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.
Theme: what is human about technology?
- They are amid a global tech emergency; the act of discovery and creation by artists is more necessary than ever. They 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 the collective techno-future.
- Technology has transformed how they 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 the 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, they 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. They 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, particularly those working within or developing technology that focuses on decolonization, reframing history, language, care, the digital divide, and the future of tech. They invite proposals considering how to avert anti-human technologies and re-assume control to build a more humane future.
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.
- They 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? They 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? They 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?
- 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 the 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.
- 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: They 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 they explore and develop as artists?
- Clear artistic intentions and goals.
- A purposeful relationship to technology.
- Social urgency and potential impact.
For more information, visit Eyebeam.