Lecture: Gerfried Stocker, Director of Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria

Aalto's honorary doctor gives a lecture on his long career as an enabler and disseminator of the synergies of artists and technologists around the world.
Gerfried Stocker, Director of Arts Electronica
Photo: Ars Electronica

Gerfried Stocker, Director of Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria is being awarded an honorary doctorate as part of the forthcoming ARTS’ conferment ceremony on June 13th. This lecture is a great opportunity to come to meet and hear Gerfried’s story, based on his long career as an enabler and disseminator of the magic that is born from the synergies of artists and technologists around the world. 


Gerfried Stocker is a media artist and engineer in communication technology and since 1995 he has been artistic and co-managing director of Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria.

Pioneer of New Media
In 1990, together with Horst Hörtner, he founded the art and technology laboratory X-SPACE and realized numerous art projects engaging with interactive media, robotics and telecommunication which have been shown a.o. at ISEA, Siggraph, Expo 1992, Venice Biennale and Frankfurter Buchmesse. In 1995/96, together with a small team of artists and technicians, he developed the pioneering new exhibition strategies of the Ars Electronica Center and initiated, together with Horst Hörtner, the set up of the interdisciplinary research and development department, the Ars Electronica Futurelab.

Leading Ars Electronica to become a world-leading organization of art & technology
Under his leadership, the program for international Ars Electronica exhibitions was established from 2004, the Ars Electronica Archive from 2008, and together with Hideaki and Emiko Ogawa, Ars Electronica Japan from 2014. Together with Hideaki and Emiko Ogawa and the Japanese media agency Hakuhodo, he developed the Future Innovators Summit in 2014, a new format for interdisciplinary exchange that has since taken place in Linz and Tokyo.

From 2002, together with Reinhard Kannonier, the Rector of the Linz University of Art & Design, he established the Ars Electronica Campus Program. In 2006 TaiK’s Media Lab was invited to present the outcomes of its educational and research activities as the only department shown, that year, in the Campus exhibition. The extensive exhibition covered 2 floors of the University of Art & Design Linz and involved over 70 staff and students of the Media Lab. Under Gerfried Stocker’s leadership the Campus Program has been extended considerably over the last 10 years and, nowadays, more than 20 universities participate annually.

For the world-renowned Prix Ars Electronica, he developed the new Digital Communities category together with Ingrid Fischer and Andreas Hirsch in 2003, the Hybrid Arts category in 2005 and in 2014 the Visionary Pioneers of Media art category with Martin Honzik. In 2016, with a concept developed jointly with Martin Honzik and Veronica Liebl, he was able to strategically link the "Grand Prize of the European Commission for Science, Technology and Arts" (STARTS Prize) to the activities of Ars Electronica.

In 2005, he began the planning of the new and expanded Ars Electronica Center and led an international expert-team for the substantial makeover of the content, exhibits and education programs for the new center which opened in 2009. The Center is probably the world’s most significant and impactful public center, devoted specifically to the marriage of Art & Technology. In 2011, together with Arianne Koek, Stocker launched an Art and Science Residence Programme with CERN, which was later joined by ESO, ESA, Fraunhofer Institute and numerous European cultural institutions.

Since 2014, he has repositioned the Ars Electronica festival as a broad international platform against the massively growing interest in combining art and technology in the cultural, academic and business sector. As Artistic Director of Ars Electronica, he is responsible for the content and coordination of all Ars Electronica areas and branches, the development of the annual festival themes and programs, the development of new categories for the Prix Ars Electronica, as well as the curatorial management of the exhibitions for the Ars Electronica Center and Ars Electronica's international appearances. Together with Ars Electronica founders Hannes Leopoldseder and Christine Schöpf, he publishes the annual Ars Electronica Books and Catalogs.

Stocker has been a guest speaker at many international conferences and universities, including visiting professor at Osaka Art University, non-resident fellow of LISD at Princeton University and also a consultant for numerous international companies and organizations in the areas of creativity and innovation management. His most recent projects as an artist have included performances at Walt Disney Music Hall Los Angeles (2016), National Sawdust New York (2017), Abu Dhabi Music Festival and Bozar Brussels (2018).

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