Eyebeam is acting immediately to invigorate artistic creation of digital futures at this moment of systemic collapse. As economies and everyday routines are disrupted around the world, Eyebeam is taking action to support artists who are imagining a more humane digital realm. We aim to help artists who will create new ways of interacting through the internet, new ways of engaging with each other, and more equitable relationships for sustainable arts practices and creative economies. It is based on the fundamental notion that radical imagination, led by artists, is a key step in building for the long term. The guiding question for this call is: how do we begin to exit surveillance capitalism as the dominating form of digital life and what can replace it?
We’re asking artists to generate ideas and actionable projects that enact solutions for rebuilding digital systems, and improving the overlap and interplay between them and lived, social experience. For the first time in Eyebeam’s 20 year history, we are pausing our flagship Residency program. Instead we’re launching a new program, Rapid Response for A Better Digital Future. Grounded in the belief that artists have the most impactful and culture-shaping ideas, this initiative is intended to support projects that are most responsive and potentially groundbreaking in building a better digital world. We aim to fuel new means for creating space for deep contemplation and imagination, asking not only what can be built for tomorrow, but what should be built for a sustainable and thriving next 10 or 20 years.
Rapid Response for A Better Digital Future will unfold in two phases. In Phase 1, the planning/idea stage, a minimum of 27 $5,000 grants will be made available for top applications, gathered through a free open call, open from April 21 until May 30, which includes two additional artists by nomination from the Open Call Advisory, in partnership with La Becque and Swissnex | Boston.
In Phase 2, the project/development phase, a minimum of five artists, selected from the initial group will be selected to participate and be awarded up to an additional $25,000 to build their ideas into actionable projects, based on their potential for real-world impact.
The participants in Phase 1 will form an active cohort of practitioners, encouraged to collaborate between phases. Regular and robust virtual communication, expert consultation, skill sharing, and group critique and conversation will be provided to all of the supported artists, facilitated by Eyebeam. The guiding question for this call is: how do we begin to exit surveillance capitalism as the dominating form of digital life and what can replace it?
We will prioritize work that addresses this through the following, interrelated, lenses:
• New, online public spheres
• Ethical or values-driven technology
• Health and well-being
• Development of public policy
• Creating space for imagination
• Individual autonomy, borders, and immigration
• New and necessary skills for artists
• Democratic engagement and fortification
• Impacts of Covid-19
• Increasing accessibility of online platforms
• Artificial and natural intelligence
Successful applications will:
• demonstrate how resultant ideas and projects will be non-commercially distributed into the public domain and made available for anyone to use
• strive for plateaus of imagination that have realizable potential without massive corporate investment
• stretch what is thought to be possible, long into the future
• craft ideas and build projects that combine enormous vision with DIY practicality
This program, in tandem with the Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism, is the next step in Eyebeam’s push for responsive advocacy for artist-led invention in fields that will benefit most from artists’ perspectives. This year’s initiative will create a combined cohort of visionary practitioners who are redefining the roles that art can play.
Supplementing our Rapid Response for A Better Digital Future, we are also partnering with La Becque | Artist Residency in Switzerland and swissnex Boston / New York to offer special support through commissions to a group of selected artists to form an extended online working group on the arts and digital media in times of social distancing. Details about the program will be announced soon.
Prof. Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
Suhaly Bautista-Carolina, Senior Managing Educator, Audience Development and Engagement at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Stephanie Dinkins, artist
Brian Droitcour, Associate Editor, Art In America
Kathleen Forde, Senior Curator, PaceX (working name)
Jerron Herman, disabled artist
Ladi’Sasha Jones, Artist Engagement Manager, The Laundromat Project
Nora N. Khan, writer
Prem Krishnamurthy, Partner and Director, Wkshps
Joanne McNeil, writer
Luc Meier, Director, La Becque
Hito Steyerl, artist
Tara Aisha Willis, Associate Curator of Performance & Public Practice, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Open Call: April 21st – May 30th (11:59PM)
Results announced: Early July
Work period A, Idea Development, 27 artists: June 29 – October 15
Work Period B, Project Development, 5 artists: October 16 – February 15
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.