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Presenting the Nordic Lumen Award in 2022.

The Lumen Prize 2023: “An explosion in the development of digital art”

New Perspectives 20.04.2023

A Nordic Lumen Prize will be awarded for the fourth time to artists that explore the field of art and technology.

Digital art and its mediation will provide us with new, vibrant art experiences. This enterprise makes up a core element in what Kunstsilo plans to offer the public, which is why the museum has helped develop a separate Nordic Lumen Prize.

“During the last few years, we have seen an explosion in the development of digital art, as well as in the interest for this field. Right now is a good time to be working within it,” says Jack Addis.

Addis is the director of the Lumen Art Projects network, which champions digital art and the artists working within it. They are also behind the Lumen Prize, which is awarded in a total of twelve different categories. Due to the Prize, artists working within digital art receive attention and increased visibility.

From Sophia Ioannou Gjerding's Homage to_Airway, the winner of the Nordic Lumen Award in 2022.
“Homage to Airway” by Sophia Ioannou Gjerding, winner of the Nordic Lumen Award in 2022.

“The goal of the Prize is to convey the work that this type of artists do to a wider audience around the world. The Nordic Prize is now in its third year and so far we have had some exceptional recipients and nominees,” he says.

Last year, Danish artist Sophia Ioannou Gjerding received the prestigious award in London. This year the deadline for applying is the 26th of May. Read more about registering for it here.

External exhibitions

“Centaur” by Pontus Lidberg og Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrom, winners of the Nordic Lumen Award in 2021.

The Lumen Prize was launched in 2012 and since then the digital art landscape has changed significantly, not least due to the great interest shown for NFT art. Addis says that art and technology came to a crossroads during the Corona pandemic. He mentioned the Re:memory Exhibition featuring Refik Anadol and Sougwen Chung as an example, which was made in collaboration with what was then Sørlandets Kunstmuseum.

“Covid marked the beginning of a big change in how things were done. When we produced the Re:memory Exhibition at SKMU, we had to do everything externally. It was exciting and challenging for us, as well as for the artists. For them, it was the first time they had to do something like this,” he says. Here he refers to the significance of the development of blockchains and crypto currencies.

“New technology doesn’t usually make its first appearance in the art world. It is developed for another reason or application, often within an industrial context. However, this time technology found its way into the hands of the artists first. At the same time, traditional art institutions showed an increased interest in digital art. And due to big auction houses selling this type of art, a completely new group of artists have been able to blossom. We also see that a whole new type of collector has entered onto the scene who is quite interested in this new technology. This makes it possible to attain a completely different degree of closeness to the artists. The traditional chain that links collector, gallery and artist doesn’t really need to exist anymore. The whole process proceeds much more quickly and the structures behind sharing art means that the art market has to change and be more open,” says Addis.

More interest from museums

““Deux Mille Fleurs/ Two Thousand Flowers” by Søren Krag, winner of the Nordic Lumen Award in 2020.

Lumen Art Projects has developed a global network that includes over 400 artists. The organisation assists in curating exhibitions and generating new commissions as well as other things artists might need for developing professionally. After a long period marked by scepticism on their part and a lack of expertise in the area, several museums are beginning to open up their eyes towards the digital world.

“We work a great deal with regional museums and currently we are encountering much more interest in this field. In the past it was more difficult, but now in the UK it is becoming increasingly more common to have digital art at museums. At the moment, it is expected that institutions will feature it alongside their already existing collections.”

With digital art and art mediation, Kunstsilo aims to reach both new and already existing segments of the public. Their partnership with the Lumen Prize began in 2020, and in addition to the Re:memory Exhibition in 2021, they also collaborated together on Microworld in 2021.

“As a result of this partnership we hope that a good place for digital art in Kristiansand can be created, as well as the formation and development of a dialog within the Lumen Network between the artists from the Nordic region and the rest of the ones around the world. Collaborating with Kunstsilo and being able to support the growth of digital art in Kristiansand is exciting, and it is wonderful to see a museum that takes digital art seriously when they are drawing up plans for their new location,” says Addis.

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