Linz, Austria

Ars Electronica

Various Venues

The Web as new-millennium juggernaut is already an old anthem, and it was only slightly refreshed by a politically hip twist at the twenty-third annual Ars Electronica new-media festival. At a cost of nearly $1.7 million dollars and with 1,373 artists submitting work for the Prix Ars, which takes the Oscar-like form of the Golden Nica, the festival is no small affair. Still, like digital art itself, it has remained marginalized in the larger arena, and its codirectors, Gerfried Stocker and Christine Schöpf, took a calculated run this year at greater art-world relevance. Riding the coattails of Okwui Enwezor’s postcolonialist Documenta 11, they chose the catchy theme “Unplugged: Art as the Scene of Global Conflicts.” Africa was their focus, but their argument ultimately devolved to an imagined case of modem envy.

Throughout the festival, Stocker kept talking brightly about the utopian

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