It’s a valid question. After all, competitions are great for those longlisted, shortlisted or who grab a prize and less fun for the rest. Still, there are some solid reasons to take the risk. First, every penny of Lumen’s entry fees goes toward the prize money, the awards programme and running the competition itself. As an independent, not-for-profit, we can guarantee that.
And if you do get through, good things will happen. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns but it does mean greater visibility for your practice, opportunities for commissions and more chances to show your to work. But don’t take our word for it. Please find the views of some past winners and finalists below.
Here’s Andy Lomas, who won the Gold Award in 2014:
Winning the Lumen Prize in 2014 had a big effect on my artwork practice. It’s the award that keeps on giving: from the events and exhibitions organised by the Lumen Prize together with related organisations. I believe that rather than restricting what computer art is with preconceived definitions, the Lumen Prize celebrates the diversity of possibilities that computers enable artists to explore.
The prize was an important enabler, allowing me to take my art practice to a higher level, and allowing me to give a much greater focus on my work. In the few years since I was fortunate enough to win the prize, my art practice has really taken off, from work exhibited at the Pompidou Centre, the V&A and the Royal Society, to work in the permanent collections including the V&A and the Computer Arts Society. I also now have the pleasure of working as a lecturer in Creative Computing at Goldsmiths University, and I’m about to go to Australia to spend time at the SensiLab, Monash University, and their work on the use of computers as a creative medium.
And this from Rachel Ara, a finalist in 2016:
The world of technology (and technology and art) is very biased towards men. What was so refreshing about working with the Lumen Prize, after being involved in the tech industry for decades, is that they didn’t treat you differently because of your gender. Generally, I believe women’s work using technology is different to men’s – we’re responding to different issues and concerns – and Lumen embraced this difference which many organisations don’t. This gave me confidence in my practice and working with them has led on to me exhibiting in larger venues like the Barbican, Whitechapel and V&A last year. In 2019 I’ll be showing in the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, the Vienna Biannual and doing my first public sculpture commission in London.
And lastly this, from Genetic Moo, who picked up their Lumen in 2013:
The 2013 Founder’s Prize came at an important moment for us. We had just run our first Microworld, a digital ecosystem project where the emphasis is on experimentation, collaboration and creating rich user engagement. To be awarded a prize in recognition of our “outreach and interaction with audiences” gave us a terrific confidence boost and encouraged us to continue developing our project and exploring ways to involve the public. Our large-scale experimental installations now have added creative coding workshops into the mix.
Through Lumen, we got our first gallery-based exhibition abroad; in Hong Kong, and our longest show; seven months at Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Halifax. Since winning, we have been commissioned to work on a number of ambitious events, are currently digital artists in residence at Dreamland, Margate and are continuing to work with Lumen on new and exciting projects.
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