ZKM AppArtAward 2016

Cover of the brochure of the AppArtAwards 2016
Type of publication
Publishing house, place
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe

Since the launch of the AppArtAward in 2011 several hundred apps have been received for the competition from developers in 44 countries on all continents. The aim: to establish the app as a new art form. It is the omnipresent and universal tools of mobile computing, the smartphone and the tablet, that has made this possible; they have enabled hitherto separate art genres and media to be brought together and presented at any time and anywhere in the world.

Until these universal tools became reality - the dream of a synaesthetic gesamtkunstwerk comes true - it was a long road. In 1943 IBM Chairman Thomas J. Watson is reported to have said "I think there is a world market for about five computers." Forty years later, Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, vowed to work toward the goal of a computer in every school in America.1

Today, the general public has ubiquitous access to online communication, applications, and also art in the form of apps. Apple's introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the first app store in 2008 played a key role in this development. Since then not only the production of artworks is personalized, but also their distribution.

The beginnings of Apple and many other high-tech firms in Silicon Valley forty years ago had close connections to the countercultures of the hippie movement and Flower Power and of the earlier Beat Generation, who made all kinds of experiments to expand the mind from taking psychedelic drugs to utilizing technological media. Counterculture led directly to cyberculture.2 To document these tendencies and their influences on contemporary art has been part of the program of ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe since its very inception. In the meantime, just how far this technical expansion of consciousness goes is vividly demonstrated by this year's AppArtAward, inter alia with the Special Prize for Virtual Reality. The evolution of art from

the static panel painting to the film's moving images continues with the immersive, interactive environments of Virtual Reality in which people can move around like they do in the real world. Thus, in its sixth year the AppArtAward, initiated by ZKM | Karlsruhe and the CyberForum, keeps abreast of the changes and developments of our times and asserts its position as a global platform for digital innovations.

– Peter Weibel & Christiane Riedel


1] David E. Sanger, "The Computer Develops Some Glitches," in: »The New York Times«, 9 January, 1983, online: http://www.nytimes.com/1983/01/09/education/the-computer-develops-some-glitches.html, 6/27/2016.

[2] Fred Turner, »From Counterculture to Cyberculture. Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism«, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2008.



German and English
50 p.

CyberForum e.V.


Preissponsoren/Sponsors of the awards: CAS Software AG ; MFG, Innovationsagentur Medien- und Kreativwirtschaft ; Share BW ; SAP

Medienpartner/Media partner: arte CREATIVE; Holomagazin ; Creative Applications Network ; TECHTAG


Key topics