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From Gjerding’s installation i London. Photo: Mikkel Kaldal

Presenting the winner of the Lumen Prize Nordic Award

News 28.10.2022

Danish artist Sophia Ioannou Gjerding received the prestigious award in London last week.

The Lumen Prize for Art and Technology is awarded every year in London to an artist who excels within art and technology. In 2020 Kunstsilo helped to establish a separate Lumen Prize for Nordic artists, and this year it went to Sophia Ioannou Gjerding from Denmark.

The main jury consisted of renowned curators and art historians within this field from, among others, the V&A Museum, the Tate Britain, and the Whitney Museum.

Gjerding received a cash prize of around NOK 10,000.

“The amount of the money is not what’s important about the Lumen Prize. Primarily, it’s about the attention that comes with it. People apply from all over the world and the award is recognised within the field of art and technology,” says Torill Haugen, Digital Advisor at Kunstsilo, who herself sat on the first jury and was also present at the award ceremony in London.

“Many of the artists working within art and technology don’t have a gallery representing them, and many museums are sceptical about taking in works from this field because doing so requires a lot of technical expertise. Interest in works within art and technology is certainly starting to change, and this also applies to the public. Perhaps it’s due to digital art receiving a lot of attention recently through the NFT explosion,” says Haugen.

From Gjerding’s installation i London. Foto: Mikkel Kaldal

Gjerding’s winning work Homage to Airway is based on a photograph from the 1920s showing a dog named Airway, who was part pet and part lab animal for two anaesthesiologists. Their tests on Airway led to the development of a device that opens a patient’s respiratory tract. This invention became known at Guedel’s Airway, which was named after the doctor and the dog involved.

Gjerding is interested in how fiction and facts are filtered together in the exhibitions of historical narratives and museum collections, and she uses a critical approach to reveal the codes, biases, and blind spots that are incorporated in contemporary culture. Her works often have a relationship to popular culture such as in, for example, the fictional narratives we encounter at the cinema, on streaming services or on gaming consoles.

Prize winner Sophia Ioannou Gjerding with Kunstsilo’s Torill Haugen.

Both digital art and digital art dissemination are focus areas that Kunstsilo is committed to, and Haugen says that the Lumen Prize helps open new doors for the museum.

“It gives us good insight into what’s going on in the field, in addition to access to a very exciting and interesting network,” she says. “In conjunction with the Lumen Prize, we curated an exhibition with Refik Anadol in 2020 after he won the Lumen Gold Prize. Our visitors still talk about that exhibition, and today Anadol is pretty close to being a superstar within digital art.”

The Lumen Prize was founded by Carla Rapoport in 2012. Its aim is to widen the understanding and appreciation of art created with technology and to create more opportunities for artists who explore technology.

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