Grau, head of the Department for Image Sciences at Danube University Krems was awarded the Lower Austrian Prize 2019 for his engagement in developing visual sciences and media art research. Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the Governor of Lower Austria, handed over the award in the course of the Lower Austrian Science Gala which was held in Grafenegg on 9 October 2019.
The award underlines the status as well as the importance of Prof. Dr. Dr. hc Oliver Grau work of MAE reaching beyond regional bounds. As a pioneer within the German-speaking countries in the field of image sciences/media art, Grau created the world conference series MediaArtHistories by contributing publications, online archives[l1] , study programs and therefore established first structures. "We always wanted to build bridges between the past and present, tradition and modernity aiming for a better understanding of each other hence our transdisciplinary work on the digital image and media revolution. Today, the focus is on the complex system of digital images," says Grau.
The Department is woven into a larger network due to cooperation with international museums, archives and media as well as (media) artists and institutions in the humanities and cultural sciences. Since research and documentation of media art has become such an important matter the largest scientific online archive of digital art – on international comparison – is operated from Lower Austria for 14 years. Artists and Scientists collaboratively document complex digital artworks in Archive of Digital Art (ADA) and bring them on display in virtual exhibitions. A further essential competence of the department is to digitize cultural heritage. The “Graphische Sammlung Stift Göttweig-Online”, naming an example, is a best practice model regarded from an international point of view.
Research and teaching take up the transformation processes in culture, science and political iconography. In addition to art and cultural studies analysis, the focus is also on research on the reception and immersion of the visual - from art to popular and scientific culture to social networks. Grau has published nine books and anthologies, including "Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion", internationally the most cited monograph in art history since 2000, and 81 into 14 languages translated scientific articles. Beside he gave more than 300 keynotes and lectures in over 60 countries. With the Department for Image Sciences, he developed programs such as Digital Collection Management, Visual Competences, and the Master of Media Art History, from which the EU-funded Erasmus Joint Master of Excellence MediaArtsCultures emerged.
Career and Honors
Since 2005 Grau has been heading the Department for Image Sciences at Danube University Krems. Prior to that, he was head of research at Humboldt-Universität Berlin, where he received his doctorate in 2000 for the project "Art and Media Theory of Virtual Reality". He has worked in research labs in Japan and Korea, and has held deputy professorships at the University of Art in Linz, where he completed his habilitation, and at the University of Siegen. In 2014 Grau received an honorary doctorate for his services and was elected to the Academia Europaea - currently containing 70 Nobel Prize winners - in 2015.
About the Lower Austrian Science Awards
Since 1964, the Province of Lower Austria has been awarding its science prizes for special achievements to researchers working in various disciplines. Each year the awards are ceremoniously presented at the Science Gala.