« Rigged Systems,« curated by Jonas Lund
Welcome to 2019. It’s been 30 years since the World Wide Web was introduced to the world. Four years later, all commercial restrictions were removed and the doors were open for anyone to participate, to innovate, to expand, and to capture. What was initially considered a tremendous opportunity and promise for the democratic process, as well as an open transparent public space for civil public debate where everyone can be heard and has a voice, slowly turned darker, opaque, and almost entirely financed by advertisements. The Internet’s platforms incentivize engagement above all else; they give you what you want when you want it: filter bubbles, fake news, misinformation, bots, polarization, and the drama of populistic communication. After all, fear is the greatest emotional trigger and thus produces the best engagement.
At the heart of contemporary networked systems lies the algorithm: the beautiful black box of magic decision making, used to justify whatever happens as something that’s outside your control. We don’t know how it happened. The system recommended it. The algorithm recommended you for this job, the algorithm declined your application for subsidized health care. This product is so relevant to you. Vote Leave! Why don’t you look at this video next? Swipe left! Other people also bought. Trump. Karen just had a child!
With your consent (you did agree to their terms of service), vast datasets have been created, detailed and precise models of human behaviors, desires, fears, triggers, and interactions. The social media networks know everything about you, yet you have no idea how their algorithms work nor what they have collected about you and what datasets you show up in. The information asymmetry is complete.
The history of most technologies shows that those with power find ways to harness the power of new technologies and turn it into a means to further their own power. So how do you respond to this situation, to an eroding political system, the simplification, flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers and a society influenced by detailed models of behaviors, of opaque algorithms with murky incentives, to persuasive behavioral scientists that know how you respond to certain messages better than you do yourself, and to the power brokers and owners of the datasets?
The Rigged System open call is looking for submissions that aim to subvert the power structures in contemporary network systems and corporations. Works that wish to reclaim a sense of agency within the systems where it feels like there is none. What would suitable infrastructures, needed for public opinion-forming and by extension political debate, look like? How can we imagine new forms of political debate and places for political communication? How can we use social media not only as tools, but as spaces to perform alternative narratives that can discover and develop loopholes, hacks, hijacks, subversions, performances, to reclaim authority, to own a part of the structure and perhaps open up the opaque systems that control and govern our society?
We accept text, performance, documentary video and fiction, 3D objects, net sculptures and installations, web archives, apps, and any other experimental mediums. Selected projects should be carried out in open-source formats that are well-documented, shareable, and consider the accessibility of its users, who may range in age, race, gender, economic class, and ability.
Submit your project proposal in the form of:
– a headline
– a concept text in English (1,000–1,500 characters with spaces)
– a header image (high resolution, landscape format)
– a short bio in English (500 characters with spaces)
– a portfolio PDF (images, text, links)
For each call, the curator selects four project proposals, whose creators are rewarded with a four-week residency and 750 USD. All selected web residents are nominated for the production prize HASH by Solitude & ZKM which will be awarded in 2019.
Applications: until June 28, 2019 (midnight)
Web residencies: July/August 2019
In 2016, Akademie Schloss Solitude launched the web residencies to encourage young talents of the international digital scene and artists from all disciplines dealing with web-based practices. ZKM has been program partner since 2017. For each call, the curator selects four project proposals whose creators receive a four-week residency and 750 USD. Artists are invited to experiment with digital technologies and new art forms, and reflect on the topics set by the curators. Web residencies are carried out exclusively online, and the works are presented on schloss-post.com.
Artists and students of all disciplines as well as former or current Solitude fellows may apply. There is no age limit.
Submit your content under this link. The deadline is June 28, 2019 (midnight). Please write to schlosspost(a)akademie-solitude.de if you have any questions.