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European Commission's S+T+ARTS Prize winners announced

Irish Richard Mosse's film Broken Spectre was one of the prize winners
Irish Richard Mosse's film Broken Spectre was one of the prize winners Copyright WWD/Getty
Copyright WWD/Getty
By Saskia O'Donoghue
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Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Richard Mosse won the Grand Prize of the European Commission, which honours Innovation in Technology, Industry and Society stimulated by the Arts

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The two winners of this year’s S+T+ARTS Prize have been announced, following an intense judging process.

The UK’s Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Ireland’s Richard Mosse scooped the top gongs, winning the Grand Prize for Artistic Exploration and for Innovative Collaboration respectively.

The prize is part of the S+T+ARTS - or Science, Technology and the Arts - initiative, which has been funded by the European Commission since 2016.

The programme honours the best of innovation in the technology, industry and society fields which has been stimulated by the arts.

It focuses on projects which strive to improve economical, ecological and social challenges currently facing Europe - as well as those which will become apparent in the near future.

Using an artistic viewpoint at its core, S+T+ARTS aims to support innovation in ICT, using a holistic and human-centred approach.

Judged by a panel of experts including Spanish art historian Mónica Bello, Italian computer scientist Francesca Bria, EIT CEO Bernd Fesel who hails from Germany and Austrian Dr. Meinhard Lukas, a professor of civil law, the two winners triumphed over 1637 applications from 78 countries that responded to an open call launched in January 2023.

Ginsberg won the prize for her work Pollinator Pathmaker, which is based at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
A view of the Pollinator Pathmaker online toolAlexandra Daisy Ginsberg

The remarkable piece of work is a permanent 55-metre-long living artwork which explores the vital role of pollinators including bees, moths and beetles.

Ginsberg took an artistic approach to the project which uses a specially designed algorithm and specially curated palette of plants to bring public attention to the current plight of pollinating creatures and the importance of maintaining their existence for the sake of humanity.

There has been a dramatic decline in pollinating insects over the last 40 years as a result of increased use of pesticides, habitat loss, climate change and invasive species and the Pollinator Pathmaker is set to be emulated in gardens across the UK and Europe.

Richard Mosse
A film still from the prize winning Broken SpectreRichard Mosse

Richard Mosse, who hails from Ireland but is based in New York, was awarded with the prestigious prize for his work Broken Spectre.

Created from 2018 to 2022, it’s an immersive, 74-minute film which documents destruction, degradation and environmental crimes in the Amazon Basin and its related ecosystems.

Using an array of photographic techniques, Mosse and his team show instances of illegal mining, logging and burning, industrial agriculture and indigenous activism alongside the increasingly stark rainforest which has been destroyed bit by bit in recent years.

Scientific studies have often predicted that the Amazon is close to reaching a tipping point where it would not be able to generate rain, resulting in mass forest dieback and carbon release at devastating levels, impacting life as we know it.

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Richard Mosse
Viewers watching the immersive Broken SpectreRichard Mosse

The project came at a time when Jair Bolsonaro was the president of Brazil. Under his rule, he was widely criticised for decimating the country’s environmental protection agencies and opening the floodgates of deforestation which exponentially accelerated the Amazon's destruction.

He lost his premiership last year so there is still hope for the ecosystem - and Mosse’s work will only encourage those in charge to treat nature with the respect it deserves.

Between 2016 and 2022, the S+T+ARTS initiative has funded some 151 residencies to the tune of €4.5 million as well as honouring a further 208 projects.

It’s very much in demand - over the course of those seven years, there have been an impressive 14,291 submissions from a total of 96 different nations across the globe.

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