Aesthetica Art Prize Call For Entries: Q+A with Student Prize Winner David Hochgatterer

David Hochgatterer won the Student Art Prize at this year’s Aesthetica Art Prize, with his installation sound bar, Time to X. Transforming the fourth dimension, time, into a geometrical expanse, the work relies upon the audience to move across a short audio file slice into short fragments mapped on a horizontal array of 96 loudspeakers played back simultaneously. We talk to David to discuss the prize in terms of his career and future plans.

A: Firstly, congratulations on winning the prize. What effect will this achievement have on your career, and how valuable has the experience been to you?
: Thank you! Its a huge honour for me that my piece got selected out of such a huge amount of applications. Especially when I look at the high quality of all the other works, it makes it even more valuable for me personally. As Aesthetica stands for high class art, its of course a huge point in my artistic CV as well. I have also met many interesting people from all over the world and even some new friends at the Art Prize symposium and the networking parties.

A: Time to X combines new technologies with contemporary art. What inspired you to create this piece, and how did it develop?
My inspiration to this piece is surely the concept of a multidimensional understanding of space in physics. I had that thoughts in my mind for a long time. Within my studies of Timebased and Interactive Media, I had to do a semester project at the university and that was the chance to develop that concrete project. There was quite a lot of research and “try and fail” experiments to do, so it took me nearly two years to bring the project to the final version.

A: Can you talk about your background as an artist, and how you came to work with technologically advanced ideas within art?
My professional background is in sound and light engineering at theatres, where I worked for 10 years before I started to study at the Art University of Linz. I also designed many stage sets, so I would say my basic way of artistic thinking could be found in exploring the perceptiveness of space. At the university, I’m able to extend my audiovisual and interactive media skills, which may be a reason why I love to use all different kind of media for my work.

A: Your piece is an interactive installation that plays with the notion of time. How challenging was it to create a fourth dimension that incorporates visual, physical and audio elements?
It was very challenging – that’s why I made it! One thing was the fact that video can be slowed down until standstill and you just see a still picture. As sound is an oscillating wave, its not really possible to slow it to zero, so that was one point to quantise it to “acoustical frames“ to make the project work the way I wanted.

The intention of the piece is to make people explore it and play around with it and to make them think about the philosophic question of hyperspace. The hardware is just necessary to run it so I chose a modest “form-follows-function” design. The most important part, the time-factor, is coming from the users movement in space – without the user it’s just a long box generating noise..

DH: Do you have any new projects or collaborations on the horizon?
Currently I have some smaller pieces in the make which will question the moving-image-display phenomen, and a bigger interactive light installation, but all of them yet in a very basic stadium.

The main thing I’m working on is a room concept for a friend’s STURM UND DRANG contemporary art gallery, which started as a pop-up gallery in Linz, Austria and will settle to a permanent location now. In less than two years the project developed from a small start-up gallery to one of Austria’s most fancy meeting points for young art, and in the new rooms we want to prepare the infrastructure for more focus on digital arts and offer classy young artists a functional playground for staging and selling their work.

Attracting thousands of entries from all over the world across a range of media, the Aesthetica Art Prize is a celebration of art from across the globe, and is now open for entries. It offers both emerging and established artists the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience, and further their engagement with the international art world. The Judging Panel enhances its position in the industry, bringing together specialists from leading cultural institutions.The Aesthetica Art Prize is open for entries until 31 August. To submit, visit

1. David Hochgatterer, TIME TO X, (2013-2014). Courtesy of the artist.