Floris Kaayk wins Art+Technology Award 2017

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Dutch digital artist Floris Kaayk is the winner of this year’s Witteveen+Bos Art+Technology Award. Kaayk is a master in creating futuristic fairy tales and nightmares, which often engage a wide audience thanks to his inventive use of various digital platforms. Through his work, he encourages people to reflect on technological developments and their possible consequences. International engineering and consultancy firm Witteveen+Bos will present the Award on 2 November in the Bergkerk Church in Deventer, the Netherlands, where Floris Kaayk will also open a retrospective of his projects.

The jury is full of praise for Kaayk’s work: ‘He balances precariously between science fact and science fiction, confronting his audience with their own credulity, fears and limitations, while also revealing the political and societal implications of our common ambitions for the future.’ By presenting the Art+Technology Award to Floris Kaayk, the jury – which consists of Maria Verstappen (Chair), artist and former winner of the Award; Arie Altena, publicist at V2_Lab for the Unstable Media; and Olof van Winden of TodaysArt – is for the first time honouring an artist who actively uses the Internet and social media as an essential element in his work.

Floris Kaayk (born in 1982 in Tiel, The Netherlands) is receiving the prize for his entire oeuvre. He graduated cum laude from the animation department of AKV | St. Joost School of Fine Art and Design in Breda, and gained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. He first became known to a wider audience with his fictional ‘semi-documentaries’ The Order Electrus and Metalosis Maligna. In 2011, his film The Origin of Creatures was selected as the Dutch entry for the Oscars in the Best Animated Short Film category. In that same year, Kaayk made headlines with the social media videos and weblog of his alter ego, Jarno Smeets, who claimed to be the first human able to ‘fly like a bird’. International TV stations used the images in their news programmes. In March 2012, Kaayk revealed on the popular Dutch TV show De Wereld Draait Door that it was all a hoax. His experimental online project The Modular Body (2016) visualises a future where a prototype of the human body has been designed and created using 3D printing and cell culture technologies. The videos featuring the central character ‘Oscar’ – a prototype ‘modular man’ made up of various self-assembly modules – are frighteningly realistic.

The Witteveen+Bos Art+Technology Awards consists of a cash prize of € 15,000, a publication on the winning artist’s oeuvre, and a month-long exhibition. Kaayk previously won the Volkskrant Visual Arts Prize (2014). In 2015, his video for the song Witch Doctor by Dutch alternative rock band De Staat received numerous prizes, including a UK Music Video Award, an Edison Pop Award, and a European Music Video Award. In 2016, The Modular Body won a Golden Calf Award at the Netherlands Film Festival in the ‘Best Interactive Work’ category.

To mark the occasion, Kaayk is putting together a retrospective of his work for the first time. The exhibition FLORIS KAAYK will be open to the public from 3 November through to 3 December 2017 at the Bergkerk in Deventer.