Collecting Talent

Carla Rapoport

“If you can create a market for (digital) kittens, you can do it for digital art,” said Anders Petterson, author of the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report. “Millennials are comfortable with this kind of technology. There is the potential to open up an entire new ecosystem outside the traditional art world.”

Breathless quotes like this –which appeared in The New York Times recently – have been cropping up with increased regularity and, of course, it’s entirely possible that one day they may be true. In the meantime, it’s still fair to say that most art collectors prefer to buy art that can carry home – as opposed to files they download. Happily, this state of affairs isn’t putting off artists from creating the most heavenly work via digital means. And it’s pleasing to note that museums are continuing to collect born digital work, a trend which I’m pleased to report that Lumen prize artists are benefitting from .

Since highlighting the recent acquisition of Alexandra Handal’s web-based work by the Danish Contemporary Art Museum recently, I’ve discovered that a museum closer to home – The V&A –  has collected several works from Lumen Prize artists in the last 18 months.

Most recently, for example, the V&A, took two works from Fabrizio Augusto Poltronieri, a finalist for the 2017 Still Image Award, including his shortlisted work, Dionysios. And Lumen Prize finalist in 2014 & 2016, Ed Bateman has had a number of his prints collected by the V&A as well as institutions around the world, particularly in Asia. Both Poltronieri and Bateman’s works have been collected on paper, along with most born digital work so far. Paper is still so much easier to store, file and catalogue, than files, at least for today’s museum curators.

The largest acquisition of work by a Lumen Prize artist, however, bucks this trend. In 2016, Doug Dodds, V&A senior curator and Lumen Prize Jury Panel member announced the V&A would collect work from Lumen Prize 2014 Gold Award winner Andy Lomas’s show at Watermans in Brentford London called Morphogenetic Creations, a show curated by Irini Padamitriou, a 2018 Lumen Prize Jury Panel member. Tellingly, while this acquisition involved nine large format prints, it also included two multi-screen video works and one stereoscopic video work which were all provided in the form of files, together with a simple Android based 3D-printed stereo viewer that allows the work to be viewed without having to recreate the full original installation which was based on dual projection screens.

For the world’s largest art and design museum to take in files of this kind for storage, cataloguing, preservation and hopefully display, this isn’t a revolution. But it does mean a big shift in the right direction.

Alexandra Sophia Handal, Dream Homes Property Consultants (DHPC), Homepage, 2007-2016

Dream Big

Carla Rapoport


As the founder of Lumen, I’ve had the good fortune to see some extraordinary work over the years. But every so often, a work comes along that makes a indelible impression. Dream Homes Property Consultant (DPHC) is one such work.

Winner of Lumen’s People’s Choice Award in 2014,  DHPC is a website telling the stories of Palestinian refugees and exiles through the guise of a online property website. The impact of blending an e-commerce platform which such a moving topic can't help but strike the viewer head-on. The brilliantly-executed concept clearly moved the curators of the Museum of Contemporary Art Demark in a similar way, as they have purchased the work for its permanent collection, their first web-based acquisition.

The purchase is like a dream come true for artists working in this genre, as well as for Lumen which now has a web-based category in its annual competition. Alexandra Sophia Handal comments: “As artists working in new media can attest, art made specifically for the web demands a sustained technological upkeep that is near impossible without the support of an institution. In light of the fact that Jerusalem continues to be a divided city, having DHPC in the care of the museum guarantees that this collective testament will be preserved and accessible to the public for many years to come.”

From those of us working to build audiences for digital art,  a huge thank you to Museet for Samtidskunst for its valuable support.

But why not see for yourself? Dream Homes Property Consultants (DHPC) can be accessed here. And a video ‘tour’ can be viewed here.

View from the Lumen Matrix exhibition at Today Art Museum in Beijing

Big in Beijing

Carla Rapoport

Exciting News: Lumen Matrix, Lumen’s third show in China has attracted more than 2000 visitors in its first two weeks at Today Art Museum in Beijing with a stunning group of Lumen Prize winners and shortlisted works on display, including this year’s Gold Prize Winner, Plastic Reflectic by Thijs Biersteker of the Netherlands.

But we’re not surprised the show is a hit. Organiser and Exhibition Co-ordinator of the show is Gigi Guan, who started with Lumen as a University of Arts London  graduate student for Lumen’s 2014 London show at Chelsea College of Arts’ Triangle Gallery. Gigi graduated in 2016 and is now the proud owner of her own Shanghai-based arts company. She has brought together an incredibly impressive roster of academic, commercial and government backing for this show, led by the gracious Today Art Museum, founded in 2002 by Zhang Baoquan, CEO of Jindian Group,  a leading Chinese property company, and its Director, Alex Gao.

