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Stories from SXSW: Art Is Key for Interactive Award Winners

The winners of the 14th Annual SXSW Interactive competition were announced at an award ceremony Tuesday night in Austin, Texas. More than 20 designers of websites and mobile projects were recognized for work in categories that included activism, installation, mobile, technical achievement and more.

The Johnny Cash Project won the award in the art category, which “focuses on web-based collections of life, society and culture.” The project pays homage to the country music legend through the contributions of fans and artists. Participants animate single frames of a music video to “Ain’t No Grave,” Cash’s last studio recording, creating a collage of user-generated, Johnny Cash-inspired art.

Another interactive music video experience won in the music category. The Wilderness Downtown animates Arcade Fire’s song, “We Used to Wait,” off its Grammy Award-winning album, “The Suburbs.” Users enter their childhood address into the site, which then generates a music video using a Google Maps street view of their neighborhood. It was an ambitious project and certainly worth a try if you haven’t already. The only catch is, you need to download Google Chrome.

Sticking with the interactive trend, the Collapsus project won the TV/Film category. The site tells the story of a future energy crisis through animation, documentary, fiction and interactivity. As users move through the film, they are encouraged to make choices with help from real experts in a sort of choose-your-own-adventure narrative.

Watch a walk-through of the project here:


Other winners could be found within the realm of journalism.

The Tiziano Project, winner in the activism category, is an online documentary project that gives Iraqi Kurds a way to tell multimedia stories with the help of experienced journalists.

The Associated Press’ interactive timeline was recognized in the technical achievement category. The tool gives readers a new way of visualizing stories. Users can follow up to 10 categories, including news, health, politics and entertainment, and follow them through the course of a day.

Perhaps less serious, but just as culturally relevant, was the winner of the amusement category. The exceedingly distracting site called the Most Awesomest Thing Ever asks users to compare two randomly subjects. What’s better, cytoplasm or Theodore Roosevelt? Nashville, Tenn., or Larry David, creator of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Seinfeld”? This procrastination destination gives users a chance to weigh in.

For more on the SXSW Interactive competition, see a list of finalists here.

SXSW Interactive Trade Show

Art Beat took a tour of the SXSW Interactive Trade Show, where more than 300 companies where pitching their newest products. While media giants like Sony, Samsung, and Google were present, there were quite a few start-ups and smaller companies you might not have heard of.

Watch a selection of elevator pitches from a few of the presenters:

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