Once again, Thomas Gegenhuber served as a member of this year’s PRIX Ars Electronica jury in the category of “Digital Communities”.
Since writing his Diploma degree thesis on the topic, Thomas Gegenhuber (JKU researcher, professor, and head of the Sustainable Transformation Management Lab) has been working on new forms of organization by examining and focusing on a variety of (digital) communities. Gegenhuber remarked: "When it comes to transformation processes, communities are a central form or organization. In the keeping with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, submissions to PRIX Ars Electronica reflect just how communities are trying to create a more life-enhancing world."
The PRIX Ars Electronica invites submissions to the "Digital Communities" category every two years. Gegenhuber added: "This year, too, we witnessed innovation when it came to just how communities can be organized." Two years ago, the PRIX was awarded to a leaderless protest movement in Hong Kong. This year, first place went to a project that enables impaired and vulnerable people to use robotic avatars so they can actively take part in social and economic life. Thomas Gegenhuber commented: "Particularly in times when virtual reality is 'hyped up', we have to ask ourselves: How can we apply digital technologies in a way that gives those who cannot leave their homes better access to a social life in the 'real' world?"
Additional awards were presented to projects such as Families for Freedom, which addresses war crimes in Syria, and CommonsCargoBikes, which is trying to popularize changes in mobility and utilizing cargo bikes. See: https://ars.electronica.art/prix/en/winners/digital-communities/, opens an external URL in a new window, opens an external URL in a new window for an overview of the project submissions.