Earlier this year, Eyebeam called on artists to envision and build projects that lay the groundwork for a more humane future. Now, we are pleased to announce the eight artists who will go on to Phase 2 of Eyebeam’s Rapid Response fellowship, receiving $25,000 to take their proposals to action immediately.
The artists and collectives include Aladin Borioli, Valencia James, Juan Pablo García Sossa, Rashaad Newsome, Dillon Sung, Xin Xin, and the collectives Solar Protocol and Veil Machine. In July, Eyebeam awarded 30 artists hailing from nearly every continent with fellowships and grants of $5,000; the second phase artists will receive an additional $25,000 to take their proposals to action immediately.
Niko Flux, Sybil Fury, and MJ Tom also known as Empress Wu are creating a new form of digital riot to challenge SESTA/FOSTA and EARN IT, laws that threaten the safety of sex workers and free speech online. In Phase 1, the self-destructing protest platform, E-Viction, was a virtual hub for sex workers, artists, clients, and allies partaking in a virtual arthouse/whore gallery. Now, in Phase 2, the collective will create a Sex Workers Museum to house the E-Viction archive and provide a trusted space for sex-working artists.
In Phase 1, Newsome proposed an expansion of his Being 1.0 (2019), a social humanoid artificial intelligence. A therapist, historian, performer, and free app, Being 1.5 would respond to the effects of white supremacy, a collective trauma African Americans experience and pass from one individual to another by genetics and that is reinforced in everyday life. In Phase 2, and informed by a large data corpus created from findings, research, and writings by Black psychotherapists and scholars who focus on race, gender, and class in American society, Newsome will launch Being 1.5, an app that feels like a genuine therapeutic exchange.
(Aladin Borioli, Joris Landman and Harry Bloch, Ellen Lapper)
The Intimacy Machine is a web platform that serves as a refuge where humans are able to have egalitarian encounters with bees without the need for physical proximity. The work pushes against the profit-driven technology used for managing the production of bee colonies by providing space for aesthetic and intimate encounters with them for anyone to experience for free on the Internet. During Phase 2, the project will integrate live-streaming and data visualisation in tandem with developing a blueprint for using technology in beekeeping and spreading this knowledge to a wider audience.
(Tega Brain, Alex Nathanson, and Benedetta Piantella)
In Phase 1, the artists Tega Brain, Alex Nathanson, and Benedetta Piantella prototyped an experimental network of solar powered servers, providing a viable alternative to technology powered by cheap fossil fuels. In Phase 2, they will introduce a pilot by working with remote hosts to install servers at their locations, thereby building a broader literacy of solar energy. They aim to turn solar powered media into a practice through workshops, a distributed library, and a social network.
Xin is building a messaging app that has both Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and archival capabilities called Togethernet. The project is an open-source communication tool designed for transparency and consent that prioritizes users’ digital rights. This open-source tool is for people who work under the broad umbrella of art and technology, including, but not limited to, artists, designers, technologists, educators, administrators, and cultural workers. During Phase 2, they will start designing interactions so that the software can be replicated for use by more communities.
In Phase 1, the artist’s thought-experiment proposed new modes of distribution and diversification of the online network from a Tropikós perspective, asking what we can learn from the Tropikós post-COVID-19 and the “delightful, unexpected ways of reappropriating technology and turning things around” in tropical areas. In Phase 2, his Futura Trōpica will take the form of a decentralized network for lateral exchange among territories of the tropical belt, such as Bogotá, Kinshasa, and Bengaluru, via an online and offline platform for sharing local resources.
During Phase 1, Sung, in collaboration with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, organized documents and video footage that was collected and demanded over the years from governmental agencies. In Phase 2, she will realize a digital archive,to be made free and available to the public. The eventual goal is to support organizers in building community power nationally and internationally and to be a resource for artists and researchers who are creating work that addresses state power, violence, and surveillance, and the abolition of the police state.
(Valencia James with Thomas Wester, Ben Purdy, Thomas Newlands, Sorob Louie, Simon Boas)
By reimagining the use of computer vision and machine learning, which are traditionally used for mass surveillance, James, Wester, Purdy, and Louie propose a new online venue for live dance performance to be experienced by a virtual audience of real people from diverse backgrounds. With the future uncertain for large gatherings and high-contact activities, this project provides a safe alternative with new opportunities for social impact. In Phase 1, they worked to represent human performance virtually; in Phase 2, they will realize a hardware kit that allows any artist to put on a live performance in their own living space. Ultimately, the project reimagines immersive web spaces as sites for addressing the need for more equitable representation of humans in mediated performance.
Here’s what happened during Phase 1.
Eyebeam selects artists for final phase of Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future.Read
Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future has been generously made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, and Jerome Foundation.
Eyebeam is grateful for the long-standing visionary support of the Atlantic Foundation and the New York Council on the Arts. We are pleased to also acknowledge the support of the Beatrice Snyder Foundation and The O’Grady Foundation. Thank you to all our donors who believe in our work.