Digital Earth

A fellowship for research and experimentation with and around the materiality and immateriality of the digital reality.

 

Planet Earth is wrapped in a gigantic mesh of fiber-optic cables and electromagnetic waves. Its surface is drilled for resources to generate the energy for the data centers that are mining its digital skin for cryptocurrencies. The pervasiveness of technology and the entanglement of wires, devices, minerals and algorithms are creating accidental structures, which exist above and below ground, saturating the whole planet - both physically and cybernetically.

 

‘Digital Earth’ refers to the materiality and immateriality of the digital reality we live in – from data centers to software interfaces, and rare minerals to financial derivatives. Earth is dug, excavated, and ripped apart to extract the fundamental materials that keep the computational machine running – oil, coltan, sand, rubber, lithium form the material basis on which digital reality is built. At the same time, digital technologies enable new modes of circulation and extraction, of information and data.

 

Algorithmic regimes regulate the movement of goods and people around the world in relatively smooth fluxes enabled by increasingly sophisticated surveillance systems. These algorithmic regimes generate, track and accumulate such a mass of data that is already referred to as the ‘digital twin’ of Earth. The existence of a physical planet and its ‘datafied’ counterpart generate a discrepancy between the reality on the ground and what is recorded and broadcasted - often leading to violent socio-political, economic, ecological and cultural frictions.

Open Call: Join the Digital Earth Fellowship 2018-2019
 

Digital Earth is a 6 month-long fellowship for artists and designers based in Africa or Asia, working across a variety of media, who would like to investigate our current technological reality. It is a unique research support programme, which supports experienced artists to reflect, research, experiment and produce work. The fellowship consists of a monthly stipend for work and production costs, mentorship and other various resources. The final results will be exhibited in a roaming exhibition.
 

Digital Earth calls upon emergent artists and designers to embark on a journey to examine, challenge and respond to the material and immaterial condition of the current technological reality. For the duration of the programme the fellowship provides a subsistence allowance and production budget to forward-looking practitioners interested in independently creating work within a specific place, context or institution. The fellowship is aimed at artists and designers at a stage in their career wishing to take 6 months for reflection and research.
 

The geographical focus of the fellowship is on the entanglement of old and new routes that connect Asia to Africa, crossing the Middle East and Central Asia. For centuries, these land and maritime trajectories shaped regional and intercontinental balances of power and culture. Today, similar routes are crossed by goods, people and data at speeds faster than ever, through a circuit of ports, mines, airports, refineries, high speed railways, fibre optic cables and mobile antennas. Perhaps here more than anywhere else, digital and material trails can be followed through different sovereignties, cultures, latitudes … and are hopefully unravelled.
 

Examples of possible research topics are: the infrastructure of Mongolian crypto-mining, the performativity of the robot-ports on the Siberian coastline, the soundscapes of the coltan mines in the heartlands of Congo, the cultural protocols of freeport zones, the aesthetics of satellite imagery, the agency of machinic vision, the political imaginations of geoengineering projects - and more.


The Digital Earth Fellowship provides:

1. A stipend to enable research, experimentation and to produce work in a specific geographic location in Africa or Asia, for 6 months. The exact amount of the stipend will be based on the cost of living of the country where the research will take place.
 

2. Access to a research and production infrastructure consisting of a network of researchers, (online) theory and practice courses, research institutes, exhibition venues, creative hubs, art biennales, residencies and companies.

 

3. A mentor, who will support you in your research. The Digital Earth mentors are internationally-renowned artists, designers and researchers.

 

4. The chance to discuss your practice with other fellows during sessions on Google Hangouts;

 

5. Final works and research findings will be exhibited in 2019 or 2020 in a roaming exhibition.

 

 

Eligibility
 

  • Projects should be based in one of the following countries in Asia or Africa: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Benin, Brunei, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), China, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan,  Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Russia, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Korea, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen Zambia, Zimbabwe.

 


Selection


Your application will be assessed by a selection committee on the basis of your research proposal; this includes this includes the quality of your work, your visual and reflective skills. Also, the committee will look into the relevance of your proposal to the research outline of Digital Earth. A balance will be sought between applicants from different geographic locations.

 

 

How to apply


Please make sure to read all the requirements and conditions described in this pdf and on our website, before submitting an application. Apply digitally, by emailing an application, no later than 19 August 2018 (23.59, CEST) to info@thedigitalearth.org.

