Prix Ars Electronica 2018 Honorary mention for ArtScience alumnus Manuel Beltrán

12 June 2018

Congratulations to our recent BA ArtScience graduate and current MA ArtScience student Manuel Beltrán for receiving the Honorary Mention of the Prix Ars Electronica!

The jury - consisting of Victoria Vesna (professor at UCLA Media Arts and head of the UCLA Art|Sci Center), Karin Ohlenschläger (artistic director of LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial), Lubi Thomas (digital & new media artist), Maša Jazbec (artist, curator, academic researcher) and Minoru Hatanaka (head curator of the NTT InterCommunication Center) granted the honorary mention to the Institute of Human Obsolescence by artist Manuel Beltrán.

In their report they stated:

The role of human activities in the framework of the new digital economy and in relation to an increasing labor market dominated by machines occupies the Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO). The jury valued the relevance of this topic as well as the way this initiative puts into practice different interactive devices with which the user can experience first-hand what it means to perform biological labor or data production today. In each case the worker’s activity generates energy and information which is used by the digital industry without any consideration of data labor rights and remuneration for the use of others’ data and working force. In this context, IoHO raises some of the key questions concerning the rules and regulations of new labor markets in the digital age.

Read the full jury report

Manuel Beltrán
Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO)

'Machines are outing us. As it happened some time ago to horses after the invention of the steam engine, humans are becoming obsolete to perform mechanical labour. Soon, with the advance of artificial intelligence, it will also affect our possibilities to be useful workers performing intellectual labour. The IoHO explores this scenario and tries to ask questions on how to reposition the role of humans in society, particularly how to cope with a labour-market dominated by machines. Becoming obsolete will create a reality in which new forms of labour will emerge and flourish. Our aim is to explore, question and challenge scenarios of that transition.'

Beltrán's work creates new imaginaries of the future through a large body of collaborations with other data scientists, economists, activists and organizations. This body of work and research led Beltrán with his IoHO to initiate the Data Workers Union (DWU) in 2017, an international organization whose objective is to bring justice into the current unbalance of Data Labour Rights, positioning ourselves as data workers of a datafied society.

Prix Ars Electronica Award
The Prix Ars Electronica is one of the best known and longest running yearly prizes in the field of electronic and interactive art, computer animation, digital culture and music. It has been awarded since 1987 by Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria).

In previous editions of the Prix Ars Electronica the Honorary Mention award has been received by KABK teacher Arthur Elsenaar (1997), and former head of the ArtScience Department Edwin van der Heide (2001).

IoHO at the KABK Graduation Festival and Ars Electronica Festival in Linz
The work of the Institute of Human Obsolescence will be exhibited at the KABK Graduation Festival as part of Beltrán's Master ArtScience graduation project from 6 to 12 July and at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz (Austria) 6-10 September.