The first floor of the building, which is tucked into the uber-cool Beijing 22 International Art Plaza, is the perfect place for the 2017 Lumen Prize works. The show includes 10 prize winners, 5 shortlisted works, 2 works from 2016 Lumen Prize shortlisted artists (including O.T. 923 by Stefan Reiss pictured above) and a stunning installation, Danae, from our Russian partners, Cyland.

Our partners for this show included the Embassy of the Netherlands, the British Council in China, China Academy of Art, the digital frame group, Meural, Puti Communications among others.  Grateful thanks for all those who made it happen. The show is on until January 7th so if you are anywhere near Beijing – don’t miss it!


lumen prize waltham forest digital month digital art

East London Magic

Carla Rapoport

With Brighton Digital Festival now in our rear-view mirror, Lumen is returning in East London's Winns Gallery where we'll be opening our family-friendly Adventures of Digital Art show on November 15th as part of Waltham Forest's Digital Month.  This interactive exploration of digital art will allow visitors of all ages to be part of the creative process, turning themselves into artists by stepping inside, touching or speaking to prize-winning Lumen art.  

Come along between 10am to 5pm daily and move planets with Fabio Dartizio's 'A Desire to Stay in the Sun' or see your touch translated into blazes of colour by Rhythm, a touch-me, life-size interactive installation. Other works include Nathan Selikoff's Audiograph, a giant clock that responds to your voice; Abstract Playground API, a arcade game with a difference by Will Hurt; Blortasia, a Virtual Reality fantasy land created by Kevin Mack plus the projected playgrounds of FLORA by Philipp Artus and Multiples by Genetic Moo which form creatures and animations which will climb up the walls. 

The show's opening is Nov 15th from 6-8pm - do come and enjoy a drink and meet some of the artists. The event is free but please book your place here. There will also be free creative coding workshops for children by the talented due, Genetic Moo, on Nov 18th at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Links to book places can be found here

Adventures in Digital Art will run from Nov 15-21st daily. Hope to see you there!

Shanghai Nights

Carla Rapoport

Lumen shows are normally in galleries or art venues but every so often, our gigs go off-piste and into totally new spaces. Last August, Lumen was invited to take part in a one-night only event in Shanghai called OP ART MegaSens. As you can see from the photo above, it featured new wave music as well as incredible Lumen art. An amazing 1,500 people turned out to the Bandai Namco Dream Hall, a live music venue with one of the best sound systems in the city. 

Thanks to the curatorial skills of Lumen's Asia Exhibition Manager, Gigi Huan, three Lumen artworks were part of the show, including Stefan Reiss's inspiring mapping work from the 2016 Shortlist, O.T. 875, Nathan Selikoff's projected, interactive clock Audiograph also from the 2016 Shortlist and a specially commissioned AR work called SOLID from Gibson Martelli, the UK duo who won the Lumen Prize Gold Award in 2015, which you can see on the left and right of the picture above.

Mixing music and art into a performance like this shows the beginnings of where digital art can go in the future. As you most likely know, Lumen aims to be much more than an art prize and it's events like MegaSens that bring that ambition to life.

Our next stop in China will be in Beijing when our show Lumen Matrix opens November 24 at Today Art Museum. Watch this space for updates.


Lumen Prize Brighton Digital Festival 2017

Lighting up Brighton

Carla Rapoport

Lumen Prize Brighton Digital Festival 2017

No time to waste - there's still a few more days to catch Lumen's 2017 Winners show as part of the Brighton Digital Festival at The University of Brighton on Edward St. It's been a heady few weeks for the show and we've been delighted with the numbers of visitors to see the Lumen works on display - including Slide to Expose's own teenage bedroom complete with Augmented Reality triggers, the winking and whirring of Nemesis Machine by Stanza, the artificial intelligence work FRANK that wants to talk to you and the arcade game like not other, Abstract Playground API. We're particularly pleased to be partnering with Cyland Media Labs of St Petersburg which contributed the work pictured above - "0" - an interactive work which has delighted visitors thoughout the show. Also on display is a show reel of selected video works and the stunning Block Bills, winner of the 2017 Lumen Prize Still Image award.

The festival, of course, is still bursting with other great digital activities so a trip to Brighton (55 minutes from Victoria for Londoners) is a must for lovers of all things digital. Lumen remains open 12-5pm today, tomorrow and Friday - hope you can make it!

Shows like this take an enormous amount of organising, cajoling, persistance and imagination so just to add our grateful thanks to Brighton Digital Festival Organiser Laurence Hill and festival coordinator Melissa Ray for making this magic happen.

Smiles all round


It's been a heady ten days for Lumen, with the 2017 Awards announced last Wednesday and the first stop of the 2017/2018 Global Tour kicking off tonight at the Brighton Digital Festival. Pictured above is the hugely talented Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm of Denmark who won Lumen's very first award for Artificial Intelligence with FRANK, an artwork that wants to talk to you about love and life. The Award was presented in partnership with the British Computer Society which blogged about it this week, dubbing Cecilie's work Frankly Brilliant.

