open call

Rapid Response For A Better Digital Future

April 21, 2020 – May 21, 2020

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 fund 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 was born from conversations with artists and advisors at the outbreak of the global pandemic and will unfold in two phases. In the first, planning/idea stage, twelve $5,000 grants will be made available for top applications, gathered through a free open call, open from today until May 21th. Phase 1 applications will be selected by a jury of Eyebeam staff, alumni, and advisors. In the second, project/development phase, three of those recipients will be awarded an additional $20,000 to build their ideas into actionable projects, based on their potential for real-world impact. The twelve participants 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

Open Call: April 21st – May 21st (11:59PM)
Results announced: early June
Work period A, Idea Development, 12 artists: June 15 – September 1
Work Period B, Project Development, three artists: September 4 – early 2021

Apply Here