The Democracy Machine is our radical experiment and ongoing cycle of transdisciplinary art and activism created to unlock artist-led invention in the areas of self-governance, technology, and democracy. A dozen artists, writers, and activists who comprise the second cohort—pathbreaking, visionary individuals from nearly every continent in the world—were selected in 2021 by the cycle’s inaugural artists to participate in an eight month fellowship that began this winter. A diverse cadre, and possessing collectively an extraordinary range of art, writing, and social practices, has again taken over the reins of Eyebeam’s flagship fellowship and are together exploring issues from the movement to decolonize technology, to privacy and surveillance, to the challenging of dominant narratives.
Paula Baeza Pailamilla is a Mapuche artist and a member of the Mapuche collective Rangiñtulewfü and Yene Revista, which deeply informs their work in performance, textile practices, and audiovisual formats. Their practice includes “positioning the territory of the body as a place of visibility of a struggle, a conflict, a discomfort” and art actions that create juxtapositions between gender, race and class from “the possibility of an anticolonial gaze.”
Yogesh Maitreya is a poet, translator, essayist, and a publisher at Panther’s Paw Publication, which takes its name from the anti-caste resistance group Dalit Panthers. He is a Ph.D. scholar at Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, the Center for the Study Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies, where he is at work on a history of anti-caste music in the state of Maharashtra. His books “are the blueprint of his existence in this vast world.”
Astrid González is a multidisciplinary artist whose studio practice encompasses video, photography, and sculpture surrounding her efforts to “bolster Black art history in Columbia.” Her work is informed by investigations into perceptions of the body. She explores Maroon peoples, the descendants of Africans in the Americas; and the whitening processes as the paradigm of progress in the Americas as a means of bringing oral traditions to the institution.
Zeina Baltagi is an artist, educator and organizer raised between California and Lebanon. Her work reveals intimate transformations in relation to lived experiences with physical, emotional, economic, and cultural mobility. Interested in the “individual moving through space and on the ground,” the artist imagines “my endo- prosthetic titanium leg to be the most direct connection of material history to labor, access and mobility.” An educator at heart, Zeina has routinely taught across several nonprofits and after school programs. She is the co-director of Coaxial Arts Foundation and an adjunct teacher in beginning sculpture, printmaking, 2D & 3D design at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and Cypress College.
cy x is a queer agender love influencer, earth tender, and cyber witch “holding hands with past, present, and future as we traverse through portals that break capitalistic enclosures.” They are grounded in: Black and Indigenous feminism, queer mysticism, trans shapeshifting, sex magic, abolition, and “more-than human collaboration.” They are also the founder of pleasure ceremony, an eco-erotic embodied research, care work and collaborative ceremonial practice and co-founder of Synth Library NYC.
Nushin Yazdani (Berlin, Germany & Vienna, Austria) is a transformation designer, artist, and AI design researcher. She works at the intersection of machine learning, design justice, and intersectional feminist practices and writes about the systems of oppression of the present and the possibilities of just and free futures. A Landecker Democracy Fellow, selected as 2021’s top 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics, and a member of the Advancing Data Justice advisory board at the Alan Turing Institute, Nushin is the co-founder of the AI research, advocacy, and art platform Dreaming Beyond AI and part of the collective dgtl fmnsm.
Peter Wu+ is a Los Angeles-based artist whose practice is characterized by a keen engagement with the role of technology in shaping our perceptions of reality, identity, and history. Utilizing modeling and rendering software, 3D printing, projection mapping, and machine learning, Wu+ creates thought-provoking artworks and immersive environments that address the complexities of our technologically-driven society. In 2020, Wu+ founded EPOCH, an artist-run virtual exhibition space that serves as a platform for showcasing and disseminating contemporary digital art practices. With a focus on community building and inclusivity, EPOCH represents a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art and its engagement with digital technologies. Wu+ has been invited to speak about his practice at leading art institutions, including Art Center College of Design, USC Roski School of Art and Design, Christie’s LA, and Frieze Art Fair.
Ryan Christopher Clarke is a tonal geologist from the Northern Gulf Coast who “notices the passage of time” as both a trained sedimentologist and artist-researcher. As co-editor at dweller electronics, a group dedicated towards “providing afrologic counterpoint within an otherwise eurologically dominant music industry.”, he’s interested in how land and music communicate with one other. He is a member of the American Geosciences Union, a co-recipient of the Allied Media Critical Minded Grant, and is currently studying ethnomusicology at Tulane University in his hometown of New Orleans, LA.
Elizabeth Pérez is a mother, multidisciplinary designer and educator interested in the confluence of motherhood, world-building, and the possibilities of design. She’s taught at Parsons School of Design and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program in New York where she received her graduate degree. Elizabeth works as a Content Designer and Strategist at Deloitte Consulting and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her son and coparent.
Subash Thebe Limbu is a Yakthung (Limbu) artist from eastern Nepal “quantumly” based in Newa Nation (Kathmandu) and London. His practice spans sound, film, music, performance, painting, and podcasting. The artist’s works are inspired by socio-political issues, resistance and science/speculative fiction—migration, climate change, and indigeneity or “Adivasi Futurism” as he calls it, are recurring themes in his works.
An artist and mother, Ortiz works in ceramics, collage, and children’s books, with the intention of creating “distance from Eurocentric conceptual art aesthetics.” Her practice aims to generate visual narratives in which the concepts of nationality, racialization, social class, and genre are explored in order to critically understand structures of colonial, patriarchal, and capitalist power.
Shawn Reilly is a Nashville-based learner, educator, designer and cultural organizer interested in the power of art, place, space, history, and technology as means of developing youth sociopolitical consciousness in informal education settings. Their recent work centers on the exploration and co-creation of physical and digital maps as a way to challenge dominant narratives and democratize history. Their art and organizing pays particular attention to the implications of democracy in relation to the school to prison nexus, queerness in the South, Christian supremacy, joy/pleasure, and historical and contemporary systems of mutual aid.
Through advocacy, membership, and donations, Eyebeam maintains programming and brings ideas into actionable projects. We gratefully acknowledge the leadership and support of The Andrew Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Atlantic Foundation, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.