Although I missed two years or so, today marks ten years since I started working with Ars Electronica. I think this is my 16th time in Linz, Austria and for this reason I know Linz better than any other European city. I know taxi drivers, hotel staff, shop owners and it feels sort of like coming home when I visit now. I was on the first World Wide Web category jury in 1995 and we gave Idea Futures the Golden Nica that year. I remember getting a lot of "that's not art" feedback which marked the beginning of my struggle to forge my own definition of "art". The year after that we gave the award to etoy which continues to lead the way in the alternative digital art scene and with whom I continue to have a active relationship since meeting them at Ars Electronica. Last year Ars Electronica started a new category with the leadership of Howard Rheingold called Digital Communities and the two Golden Nicas went to Wikipedia and The World Starts With Me. I met Jimmy Wales and many of the Wikipedians for the first time at this Ars Electronica and we've become good friends since then. I've met many amazing people through this process and there are many people I ONLY see during the jury or the festival of Ars Electronica.
This year I am on the Digital Communities jury again and I've just started looking over the hundreds of projects we will be reviewing over the next few days. The jury is really hard work, but it is always a great way for me to catch up on all of the cool things going on on the Net and engage in rigorous discussion with fellow jury members about all of the projects. I both dread and look forward to this and imagine I will be drinking a lot of strong Austrian coffee.
I have a flickr set that I'll be adding to with photos.