: we must view humans as puppets. From the onset of industrialization to the omnipresent advertising message, the consumer has been manipulated by externally controlled needs or events like a puppet. Here, through the use of “democratic” media, this situation is revealed quite concretely. The jury was impressed with how professionally the physical possibilities of technologies, previously only used for medical therapies, were explored. It also enjoyed the look at the omnipresence of the media which is so formative for society."