An acronym for "Transdisciplinary Explorative Slovenian Art", the name TESLA also alludes to Nikola Tesla, a maverick innovator and thinker born in 1856 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in today's Smiljan, Croatia.
The award is firmly rooted in an understanding of the needs of the artistic field in the Balkan region, in which a thorough and consistent institutional support for such artistic endeavours is somewhat lacking. One of the aims is thus to improve the conditions of artistic production, with another important dimension being that of forefronting younger, still unrecognised artists in the early stages of their career.
The applicants – who must be under 35 years old – should apply with new, previously unrealised project ideas. In 2017, applicants were restricted to Slovenians, but in the years to follow people from the wider region have also been eligible to apply for the award.
Artists can submit project ideas for works such as interactive sculptures, generative and AV installations, sound art, AV projects, kinetic artworks, light art, tactical media and other forms of art combining traditional and digital media. The winner is selected by an international jury.
The realised artwork becomes a part of the Impermanent MoTA Collection. By applying, the artist grants permission to MoTA to exhibit the work locally and internationally. Also, the new artwork will be presented at the City Museum of Ljubljana, a partner at the project.