 

Practical Info

 

Duration: September 2018 until February 2019

Number of participants: 15

 

Organizations that will provide webinars, workshops and residencies:

 

British Council, Hivos, Ashkal Alwan, Electric South, Global Media Technologies & Cultures Lab MIT, Kër Thiossane, Strelka and The New Center for Research and Practice, more TBA.

More research experts to be announced soon!

 

Defne Ayas

Diann Bauer

Nicolay Boyadjiev

Benjamin Bratton

Jaya Klara Brekke

Stephanie Bailey

Oulimata Gueye

Nishant Shah

Brian Kuan Wood

Reza Negarestani

Moses Serubiri

Mohammad Salemy

Misal Adnan Yıldız

Lisa Parks

Jussi Parikka

Heba Amin

Digital Earth is a 6 month-long fellowship for artists and designers based in Africa or Asia, working across a variety of media, who would like to investigate our current technological reality. It is a unique research support programme, which supports experienced artists to reflect, research, experiment and produce work. The fellowship consists of a monthly stipend for work and production costs, mentorship and other various resources. The final results will be exhibited in a roaming exhibition.

 

Digital Earth is initiated and supported by British Council, Hivos and SIDA.

 

     

Arthur Steiner

Leonardo Dellanoce

Renée Roukens

                                                                 info@thedigitalearth.org

Jaya Klara Brekke

Jaya Klara Brekke speaks, writes and does research on the politics of protocols and questions of control and power in distributed systems and architectures. She is based between Durham University, UK, where she is writing a PhD titled 'Distributing Chains, Three Strategies for Thinking Blockchain Politically’; London where she spends much of her time with the InfoSec research group at UCL Computer sciences department; and Vienna as collaborator of RIAT, Institute for Future Crypto-economics. She has been working as creator, designer and curator on projects related to the political economies of infrastructures for the past ten years. Projects include research and development on ethics for B9Lab blockchain developer training company; Crisis-scapes, on the impact of the financial crisis on public space in Athens; D-CENT, a European-wide project for the development of open citizen engagement technologies; and Flesh & Concrete, a research project and art programming on the effects of the construction of the supervia poniente highway in Mexico city.

Benjamin Bratton

Benjamin Bratton’s work spans Philosophy, Art, Design and Computer Science. He is Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California, San Diego. He is Program Director of the Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow. He is also a Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School and Visiting Faculty at SCI_Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture).

Nicolay Boyadjiev

Nicolay Boyadjiev is an architect and design strategist based between Montreal and Moscow. He is working at the intersection of architecture, infrastructure systems and platform urbanism, with his recent projects focusing on addressability and cognitive extraction at the urban scale. His design and conceptual work has received multiple awards and has been showcased Volume, Moinopolis, Fast Company, and Architect Magazine. Nicolay is currently the Design tutor of The New Normal programme at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow.

Diann Bauer

Diann Bauer is an artist and writer based in London. She is part of the working group Laboria Cuboniks who wrote Xenofeminism: A Politics of Alienation and the collaborative A.S.T. (the Alliance of the Southern Triangle http://a-s-t.co/#Home) - a group of artists, architects and curators that use the art field as a platform to broaden interdisciplinary collaboration with a focus on urbanism and climate change. The project aims to conceive possible futures that are both reactive and propositional with regard to the shifting set of legal, economic, cultural and environmental forces that currently confront the globe. The work takes a range of forms including video installations, publications and workshops.
Bauer has screened and exhibited internationally at Tate Britain, the ICA and The Showroom, London, The Sharjah Biennale 13, UAE, Deste Foundation, Athens, The New Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park, New York, History Miami Museum and Art Center South Florida, Miami. She has taught and lectured widely at universities and cultural institutions including: Cornell University, Yale University and Cooper Union (US), HKW (Germany), DAI (Netherlands), Ashkal Alwan (Lebanon), Goldsmiths, The Baltic, The Tate and the ICA (UK). She is currently working towards an exhibition at FACT in Liverpool in 2018 with Arts at CERN. It will subsequently travel on to Barcelona, Nantes, Brussels and CERN.

Defne Ayas

Defne Ayas (b.1976) was Director of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam from 2012 until 2017.

Since her arrival in 2012, she has conceived, commissioned, curated and organized long-term projects, group exhibitions and solo projects. In 2013, she launched WDWReview.org, together with Adam Kleinman as its Founding Editor.

