The Third Annual Prix Net Art Winners

Winners of the Third Annual Prix Net Art: 

Eva and Franco Mattes

Porpentine Charity Heartscape

Bogosi Sekhukhuni

Clockwise from top:Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Bogosi Sekhukhuni, and Eva & Franco Mattes.

Jury Statement

For the last three years, Rhizome and Chronus Art Center (Shanghai) have partnered to present the Prix Net Art, a cash prize that goes to artists who are committed to working online and who represent important directions in contemporary net art practice. In the past, two artists have been awarded, but this year, after much deliberation, the jury—comprising Zhang Ga, Artistic Director of Chronus Art Center, Distinguished Professor at China Central Academy of Fine Arts; Lauren Cornell, Associate Director of Technology Initiatives and Curator at the New Museum; Christiane Paul, Associate Professor in the School of Media Studies at the New School and Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art; and Aria Dean, assistant curator of net art and digital culture at Rhizome—elected to recognize three recipients, each of whom will receive $5,000.

After considering a rich field of candidates nominated by the general public and invited expert nominators, the jury selected two artists and an artist duo who represent differently formulated but intersecting concerns and directions in the field of net art.

  • Eva and Franco Mattes (aka, collaborators since the mid-1990s, have continually made work that responds to and dissects the contemporary networked condition, always approaching the ethics and politics of life online with a humorous edge.
  • Porpentine Charity Heartscape creates fantastical hypertext narratives in which bodies suffer from, and work through, futuristic traumas, taking on new forms in the process.
  • Bogosi Sekhukhuni works collaboratively across multiple platforms to research and address questions of diaspora, pop culture, and repressed African spirituality through the lens of emerging technologies and network culture.

About Eva and Franco Mattes

EVA AND FRANCO MATTES (1976) are an artist duo originally from Italy, working in New York. Their medium is a combination of internet, video, and installation. Their work explores the ethical and moral issues arising when people interact remotely, especially through social media, creating situations where it is difficult to distinguish reality from a simulation. Group exhibition highlights include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2018); Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Mannheim (2017); Biennale Internationale Design Saint—Etienne (2017); Biennale of Sydney (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); Minneapolis Institute of Arts (2013); Site Santa Fe (2012); Sundance Film Festival (2012); MoMA PS1, New York (2009); Performa, New York (2009, 2007); National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2008); New Museum, New York (2005); and Manifesta 4, Frankfurt (2002). In 2001 they were among the youngest artists ever included in the Venice Biennale. Solo exhibition venues include Essex Flowers, New York; Postmasters Gallery, New York; Carroll/Fletcher, London; Site, Sheffield; PNCA, Portland; and Plugin, Basel. Mattes’ work is frequently in the media and has been written about in ArtforumFrieze Magazinee-flux journalThe New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. In 2016, they were recipients of the Creative Capital Award. They are faculty members at the MFA Fine Arts Department and the MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media Department of the School of Visual Arts, New York.

Explore Selected Works:

BEFNOED (2014- ongoing)
This work is a series of commissioned, anonymous webcam recordings of performances contracted via crowdsourcing services and dispersed to regional, obscure social media platforms around the world, as well as an installation in which monitors displaying the performances are placed awkwardly around the gallery (such as very close to the floor, or tilted against a corner), forcing visitors to assume contorted, performative positions in order to view the videos.
Life Sharing (2000-2003)
For Life Sharing, the artists made their private computers—including all files, from photos to emails to bank statements—fully accessible to the public via their website. Eventually they expanded the project further, wearing GPS trackers and allowing website visitors to see where they were located at all times.
No Fun (2010)
No Fun is a video of an online performance in which the artists simulated a suicide via webcam and recorded viewers’ reactions, probing how isolation, artifice, and distance influence online encounters.

About Porpentine Charity Heartscape

Porpentine Charity Heartscape is a writer, game designer, and dead swamp milf. She’s been displayed at EMP Museum, National Gallery of Denmark, The Museum of the Moving Image, profiled by The New York Times, and commissioned by Vice and Rhizome. She is a 2016 Creative Capital Emerging Fields and 2016 Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Story Lab fellow and a 2017 Whitney Biennialist.

Explore Selected Works:

Psycho Nymph Exile (2016)
In this multi-platform collaboration by Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Neotenomie, and Sloane, PTSD is a color-coded energy source that props up the universe; people vacation in dying parallel dimensions; and state IDs are tarot decks emanating from their psyches. The user pieces this world together with fragments that are distributed across various mediums, including an online hypertext work, a booklet, and stickers.
howling dogs (2012)
A Twine game and interactive story, howling dogs engages themes of escapism, reality vs. virtual reality, and trauma, while being designed for plural readings.
Beautiful Frog (2015)
Described by Heartscape as a “frog simulator,” Beautiful Frog is a text-only interactive fiction build on the Twine platform that allows players to guide a frog through its froggy life. Each turn marks the passage of a year in its life; black serifed text describes its various froggy experiences and milestones, while green text allows the player to make basic decisions like “hop,” “sing,” or “eat.”

About Bogosi Sekhukhuni

Bogosi Sekhukhuni, born in Johannesburg in 1991, is a lightworker and artist. He studied at the University of Johannesburg. Sekhukhuni is a founding member of the “tech-health artist group” NTU and is part of the CUSS Group collective. In 2015, Sekhukhuni showed work as part of the 89+ Prospectif Cinéma programme at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; “The Film Will Always Be You: South African Artists on Screen” at Tate Modern, London; “Co-Workers – Network as Artist” at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; and Filter Bubble at the LUMA Foundation’s Westbau in Zürich. Before that, he participated in a number of group shows in South Africa, including “In the night I remember” (2013) and “A Sculptural Premise” (2014), both at Stevenson. His first solo show was “Unfrozen: Rainbowcore” at Whatiftheworld in Cape Town in 2014. With CUSS Group, Sekhukhuni was included in “Private Spaces: Art After the Internet” at the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, in 2014.

Explore Selected Works:

Open Time Coven (2015-ongoing)
A collaborative “visual culture bank and research gang,” Open Time Coven explores African cosmologies and mythologies in a web-based studio practice.
Sekhukhuni is part of the collective NTU, an “an agency concerned with the spiritual futures of the internet,” which has made works including installations that seek to enhance user experiences of the internet.
Dream Diary (2014)
Sekhukhuni’s Dream Diary series are videos that seek to bridge gaps in the perception of what reality is through new media and the internet.

Prix Net Art is copresented by Rhizome & Chronus Art Center.
Additional support to Rhizome and Prix Net Art is provided by the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation.

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