Other talented 2017 Lumen winners will be profiled on this blog over the next few months, along with a number of shortlisted works.  If you have a particular favourite you'd like to know more about, we'd love to hear from you at

In the meantime, if you want to see a selected of this year's winners and shortlisted works, get yourself to the University of Brighton, 154-155 Edward St, Brighton, BN2 0JG. The Lumen show is  on from 12pm - 5pm on 29 & 30th September, 4-7th October & 11-13th October. FRANK will be there too!



Charlotte Lee

On September 20th at The Frontline Club, London, $11,750 was presented in prize money to some of the world’s most pioneering digital artists at the 6th Annual Lumen Prize Awards. The winner of the coveted Gold Award is Plastic Reflectic by Thijs Biersteker. An interactive mirror installation that turns the spectator’s reflection into a silhouette made from hundreds of pieces of plastic, Plastic Reflectic shows that our behaviour directly influences the 'plastic soup' that contaminates our oceans.  

Other works that received special recognition included Zarah Hussain's ‘Numina’ which gives traditional Islamic patterns a digital overhaul and Isabelle Arvers machinima documentary ‘Heroic Makers vs Heroic Land’.

Find the full list of the 2017 Lumen Prize winners below:

2017 Lumen Prize Gold Award

Plastic Reflectic​ by Thijs Biersteker in collaboration with Plastic Soup Foundation, Front404 and Better Future Factory (The Netherlands)

Plastic Reflectic is an interactive mirrored installation that brings the ‘plastic soup’ in our oceans alive.  Provoking a new perspective on a pressing issue, the work addresses the heavy pollution of our waters and through interaction shows the audience that their own behaviour directly impacts our oceans.


2017 Lumen Prize Founders' Prize

Slide to Expose by Nicole Ruggiero, Molly Soda, and Refrakt (USA and Germany)

Slide To Expose is a collaborative augmented reality project by Nicole Ruggiero, Molly Soda, and Refrakt. The project explores digital intimacy, privacy, the concepts of life and death and asks how our devices aid, form, and reshape our perceptions of these experiences.


2017 Lumen Prize 3D/Sculpture Award

Reading Plan by Lien-cheng Wang (Taiwan)

Reading Plan is an interactive artwork composed of twenty three  ‘book flipping’ machines. When members of the audience enter,  the machines start to turn pages automatically and read the book at the same time.


2017 Lumen Prize Moving Image Award

Heroic Makers vs Heroic Land by Isabelle Arvers (France)

Heroic Makers vs Heroic Land is a machinima documentary set in the Calais Jungle, France. Using a game engine, Arvers has captured interviews with residents as the camp was dismantled by the French government.


2017 Lumen Prize Interactive Award

The Unfettered Language of Machines by Zheng Da (China)

The Unfettered Language of Machines is a five metre squared hypercube that captures your heartbeat.  The participant’s heartbeat is visualised by the installation through 240m of customised LEDs, creating a fantastic light display that reflects the visitors vital signs.


2017 Lumen Prize VR/AR Award

Nothing Happens by Michelle & Uri Kranot (Denmark)

A film and virtual reality project by animation directors Michelle and Uri Kranot, Nothing Happens invites you inside a singular calming universe filled with snow, black birds and poetry.


2017 Lumen Prize Still Image Award

Block Bills by Mathias Dorfelt (USA)

Block Bills is a series of 64 banknotes generated from the Bitcoin Blockchain. Each bill has been generated randomly and is based on the unique hash that identifies each ‘block’ on the Blockchain database. The value of each bill represents the approximate transfer volume of bitcoins of the corresponding block.


2017 Lumen Prize Web Based Award

The Desire to Stay in the Sun by Fabio Dartizio (UK)

Mapping out our solar system. The Desire to Stay in the Sun allows connections to be made between two different planets. As the planets orbit the sun, the maximum distance is maintained while their only connection is revealed through the spirographs.


2017 Lumen Prize People's Choice Award

Numina by Zarah Hussain (UK)

Numina gives traditional Islamic patterns a digital overhaul.  Bringing to life a usually static artform, Hussain maps animated geometric patterns onto a sculpture composed of tessellating pyramids arranged on a hexagonal grid.


2017 Lumen Prize Student Award


Capillaries Capillaries is an audiovisual work inspired by the creative and destructive forces of suppressed emotions. In the piece the suppressed emotion is represented by the algorithm that can never be heard or seen.


2017 Placemaking Special Commendation Award

Ad infinitum by David Glicksman and Moses Journey (USA)

Ad Infinitum is a kinetic sculpture that explores the relationship between discrete points. Using a row of steel ball bearings, with no visible support system, the work attempts to express pure, abstracted animation using as few elements as possible.


