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Artificial intelligence and art. Creative digital design in Vienna.

Third Impact © S()fia Braga

In addition to its ongoing funding programmes and a wide range of free services for creative companies, the Vienna Business Agency regularly organises competitions to support creative endeavors. The most recent of these was the Content Vienna competition, which called for creative, digital projects in development – from games to virtual reality and artificial intelligence. This year, production grants of 10,000 euros each were awarded five times, and in addition, three projects received special prizes.

VIENNA ART WEEK speaks with Elisabeth Noever-Ginthör, Head of the Vienna Business Agency’s Creative Industries Department, and Jutta Scheibelberger, Project Manager of Content Vienna, who is also responsible for media, the art market and international networking at the Vienna Business Agency.

Elisabeth Noever-Ginthör & Jutta Scheibelberger © Vienna Business Agency, Karin Hackl

In your work you deal with innovation in creative industries. What new developments are you seeing at the intersection with other sectors?

Elisabeth Noever-Ginthör: Creatives are considered pioneers, especially when it comes to thinking ahead and creating new opportunities. More and more, we are witnessing how new technologies and innovations are creating new opportunities for the creative industries. By pushing the boundaries of what was previously thought possible, new technologies enable growth and transformation. These innovations are often the result of synergies between institutions, creative companies or creatives.


Since 2009, the Vienna Business Agency’s Content Vienna competition has supported creative digital productions from Vienna. What are some of the current trends that you are observing in this field?

Jutta Scheibelberger: Every year at Content Vienna we experience the wide range of digital design in Vienna and were once again impressed by the variety and quality of the submissions. In total, around 1400 projects have been submitted to Content Vienna and more than 150 have been awarded, so far. This year, there were a large number of entries that made impressive use of artificial intelligence (AI).

One such example is S()fia Braga‘s “Third Impact”, a project that received the Content Vienna production grant. The result will be an AI-generated short film that shows the future of human and non-human collaboration from the perspective of a quantum computer. S()fia Braga explores digital and post-digital practices through the creation of speculative fables. Her work explores themes such as transhumanism and transmedia.

Stephanie Meisl and KimkaVienna are also exploring AI and film in their project “AI Metropolis”. The aim is to use AI to create a new interpretation of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”. The question is the same one that Fritz Lang asked almost a century ago: how can we deal with technological innovation as a society? “AI#Metropolis” not only shows new ways of using AI in creative work, but also aims to contribute to the transfer of knowledge and skills. A series of workshops will be held to explain the possibilities and limitations of these technologies. This project received a special prize for digital literacy.

Another exciting trend is the combination of digital design and biotechnology. This can be seen in artist and researcher Ekaterina Kormilitsyna‘s project “Symbiotic Devices”. In her prototyping project, technical devices are constructed as sculptures with biological qualities. Ekaterina Kormilitsyna works in the fields of digital media, film, technology and socio-political research and plans to realise the project in collaboration with BioClub Tokyo, FabCafe Taipei and the MIT in Boston. She works at many intersections.

AI#Metropolis © s.myselle

How does Content Vienna award its prizes?

Elisabeth Noever-Ginthör: Production grants and special prizes are awarded by a different jury each year, based on criteria such as creative and artistic quality and an assessment of the plan for implementation. In partnership with Advantage Austria and its director for the creative industries, Reanne Leuning, we also offer the unique opportunity to be part of the Austrian delegation to South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.


Can you tell us more about the special prize on the topic of digital literacy? Why is this topic important for the Vienna Business Agency?

Jutta Scheibelberger: New technologies create new opportunities and require new skills. “Digital literacy” describes the ability to use, understand and critically evaluate digital technologies. This is important because it is closely linked to the nature of democracy. In a digital society, access to information and the ability to comprehend and assess it are crucial.

The aim of the Content Vienna digital literacy special prizes is to promote outstanding creative contributions that strengthen the digital competence, understanding of democratic processes and self-empowerment in the digital space. In cooperation with the Vienna Media Initiative, we were able to support the “Gemeinsam smart” (“smart together”) project of Vienna-based association relevant. As an example of solution-oriented journalism, the platform aims to contribute to a better understanding of socio-politically relevant data and information.

Symbiotic Devices © Ekaterina Kormilitsyna

Combining creativity and technology is also central to your Culture & Technology focus. What can you tell us about that?

Elisabeth Noever-Ginthör: Our Culture & Technology project focuses on the impact of the latest technological and societal developments on the cultural sector and supports collaboration between technology-oriented creative companies and cultural institutions.

In addition to the Creative Days, which we have been organising on this topic since 2019, and the Culture & Technology Podcast, in which we discuss how digital technologies are shaping the future of cultural experiences and opening up new opportunities together with experts. We also launched a funding focus on this topic in 2022. Together with Museum Booster, we researched the needs of museums and published the White Paper Culture & Technology. Based on this, we launched a funding call for proposals aimed at stimulating creative digital applications in arts and culture. With the Culture & Technology: Museum Focus call, we supported digitisation projects of Viennese museums in cooperation with creative technology companies. 2024 will see a continuation of this under the name “Culture & Technology: Focus Festivals”. We are planning to support innovative projects of festivals in cooperation with creative companies in Vienna.


What other types of support does the Vienna Business Agency have to offer on the subject of digital design and multimedia?

Elisabeth Noever-Ginthör: The Vienna Business Agency offers a broad, ongoing portfolio of funding for Viennese companies in all phases. In the creative industries, for example, we support the implementation of creative products and services with up to €150,000, and up to €200,000 starting from 2024 The Startup Grant provides founders with living expenses for a period of six months as well as coaching, consulting and networking services. The Vienna Media Initiative supports journalistic projects. Content Vienna, the competition for digital design, will open again in 2024 as part of the Creative Days, which will be taking place on the 5th and and 6th of June.

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