Emerging Digital Artists Award Recognizes Alyssa Bornn

EDAA is Canada’s first digital art award designed to create opportunities for those working in digital media.

The Emerging Digital Artists Award (EDAA) is Canada’s first digital art award designed to foster experimentation and create opportunities for those working in digital media.

Launched in 2015, the prize is supported by EQ Bank* – an all-digital financial institution with a love for technologies unfamiliar to the analogue world, the aim of which is to bring attention to the work of artists pushing boundaries in digital space.

The program brings to the fore emerging artists who haven’t been given the adequate attention or institutional accreditation just yet. “When we came across the funding gap for artists working exclusively on-screen, “ the EDAA’s mandate says, “we knew we wanted to help.”

This year’s winning project was awarded to Winnipeg-based artist Alyssa Bornn for her project ‘More, Less, About the Same’ (2019), which the jury recognized for its ability to reimagine text and digital image.

Using a piece of equipment designed to subtitle video inputs, an old video subtitling machine, Bornn’s work uses reimagined text and images producing new forms. Sequenced by a Videonics Titlemaker 2000, the work lays bare complex questions about what is gained and lost in digital images.

Bornn’s work exists at the intersection between digital/analog media, making use of a process known as transference by looking at what is gained or lost in digital media. It also reflects on the idea of interchangeability between words and images, animating the space between language and aesthetics in a way that becomes both real and imagined, sculpted and programmed.

This year’s judges included Christina Battle, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Meagan Byrne, Emily Fitzpatrick and Lindsay LeBlanc, who saw in the other nominees a strong trend towards digital and analogue.

“While reviewing the 2019 submissions with this year’s jury, we saw this parallel between physical and digital spaces being explored and expanded. Analogue and digital processes, too, collided in creative works that challenged our expectations for the genre. Artists are questioning what a virtual environment can be, while offering critical reflection on the inherent power structures embedded within digital and physical landscapes. Perhaps the codes and systems that wood represents are not such a far cry from the binary sort, after all. “

Other finalists this year included Jordyn Stewart, Claire Scherzinger, Ahreum Lee and Colton Hash. All of those shortlisted were given a chance to exhibit their work at Trinity Square Video from September 6 – 28.

The Emerging Digital Art Award (EDAA) is the only annual digital art event in Canada recognizing the contribution of screen-based artists.  

Also published on Medium.

Dorian Batychka
Dorian Batychka
is a journalist and curator. In addition to contributing to numerous publications such as Frieze, Hyperallergic, Canadian Art and Mousse, he has curated exhibitions and projects at the Venice Biennale and Bait Muzna in Oman.