Ayas has worked on a number of biennial projects such as: curator of the Pavilion of Turkey in the 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale; co-curator the 6th Moscow Biennale ACTING IN A CENTER IN A CITY IN THE HEART OF THE ISLAND OF EURASIA; co-curator of the 11th Baltic Triennale; co-curator of the Istanbul and Bandung city pavilions as part of the Intercity Project of the 9th Shanghai Biennale. Ayas also served as a curatorial advisor to the 8th Shanghai Biennale (China), and as a publication advisor to the 8th Gwangju Biennale (South Korea) in 2010.

Ayas has been a curator of PERFORMA, the biennial of visual art performance of New York, where she curated numerous projects and programs with an international roster of acclaimed artists, architects, and writers; while overseeing biennial’s consortium relations with more than fifty arts organizations in the city.

Prior to joining Witte de With in 2012, Ayas lived in Shanghai, China and co-founded Arthub Asia – an Asia-wide active research and production initiative (with Davide Quadrio) (2007). Prior to joining Arthub Asia and Performa, she was the Public Programs Coordinator of New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, especially artists presentations and critical debates relating to contemporary art and new media. (2003-2005) Ayas is the founding co-curator (with Neery Melkonian) of Blind Dates Project – an artistic platform that is dedicated to tackling what remains of the peoples, places and cultures of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923).

She is a Supervisory Board member of the Rijksakademie (Amsterdam) and Sabanci Museum (Istanbul); a member of Prince Claus Fund Awards; a director of Tällberg Foundation (Stockholm), an advisory board member to Jan Van Eyck Academy (Maastricht), Collectorspace (Istanbul), SAHA (Istanbul), Protocinema (Istanbul), Art Review Asia (Beijing) LEAP (Shanghai); and a curator at large of Spring Workshop (Hong Kong).

Reza Negarestani

Brian Kuan Wood

Brian Kuan Wood is a writer and editor in New York. He is an editor of e-flux journal and Director of Research at SVA’s MA in Curatorial Practice.

Mohammad Salemy

Mohammad Salemy is an independent NYC/Vancouver-based critic and curator from Iran. He has curated exhibitions at the Koerner Gallery and AMS Gallery at the University of British Columbia, as well as the Satellite Gallery and Dadabase. He co-curated Faces exhibition at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. In 2014, Salemy organized the Incredible Machines conference in Vancouver. Salemy holds a masters degree in Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia.

Nishant Shah

Misal Adnan Yıldız

Misal Adnan Yıldız is a curator, writer, and educator. Yıldız is the former director of Artspace NZ in Auckland in New Zealand (November 2014- June 2017). Previous to that he held the position of artistic director at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart in Germany (2011 – 2014). His tenure at Artspace received solid reviews including acknowledgements for his vision, the focus on public engagement through collaborations, and the initiating of significant architectural changes to the gallery in 2016.

Together with Hito Steyerl and Şener Özmen, he is one of the initiators of ASA www.autonomousspaceagency.org ; a collaborative structure inspired by the works of Takiyuddin Efendi, El Cez- eri, Fahru’l-Nisa and Şêx Evdirehmanê Axtepî among others. Recently, Yıldız has been presenting Mutterzunge, www.mutterzunge.org an independent multi venue programme of research residencies, events and exhibitions in Berlin. Revisiting Berlin-based author Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s book of the same name, the proposal by Yıldız was one of three winners for the Curate Award in 2014 co-organised by QAM and Fondazione Prada.

Yıldız studied Psychology and Educational Science (double major programme) at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, and later completed his masters degree in Visual Arts and Visual Theory at Sabancı Uni. of Turkey in parallel with his teaching assistant position. After organising several exhibitions in Turkey, he participated to the curatorial studies programme Curatorlab/Konstfack between 2006 and 2008, got supported by S.i. grant, and also collaborated with IASPIS, both in Stockholm. He took part in the Independent Study programme in Valand Art Academy as a researcher-curator for 2010; also worked for Umea Art Academy, Oslo Art Academy and also participated to several residency programmes including CPG AIR, nkd in Scandinavia.

He produced a significant number of solo exhibitions by Slavs and Tatars, Cevdet Erek, Annika Eriksson, Ahmet Öğüt, Marysia Lewandowska, and Hito Steyerl among others as well as some group shows after his proposals were being selected through open calls or closed competitions: There is no audience at Montehermoso, in Spain (2009), Time Challenger, HISK, Belgium (2009), Correct me if I am critical multi venue project in Berlin (2010), and also A History of Inspiration as part of Nouvelle Vagues, (2013) at Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

