Technology’s effect on our future is always changing and difficult to understand. Through exploratory process and emotionally compelling output, Eyebeam believes that artists can help us visualize and realize a more just future.
Eyebeam enables people to think creatively and critically about technology’s effect on society, with the mission of revealing new paths toward a more just future for all.
Eyebeam supports over 125 artists each year through its diverse programming, which includes the Eyebeam Residency, Storyteller-in-Residence, Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism, and Eyebeam’s Education programs, as well as participants in our far-reaching and responsive engagement initiatives. These artists are paid at W.A.G.E. certified standards to help ensure that artists who are engaging society’s relationship with technology are compensated equitably.
2024 EYEBEAM FELLOWSHIP OPEN CALL
THEME: WHAT IS HUMAN ABOUT TECHNOLOGY?
We are amid a global tech emergency; the act of discovery and creation by artists is more necessary than ever. In this digital-first fellowship cycle beginning February 15, 2024, through August 15, 2024, we call on artists to bring their innate mental, spiritual, and physical aspects of what it means to be human into play with technology to affirm humanity's role as creators, not spectators, of our collective techno-future.
Technology has transformed how we live, work, and communicate. Still, it has also brought new challenges related to its impact on society, forcing the world to reconsider the meaning of previously understood ideas such as intelligence, free will, or personhood. Tools such as generative artificial intelligence are infiltrating our lives to the point of wresting control of innately human spiritual, mental, and physical ways of being. Algorithmic systems of oppression that further marginalize underrepresented communities reiterate the urgent need to build tangible alternatives that center care, community, and solidarity.
Groundbreaking artists working at the complex intersection of art, tech, and community are uniquely positioned to address these challenges by launching projects that foster dialogue and engagement and further the imagination. Eyebeam seeks artists to explore the creative potentials of technologies that support and enhance the best of human intelligence and imagination. In particular, we are interested in supporting those artists whose efforts consider the impact of technology on individuals and communities who face additional barriers to access and inclusion.
Adopting a human-centric approach to technology, led by artists, can ensure that future technology is developed and used to promote human well-being and agency rather than corporate consumption. We believe in launching more humane uses of technology that allow space for contemplation, understanding, and aesthetic imagination.
Eyebeam is pleased to announce an Open Call for artists working deeply in the areas mentioned above, particularly those working within or developing technology that focuses on decolonization, reframing history, language, care, the digital divide, and the future of tech. We invite proposals considering how to avert anti-human technologies and re-assume control to build a more humane future.
HISTORY OF PROGRAM
INITIAL FORMATION OF THE PROGRAM
In October 2021, Eyebeam launched The Democracy Machine: Artists and Self-Governance in the Digital Age, a multi-year, digital-first initiative supporting artists, technologists, and writers in dialogue with policy and activism.
Stemming from our Rapid Response fellowship, which occurred during the pandemic – artists from underserved communities boldly revealed their dissatisfaction with their relationships with art institutions. We flipped that dynamic and gave these artists the agency to imagine, explore, and discuss what they needed to deconstruct these barriers.
Our initial cohort worked over eight months to create a dynamic, evolving blueprint and strategy to unlock artist-led invention in self-governance, technology, and democracy. This group chose the Phase 2 cohort of artists who have had the opportunity to reimagine the future of artist support and resource distribution.
The Phase 2 cohort has collaborated with Eyebeam to structure this Open Call for Phase 3 artists.
Application deadline: October 1st, 2023
Program duration: February 15th, 2024 - August, 15th 2024 (6 months)
The Democracy Machine program is about to enter its third and final phase. Selected artists participating in this six-month program will receive a $20,000 stipend and work in fellowship to support the development and implementation of their projects. Eyebeam will select five non-New York-based artists from anywhere in the world and five NYC-based artists for this fellowship. The fellowship will run from February 15, 2024, through August 15, 2024. The program will provide the same level of support and opportunity regardless of location through Eyebeam’s implementation of a digital-first approach.
As part of this fellowship, Eyebeam will provide access to our network of peers, mentors, and experts in the field and to partnered state-of-the-art facilities and resources. The fellowship will hybridize online and in-person components, including workshops, mentorship sessions, and networking opportunities. Additionally, Eyebeam aims to make available robust opportunities for exhibition, presentation, and public engagement at the close of the fellowship.
GOALS AND TOPICS
- To radically reaffirm human imagination in the face of spiritually bereft technologies.
- To support innovative projects and ideas promoting equity and inclusion that challenge narrow, dominant narratives.
- To facilitate collaboration and co-creation with historically marginalized communities.
