Utopia is back in fashion. To mark their 25th anniversary, Ars Electronica has introduced a rather warm and fuzzy new category to be awarded alongside prizes for Computer Animation, Digital Musics, Interactive Art, and Net Vision. 'Digital Communities' will recognize projects with a socio-political agenda; the most important criteria are accessibility and empowerment. E-government, wireless LAN, urban development, gaming, even blogs - if it gets people involved in a social - even better, a socially conscious - activity, chances are it will qualify. The jury will be accepting submissions from private initiatives and public institutions until March 12th. Between the 'Fly Utopia,' the theme at this year's Transmediale, and Digital Communities, it seems we have come full circle. After taking on sex, shopping, and surveillance, the Net is going back to its roots. Utopia lives on. - Elizabeth Bard
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