He was shortlisted for ICI Vision Award in 2012, and shared Curate Award 2014 (Fondazione Prada & Qatar Museum) with two others. Yıldız initiated Hot-Desking within the Curatorlab programme for Manifesta 7; he was one of curatorial collaborators of Fulya Erdemci for the 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013); also a curatorial collaborator for La Paz’s SIART in Bolivia and one of the biennial fel- lows with Artspace NZ for GB11 in Gwangju (2016). Recently, he was the guest curator for Dialogues as part of London Art Fair 2018 presenting selected works by only women identifying artists with a high percentage of Non-European participants including indigenous practices with Maori, Kurdish, Asian, and African origins. He contributed to many publications and periodicals such as Bidoun, Paletten, Radikal, Muhtelif, Mousse among others; and also contributed to many discussion platforms including Art Basel’s Conversations, March Meetings in Sharjah, and ICI NYC’s curatorial seminar.

Lisa Parks

Lisa Parks is a global media scholar whose research focuses on three areas: satellite technologies and media cultures; critical studies of media infrastructures; and media, militarization and surveillance. Parks is the author of Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual (Duke UP, 2005), Coverage: Vertical Mediation and the War on Terror(Routledge, forthcoming), and Mixed Signals: Media Infrastructures and Cultural Geographies (in progress). She is co-editor of: Life in the Age of Drones (Duke UP, forthcoming 2017), Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures (U of Illinois, 2015), Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries and Cultures (Rutgers UP, 2012), Undead TV (Duke UP, 2007), and Planet TV: A Global Television Reader (NYU, 2003). Parks has held visiting appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin, McGill University, University of Southern California, and the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a PI on major research grants from the National Science Foundation and the US State Department, supporting research in Mongolia, Turkey, and Zambia. She is committed to exploring how greater understanding of media systems can inform and assist citizens, scholars and policymakers in the US and abroad to advance campaigns for technological literacy, creative expression, social justice, and human rights. Before joining the CMS/W faculty, Parks was Professor and former Department Chair of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara, where she also served as Director of the Center for Information Technology and Society.

Jussi Parikka

Jussi Parikka is a writer, media theorist and professor in technological culture & aesthetics at Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton). He is also Docent of Digital Culture Theory at University of Turku, Finland and Honorary Visiting Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

Moses Serubiri

Serubiri Moses is an independent writer and curator based in Kampala, UG. He is interested in meta-narratives and scholarly practices beyond the field of art. Serubiri’s book chapter on the Uganda Museum is featured in the edited volume How Institutions Think from MIT Press. He was recently on the selection committee for the 2017 and 2018 Investec Cape Town Art Fair, ZA. In 2014 he co-curated the Kampala Contemporary Art Festival (KLA ART), with a team advised by Gabi Ngcobo. In 2013 Serubiri organized A History of Kadongo Kamu, a radio documentary on the history of recorded music in Uganda. He also edited the online journal START – A Journal of Arts and Culture in East Africa. In 2011 Serubiri was a critic at The New Vision, one of Uganda’s leading daily newspapers. In 2015 he received a fellowship at the University of Bayreuth, DE, as “Stadtschreiber” (City Writer), and is an alumni of the Àsìkò International Art School at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos, NG. His writings have been featured in The Trans-African, frieze, Manifesta Journal, and Chimurenga Chronic.

Stephanie Bailey

Arthur Steiner

Arthur Steiner is an art historian working at the crossroads of contemporary arts, design and technology. He is researching and fascinated by aesthetics in relation to petrocultures and the strategies that artists have employed in order to investigate oil and petro-modernity.

Over the years, he has developed projects across Africa, the Middle East and Asia and lived in Syria, Iran and Egypt. He is the founder of New Silk Roads Foundation. Through his work he has supported and helped to set up more than 20 art, design and technology spaces in old medinas and industrial zones along the spice, oil and data routes that are now connecting Asia and Africa.

He works at Hivos Foundation and has initiated the ‘ROOM Program’ and the ‘Force of Art research program’ with the Prince Claus Fund and the European Culture Foundation. Together with the British Council and Nesta he is setting up a support toolkit for creative hubs and art spaces.

In his hometown, Amsterdam, he is actively involved with the art space W139 and is organizing and curating exhibitions and lecture series in the Netherlands and around the world. The most recent one will be the Vertical Atlas research series, at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam in Autumn 2018.

Leonardo Dellanoce

Leonardo Dellanoce is an art historian who explores technological realities using art and design as navigational tools. Collaboration is at the core of his practice, as he works with artists, spatial designers and theorists on a variety of projects. Among others, he is co-curating the research series Vertical Atlas: a Techno-political Cartography, on show at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Fall 2018.

