American artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson has been awarded the 2010 d.velop digital art award [ddaa]. Given biannually by the Digital Art Museum [DAM], Berlin, Germany, this international prize honours an artist’s lifetime achievement in the field of new media.
In addition to receiving a monetary award (20,000 Euro), Hershman Leeson will have a retrospective exhibition accompanied by a catalogue at the Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany. The [ddaa] is the most prestigious lifetime award to be given to artists in digital arts.
Lynn Hershman Leeson is the fourth artist to win the [ddaa].
This year’s jury included Prof. Dr. Wulf Herzogenrath (Director of Kunsthalle Bremen), Dr. Norbert Nobis (Deputy Director of the Sprengel Museum in Hanover), Kelli Dipple (Curator Intermedia Art, Tate Modern, London), Stephen Kovats (Artistic Director of Transmediale, Berlin) and Wolf Lieser (Director of the Digital Art Museum [DAM], Berlin).
Past winners are Vera Molnar (Hungary/France, 2005), Manfred Mohr (Germany/USA, 2006) and Norman White (Canada, 2008).
Lynn Hershman Leeson (* 1941) has been at the forefront of new media art since the 70s, investigating issues now recognized as key to contemporary society: protection of privacy, gender role, and the changing concept of identity in the age of virtuality. Very often, she acts as a non-linear storyteller, showing the loneliness of people in a world of mass communication systems. Her work makes use of alter egos, puppets and agents, and artificial intelligence. As a pioneer of interactive work, her oeuvre includes performance, film, photography, site-specific installations and digital media.
One of Hershman Leeson’s most notorious projects includes Roberta Breitmore, a fictional persona, created and enacted by the artist from 1973 – 79, and which anticipated virtual avatars. Hershman Leeson has been responsible for a number of technological innovations, including the first interactive computer-based artwork with Lorna (1983-84) and the artificial intelligent web agent DiNa (2006).
Her three feature films with Tilda Swinton – Conceiving Ada (1997), the first movie to use virtual sets; Teknolust (2002); and Strange Culture (2007) – were shown at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and Berlin International Film Festival, and won numerous awards.
Hershman Leeson has just completed !Women Art Revolution, a feature-length documentary to be released next year.
Hershman Leeson’s work is featured in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the William Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, the ZKM (Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe), The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, The Tate, London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery in Canada, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and The Hess Collection, California, among others.
Most recently, Hershman Leeson received the 2009 SIGGRAPH Lifetime Achievement Award and a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship. She is also the recipient of grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital Foundation, the Siemens Media Art Prize, ZKM, the Flintridge Foundation Award, the Prix Ars Electronica and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In 2004, Stanford University acquired the artist’s working archive.
Lynn Hershman Leeson is Chair of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute and Emeritus Professor at the University of California, Davis. She lives and works in San Francisco.
Lynn Hershman Leeson was nominated by Laura Sillars of FACT, Liverpool. Further nominees were Roy Ascott (nominated by Rudolf Frieling, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), Hiroshi Kawano (nominated by Yoshiyuki Abe, pioneer of computer art from Japan), Lillian F. Schwartz (nominated by Barbara London (Museum of Modern Art in New York) and Roman Verostko (nominated by Douglas Dodds, Victoria & Albert Museum in London).
Initiated in 2005 by Wolf Lieser of the Digital Art Museum [DAM], the d.velop digital art award [ddaa] is assigned in close partnership with Kunsthalle Bremen, and is possible through the sponsoring of d.velop AG in Gescher, the Hauptpharma AG in Berlin as well as by the agency kommunikation lohnzich in Munster, Germany.
The award ceremony will take place on Sat., 9th October 2010, at the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin, Germany.
For further information visit www.ddaa-online.org or www.dam.org