Leyla-Nour Benouniche winner of Waag Technology Award

Each year, Waag awards the most promising graduate of the Royal Academy of Art The Hague (KABK) with the Waag Technology Award, consisting of 500 euros and a collaboration in our public program. 

Leyla-Nour Benouniche winner of Waag Technology Award 2020

With the artwork 'Just This Space-ship', Leyla-Nour Benouniche and her crew offer a space for rest: 'however far aggressive 'wokeness' has gotten us, to place it at the heart of social justice work is unsustainable,' she writes. To move past trauma, rest and healing are necessary. This is why 'Just This Space-ship' offers a hybrid place for rest and pleasure as necessary means of self-maintenance.

> More on Just This Space-ship

From the jury report:
'The work Just This Space-ship by Leyla-Nour Benouniche and her crew is an example of the very fragile social assumptions within our communities. The way we organise ourselves is one of the oldest technologies that we assume to control, yet usually fails to identify and address the most fragile members, relations and notions they bring to their communities. The voyage of Just This Space-ship through the internalised bias and pleasurable resistance is teaching us, how we, as individuals and institutions, can change to address the unprecedented times we live in. We were not trained for isolation, alienation and displacement. Yet, the crew of this space/friend-ship is fueling us with their honesty, humour and care required to ground ourselves into the unforeseen emerging realities.'

Second place

With the artwork 'Terms of Service', Christian Eckert got awarded second place in Waag Technology Award.

From the jury report:
'The work Terms of Service by Christian Eckert is an example of the invisible reality hidden in remote and inaccessible data centers. Through the last decade, our modern societies got digitised to a level on which our bodies don’t even matter anymore. What matters represent our digital twins, behavioural data and statistics? One of the ways society is acting responsibly in governing this invisible reality is through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that protects people’s rights. However, as identified by the artist Christian Eckert, the gap between regulation and citizens remain too vast to address the real-world concerns of these citizens. The interface proposed through his artwork demonstrates not only a plausible solution, but also more the sole need for citizen engagement into governing their digital selves.'

Third place

With the artwork 'Desiderium', Maarten Keus got awarded third place in Waag Technology Award.

From the jury report:
'The work Desiderium by Maarten Keus is an immersive audio-visual machine that takes visitors not only to the simulation of a storm on sea, but moreover into the aesthetics of our fears. Bare light in the center of the installation is supposed to offer some spatial reference, yet its distortion from restless winds rejects any comfort. As such, this work offers a unique opportunity to observe our fears from the monstrous wilderness our society too often tends to throw a blind eye. Comfort with our fears is a way of personal empowerment in the world of too many influences.'

About Waag Technology Award

In this time of unprecedented environmental and societal challenges, it’s our responsibility to take part in the emerging changes. Business-as-usual is at its limits. Living in an environmental and societal system, our control is limited to the quality of the relations we uphold with what we are dependent on. At Waag, we feel responsibility toward those we depend on: the artists. In the case of the art education and technology award at KABK, we are the ones who want to learn from the students. We kindly ask them to teach us their perspectives, notions, urgencies and concerns. As an encouragement, Waag awards the yearly Waag Technology Award to the most promising graduates of KABK.