Currently, he is also editor of Volume magazine where he initiated the long-term research project Trust in the Blockchain Society.

Renée Roukens

Renée Roukens was trained as an art historian and has built her professional carreer by illuminating the backstage in Marres, MU and Baltan Laboratories, developing and producing projects and exhibitions. Before joining the R.O.O.M. program she worked as a project manager for Age of Wonderland, in which she has co-created and implemented a methodology for uniting artists and designers within the cultural industries on a global scale.

Oulimata Gueye

From 1998 to 2001, Oulimata Gueye was part of the founding team of the Batofar and co-hosted numerous international multi-disciplinary artistic events dedicated to contemporary art (artists’ residencies) and urban and electronic cultures (Festival Batofar cherche) as part of Batofar’s artistic team.

She co-founded the wandering festival Infamous carousel (Centre Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo, Jeu de Paume, Les Instants Chavirés, and Point Ephémère), which she then jointly managed from 2003 to 2011. Infamous carousel showcases performance art, experimental sound art and media arts.

Since 2010, she has been studying the impact of digital technology on urban popular culture in Africa and closely follows the works of artists, activists, and theorists who reflect on the sociocultural, political and economic issues at play in Africa in the 21st century.

Her fields of investigation include Africa sf, a research project she has been developing for several years. Africa sf explores digital culture, science and the potential of fiction to develop critical analysis and alternative positions. The idea behind Africa sf research is that the economic, technological, political, social and aesthetic upheaval the African continent has undergone is now fostering the development of imaginary worlds revolving around technology and sciences. Oulimata is convinced that science fiction has emerged as the genre that best reflects the interactions between the present, projections for the future, and founding myths. This research is constantly evolving, thanks to field trips, as well as the works of researchers and artists.

Her latest projects are:

Afrocyberféminismes in partnership with Gaité Lyrique, a research project that explores digital technologies and the associated stakes in contemporary Africa and its diasporas, namely by investigating the place of gender and race.

And, Digital Imaginaries a joined project of Ker Thiossane, Wits Art Museum, Fak’ugesi, and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. DI articulates digital technologies and Africa together with a view to reevaluate the dominant imaginaries that shape contemporary digital practices. The first chapter was the 6th edition of the Afropixel festival, Non-Aligned Utopias, by Ker Thiossane, in Dakar in May 2018. NAU revisits the struggle for non-aligned African positionalities under the conditions of contemporary digital practices.

Oulimata has developed the platform xamxam, (youtube, afrocyberfeminismes) and co-founded the collective Startup Africa Paris which focuses on the African diaspora and digital entrepreneurship.

She holds a Master in cultural management delivered by the Paris 8 University, and studied Art and Language the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). Linkedin.

Most recent talks & papers: ● Afrotech HMKV, Dortmund ● CURA, Tabita Rezaire ● Intense Art Magazine, IAM, Lagos & Dakar special edition ● Galaxies N°46, African SF ● La Revue du Crieur N°2, Médiapart / La Découverte, La science-fiction africaine, laboratoire d’un autre futur ● Fondation Ricard with Kapwani Kiwanga, France culture, ● Festicoll, G. Berger University, Saint-Louis Senegal, ● Fondation Gulbenkian, Des Utopies non alignées.

Heba Amin

Heba Y. Amin received her Master of Arts degree in New Media Art and Interactive Design at the University of Minnesota. She is a lecturer at Bard College Berlin and doctorate fellow in Art History at Freie Universitaet and a recent Digital Cultures Research Lab fellow at Leuphana University. Amin’s work is embedded in extensive research and a studio practice that looks at the convergence of politics, technology, and architecture. Working with various media and extensively with archives, her work highlights and engages with narratives of national sovereignty, often in contested territories and especially questions methodological assumptions embedded within Western historiography. She is particularly invested in tactics of subversion and other techniques used to undermine systems as well as topics related to critical spatial practice. Amin has received many grants, including a DAAD grant for science and technology and the Rhizome Commissions grant. Furthermore, Amin is also one of the artists behind the subversive graffiti action on the set of the television series “Homeland” which received worldwide media attention.

Amin has had recent exhibitions at the 10th Berlin Biennale, 15th Istanbul Biennale, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin, Kalmar Art Museum Sweden, La Villette Paris, FACT Liverpool, Kunsthalle Wien, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, the Kunstverein in Hamburg, Camera Austria, Berlin Berlinale 9th Forum Expanded Exhibition, and the IV Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. She also has an extensive repertoire in public speaking.