ASTA is organized by the team behind the Geek Picnic festival in collaboration with ITMO’s Art & Science Center, home to Russia’s first-ever Master's program in science art. The competition is also supported by the Presidential Foundation for Cultural Initiatives.

ASTA’s main goal is to support students and graduates of Russian universities who are trying to combine arts and technology in their work and thus help to develop and popularize this new art form in Russia. The contest’s jury includes leading Russian figures in the field of art, science & technology, such as: Ippolit Markelov, the founder of the art group “18 Apples”; Egor Kraft, a multimedia artist, Dmitry Bulatov, an art theorist; Olga Vad, a curator; Alexei Shulgin, a pioneer of Russian new media art; Natalia Fuchs, an art historian and curator; Elena Demi-dova, a multimedia performance artist; and ::vtol::, a multimedia artist.

The contest was open to students and graduates of Russian universities who work at the intersection of arts, science, and technology. Submissions by both individuals and groups were allowed. The award has seven categories: 

  • Artificial Intelligence

  • Performance Art

  • VR / AR 

  • Neurotechnological Art

  • BioArt

  • Robotic Art

  • New Media Art

The applications were closed on January 5, with more than 170 submissions by students and graduates from leading Russian universities, such as Far Eastern Federal University, Kazan Federal University, M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, The National Research Tomsk State University, The Saint Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, ITMO University, HSE University, and others.

According to the organizers, the category New Media Art received the most submissions, including video-, sound-, and game-based artworks, along with kinetic interactive installations and other art pieces.

The longlist of the contest is set to release January 20 on the ASTA award website. The shortlist will be published on February 1, and the winners will be announced in an award ceremony that will take place in Moscow on February 6th.

Winners in each category are to receive a unique prize. For example, the authors of the best BioArt project will be invited to work at the Art & Science Center’s BioArt Lab under Ippolit Markelov, as well as to take one of the courses of ITMO’s Master’s program “Arts & Science''. Meanwhile, the winners in the category Robotic Art will get an opportunity to work in ITMO’s workshop of the same name and to collaborate with the students and staff of the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics.