This is a new art fair experience for me: At the show I was in last weekend, I realized at some point on Saturday that I hadn't seen any sign of the familiar art show judges. They're the 2 or 3 clipboard-carrying folks who visit each booth, somewhat stealthily, trying to avoid too much contact with the artists, who may actually try to engage them in conversation regarding their art in order to possibly convince the judge to deem them worthy of an award. Of course, the judges are reluctant to spend time with each artist, because doing so would take too much time, so they give the display a glance and then place a circular colored sticker on the artists signage, make a check mark on the list, and move on.
Having seen none of this activity, I assumed that the show organizers had decided that awards would not be given this time. I was wrong. A man poked his head in my booth late Saturday, and said, "You should have won the 2-D award." I thanked him for the compliment and added that I wasn't aware that there were awards or judges since none visited me, even in a barely visible state. I pointed to my booth sign without stickers and said they must have skipped me. He came back several minutes later and said he found out that the there were in fact no judges present at the show, as I suspected, but that the awards were decided based on the images that we submitted for our online applications! Virtual judges! Now that's efficient, don't you think?