- To promote the democratization of technological innovation and the development of technologies prioritizing human well-being and agency.
- To build beauty into the machines of tomorrow.
- To learn from the intelligence of other-than-human beings.
We encourage proposals that address the following topics:
Decolonization: How can technology challenge dominant narratives and perspectives and promote the inclusion and empowerment of historically marginalized communities? How can artists create tools that help people learn from and participate in this process? We also welcome proposals that explore the history of indigenous people using technology in ways that deserve to be amplified and celebrated.
Reframing history and language: How can artists use technology to create new narratives and perspectives that challenge existing power structures and promote critical thinking and reflection? How can artists create tools that help people understand and engage with these new narratives?
Care: How can technology be developed and used in ways that prioritize human well-being and agency and take into account the potential risks and benefits of technology? How can artists create tools that help people understand and navigate these risks and benefits? We emphasize the importance of care in this topic.
Digital divide: How can technology be used to promote equitable access to information and resources and address the gap between those with access to technology and those who do not? How can artists create tools that help bridge this gap and promote greater access to technology and information?
Beauty: How can joy be built into future technologies? How do artists reaffirm their lineage as leaders in the poetic imagination of human/machine relationships?
Future tech: How can artists use technology to imagine new futures and possibilities that prioritize human well-being and agency and develop new technologies that promote critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills? How can artists create tools that help people understand and engage with these futures and possibilities?
Boundary-crossing artists whose practices defy easy categorization due to their experimental and expansive nature.
Fellows who are critical, creative, and social thinking and speak from their own experiences.
Participating fellows will create an incubator to talk about hard topics. In a precarious economy, where one is expected to produce, this is an invitation to, at times, pause and engage in exchange around technology, democracy, society, and art with international participants.
The new cohort will expound, interrogate, and contemplate experimental questions from prior cohorts, such as: What do global artists need? What is democracy? How does technology tie into it? How do artists want to work at this time?
HOW TO APPLY
The application is in a few parts: a statement of purpose, a series of five short essay questions, and two work samples. The statement of purpose and series of five short essay questions can be submitted in one of these formats: written, video, or audio.
The statement of purpose may highlight a project plan or speak about your general practice.
After, please answer all five questions concisely and clearly: These questions are tailored further to reflect the themes and priorities outlined in the open call—a word limit of 300 words for each question.
- What are some of the key resources you would need to bring your project to fruition?
- How do you plan to engage with your peers across borders and cultures?
- How will this fellowship enable you to build beauty and reimagine the role of technology in promoting human well-being and agency?
- In what ways have you actively worked to center care, community, and solidarity in your practice, and how do you plan to continue doing so?
- How do you envision your participation in the fellowship as a means to foster dialogue and engagement with historically marginalized communities?
***If you are submitting a video or audio, you may include your Statement of Purpose and the series of the five questions above in the same file.***
Please try to limit your video or audio to 90 seconds per question.
Individuals may apply.
International applicants are welcome and encouraged to apply, and you are not required to live or work in the US during this grant period. This program is being run virtually, with the option for in-person gatherings.
Please note that if you are not a US citizen and do not have a visa to work in the US but are planning to be in the US during the period of this grant, all grant payments are subject to an upfront 30% withholding by the IRS.
- Alignment with Eyebeam’s values:
*Openness: All the work here is driven by an open-source ethos.
*Invention: We build on ideas to generate new possibilities.
*Justice: Technology by artists is a move towards equity and democracy.
- A dedication to the guiding question: What subverts/resistance to the harmful use of technology can we explore and develop as artists?
- Clear artistic intentions and goals.
- A purposeful relationship to technology.
- Social urgency and potential impact.
October 1, 2023, 11:59 PM Eastern Standard.
No late applications will be accepted. Virtual interviews will be scheduled for finalists. Applicants will be notified by December 1, 2023. For questions not covered here, please email email@example.com.
The Democracy Machine Phase 3 cohort will engage in online activities facilitated by Eyebeam. If in-person gatherings are possible, we will coordinate with the participants.
For all online and in-person programs, artists and audiences are given opportunities to make access requests, including real-time captioning, Sign Language, large print programs, PDFs, or other means of making the program more accessible.
EQUITY AND INCLUSION
Acknowledging the breadth and scope of this initiative and the systemic inequities which have been further highlighted by this moment, Democracy Machine will endeavor to support a cohort of diverse artists across race, ethnicity, disability status, gender, immigration status, sexual orientation, age, as well as geographical location. It will do this by identifying and responding to disparities in access to funding for visionary ideas that aim to develop a more humane digital realm.