the sound installations
When in 1992 the Medienkunstpreis (Media Art Prize) was founded and awarded for the first time, this represented the taking of one more hurdle on the road of bringing back these new forms of contemporary art into public conscioussness. By combining traditional arts, music and the visual arts with the technical possibilities of electronic media, the range of artistic ways of expression has been considerably expanded during the last thirty years, though for a long time public acceptance was very low. In the meantime, media art has grown up and grown out of the shadowy existence it had led in the international world of arts up to this point; large exhibitions have taken place, numerous publications dealing with the subject have been edited, and now the first public institutions dedicated to the investigation, presentation and teaching of media art have been established in Karlsruhe: the Center for Art and Media Technology (ZKM) on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the Staatliche Hochschule für for Design (HfG).
The Siemens Cultural Program has been well aware of this development, and with its founding of the Media Art Prize a gap has been closed in the range of international prizes awarded in individual fields of art. The winner of the Medienkunstpreis is not determined in a contest; rather, the awarding of the prize is intended as an international distinction honoring outstanding artists, works of art or theoretical/analytical works that explicitly deal with the new electronic media or are critically involved with them. It thus emphasizes the importance of what has come to be a broad variety of genres in media art and of the impulse they provide to contemporary art in general. Besides granting comprehensive documentation, the Medienkunstpreis is endowed with a total volume of 100,000 DM, to be divided into different amounts and distributed among several persons in accordance with the the jury's decision. The Prize is awarded by a jury appointed by the ZKM Karlsruhe; currently, it consists of the following members: Klaus Peter Dencker, Hamburg; Wulf Herzogenrath, Berlin; Heinrich Klotz, Karlsruhe; Florian Rötzer, Munich; and Peter Weibel, Frankfurt.
The Media Art Prize was awarded for the first time as part of the biennial festival "MultiMediale", organized by the ZKM in Karlsruhe, on November 6th, 1993. In the years to come, this context as well as the biennial cycle are to be maintained.
By selecting Sabine Schäfer for the Medienkunstpreis, the jury this year for the first time has acknowledged the work of a musician and composer, to whom the use of computer technology has become a self-evident tool, and whose performance cyclus "TopoPhonien" has been meeting with growing interest in Germany in the course of the last three years. Sabine Schäfer has received a prize worth of 10,000 DM which was handed to her in person by Rainer Ortleb, Federal Minister of Education and Science, and Günter Danielmeyer, member of the board of directors of Siemens AG. Sabine Schäfer expressed her thanks with the first ever perfomance of her latest work, "TopoPhonicScenes", an installation consisting of sixteen loudspeakers, offering a welcome sound experiment in the old factory hall of the IWKA, the future home of the ZKM.