2017 BCS Artificial Intelligence Award

FRANK - ARTificial intelligence​ by Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm (Denmark)

FRANK is a super intelligent post-human being – a contemporary oracle that gives personal guidance regarding existential dilemmas. Using artificial intelligence the audience can have a direct dialogue with FRANK who answers with a humanised voice.

Introducing the 2017 Shortlist

Charlotte Lee

Lumen's jury panel is delighted to announce the 2017 Shortlist. This year the Prize received more than 800 submissions from 43 countries, and the Lumen team would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter - the standard was extremly high. The winner of the 2017 Lumen Prize Gold Award and this year’s category awards will be announced at The Lumen Awards ceremony on September 20th at the Frontline Club, London. Come along and be among the very first to see who will be taking home a share of this year’s record US$11,750 in prize money. You can RSVP to the event here. 

The 2017 Shortlist includes:

Interactive Award

Europa, Mon Amour by Lawrence Lek (United Kingdom)

Rhythm by Biwei Niu (United States)

The Sand Letter by Seeeklab (China)

The Unfettered Language of Machines by Zheng Da (China)

Abstract Playground AP1 by Will Hurt (United Kingdom)

Plastic Reflectic by Thijs Biersteker (Netherlands)


3D / Sculpture Award

The Nemesis Machine by Stanza (United Kingdom)

Numina by Zarah Hussain (United Kingdom)

Snail Trail by Philipp Artus (Germany)

Reading Plan by Lien-cheng Wang(Taiwan)

Ad Infinitum by David Glicksman & Moses Journey (United States)


Moving Image Award

Exodus by Acci Baba (Germany)

Heroic Makers vs Heroic Land by Isabelle Arver (France)

Divisional Articulations by Max Hattler (Hong Kong)

Midtown Flutter by Yuge Zhou (United States)

Maybe We’ll Have Another Chance by Francois-Xavier de Costerd (United States)

Whisper Diving by Michael Tan & FaltyDL  (Germany)



Still Image Award

After Fabergé by Jonathan Monaghan (United States)

Cherry Blossom and Mountains by Damien Borowik (United Kingdom)

CICADA by Michael Pantuso (United States)

Dionysus by Fabrizio Augusto Poltronieri (Brazil)

The Physical Location of Every Byte on My Hard-Drive by Jeff Thompson (United States)

Block Bills by Matthias Dorfelt (United States)



VR/AR Award

Wikileaks: A Love Story by Anna Ridler (United Kingdom)

Terratic Animism by Jakob Kudsk Steensen (United States)

Nothing Happens by Michelle & Uri Kranot (Denmark)

Slide To Expose by Nicole Ruggiero, Molly Soda & Refrakt (United States)



Web-based Award

Colonise the Cloud by Gretta Louw (Germany)

Solace by Evan Boehm & Nexus Studios (Canada)

The Desire to Stay in the Sun by Fabio Dartizio (United Kingdom)

AVENUE by Nicolas Sassoon (Canada)

Cells by Wayne Madsen (United States)



Artificial Intelligence Award

Pulse Breath Water by Kıvanç Tatar, Mirjana Prpa, Philippe Pasquier and Bernhard Riecke (Canada)

FRANK - ARTificial intelligence by Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm (Denmark)

true/false by Onformative (Germany)



The Placemaking Special Commendation

The Storm by ITHACA (United Kingdom)

Ad Infinitum by David Glicksman & Moses Journey (United States)

Within by Hirsch&Mann (United Kingdom)

Longlist Close-up: VR

Carla Rapoport

Virtual Reality burst into Lumen's view in 2015 with Michael Takeo Magruder's hauntingly beautiful New Jerusalem which won that year's Immersive Environment award. The category was changed to Mixed Reality in 2016, a term which didn't catch on, so this year, it's become the the VR/AR Award. A total of 8 stunning works using Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies made it to the 2017 Longlist, all of which break new ground. 

Pictured above is a clip from Hereafter Life by Gabe Barcia-Colombo, a Virtual Reality installation that allows the viewer to spend time with people who have passed away in a series of virtual spaces. As the artist explains, the viewer begins in a waiting room, "a stark white hallway filled with filing cabinets and a lone door. This is a modern mausoleum, a gateway to spaces in which we can remember the deceased virtually." Along the walls, he's put plaques with names and dates. Using gaze detection, the viewer can unlock a unique virtual afterlife behind the door. 

"Just as the ancient Egyptians were buried with their personal artifacts and commissioned books of the dead, these virtual environments contain the media that makes up our modern lives," explains Barcia-Colombo. Hereafter Life is a beautiful, moving work which extends VR technology into a very human space - one that couldn't come alive through any other media. It's another reason why digital art is such a game-changer for the contemporary art scene.