26.10.2009, 6 p.m.
Christa Sommerer is one of the internationally renowned media artists working in the field of  artificial life (A-life), interface design and interactive computer installation. She originally studied biology (botany) at the University of Vienna and modern sculpture and art education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. She also studied in Staedelschule Institut for New Media in Frankfurt (prof. Peter Weibel). In 1992 Sommerer and her husband, Laurent Mignonneau, started their artistic, successful collaboration.

They work on the installations in which they use programs and visualizations simulating the evolution process – amongst them the most important works are: ”A-Volve”, 1994, (received the "Golden Nica" Ars Electronica Award for Interactive Art in 1994), which refers to the idea of artificial life, and the installation ”Life Spacies”, 1997, where the computer programme simulates the battle between the species. In “A-Volve” they used Onyx computer which is nowadays widely used for creating special effects in the movies. This work is simply a pure example of the idea how to create an interactive environment, brought to life by active actions of the spectator-and-co-creator of the artwork. The artists work together on designing unconventional interfaces, such as for example installation ”Interactive Plant Growing”, permanently installed in the Media Museum of the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, where the plants are the interface interactively creating graphics. The subject of their last projects (such as ”Mobile Feelings”, 2003) includes means of non-verbal communication. They look for the inspiration in so many different fields of knowledge such as biology, fine arts, installation, performance, electronic music, computer graphic, and theory of communication. Recently, they have been interested in the idea of the media façades, which has become more and more popular phenomenon in the landscape of the greatest cities in the world.

In 2009 Peter Weibel said: “Now, in era of,, and Second life the artists lost their 'license for creativity'. By using new media technologies everybody can be an artist this days.”

Therefore, we have to ask ourselves, what are the consequences of that situation for the artists, whose main aim is, indeed, to shift the boundaries of the interactive design and art. How do  technical aspects of works alternate their artistic ideas? And, last but not least, what can we learn from it and what conclusions can be drawn from the primary ideas and theories about the participation art; and what parallels can we see between artistic content and their realization as well as the impact on the mass products? While analyzing various interactive projects, we might ask these questions and therefore revise the idea of interactivity and participation from the artist point of view.  
Municipal Institution of Culture