Crista Sommerer is an internationally renowned media artist and researcher and pioneer of interactive art. Sommerer studied botany and anthropology at the University of Vienna and sculpture at the University of Fine Arts Vienna. Her artistic partner Laurent Mignonneau studied video art at the Academy of Fine Arts Angouleme, France. They met at the Institute for Media run by media pioneer Peter Weibel in 1991. After an artist-in-residency at the NCSA National Center for Supercomputing Application, Beckman Institute, Urbana, IL USA and at the NTT-ICC Inter Communication Center, Tokyo Japan they worked as researchers at the ATR Advanced Telecommunications Research Laboratories in Kyoto and at the IAMAS Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in Ogaki, Japan. They studied at CAiiA-STAR at University of Wales College of Art, UK and at Kobe University, Japan.
Currently Sommerer is a professor and head of the department for Interface Cultures at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria. Sommerer and Mignonneau have jointly created around 20 interactive artworks, for which they received numerous awards such the 2012 Wu Guanzhong Art and Science Innovation Prize (for “Escape”) awarded by Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, the Golden Nica Prix Ars Electronica, the Ovation Award of the Interactive Media Festival Los Angeles, the Multi Media Award’95 of the Multimedia Association, Japan, the World Technology Award – Finalist in The Arts of the World Technology Network, UK and the PRIZE 2008 – uni:invent Award by Ministry of Science and Research in Austria.