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Eyebeam to host radical, ambitious festival of art and ideas
Convening will launch the inventions of artists rising to the call of a better digital future
Artists and thinkers working across boundaries and disciplines from artificial intelligence to volumetric dance to create a more humane world
Brooklyn, February 2, 2021 — Eyebeam today announced a four-day online/offline festival of art and ideas to celebrate its inaugural digital fellowship Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future. An ambitious digital convening of radical practitioners spanning the fields of public policy, journalism, healthcare, and more, “From the Rupture: Ideas and Actions for the Future,” will present more than 20 talks and conversations with dynamic guest speakers and eight new visionary artist projects produced during the global pandemic, as well as physical activations and installations in New York City.
From Rashaad Newsome ’s Being 1.5 , a soon to launch app that will deliver online mental health therapy to the Black community, to Dillon Sung ’snew and history-making public archive of thousands of PRA (Public Records Act) documents received from the Los Angeles Police Department and the city of Los Angeles, to site-specific performances in the windows of Abrons Arts Center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the innovative festival is a hybrid of digital and real-world experiences. Taking place online during the afternoons of February 17, 18, 19, and 20. Eyebeam will host multidimensional conversations dedicated to the eight proposals daily at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, followed by launches of the proposals at 4:30 p.m. The festival is free, open to the public, and will be hosted on a bespoke open-source alternative platform created by Trust Berlin that serves as the festival hub for audiences to explore and engage with fellow attendees — a “digital world” allowing for dynamic interaction with the program and other attendees and personal exploration.
The festival will take place on our new hub and physically in New York City via a wheat-paste campaign (pictured) in historically Black New York City neighborhoods to build awareness for Newsome’s Being 1.5 and performances organized by Rapid Response artist Valencia James with Volumetric Performance Toolbox of movement artists in the street-level windows of the Abrons Arts Center, February 19 to 21.
“This is a festival, a call to action, and everyone is invited,” said executive director Roderick Schrock, who in the spring of 2020 paused Eyebeam’s flagship residency and announced an open call for radical, visionary projects that can be distributed publicly, Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future. “As we release these artist-made responses to questions of the moment, we are boldly envisioning new forms of civic engagement that put power into the hands of
Added Sally Szwed, artistic director, “We are thrilled to launch these new works built with justice in mind and toward a more equitable digital realm. This is truly a festival of ideas, actions, and tactics with remarkable and daring leaders from a multiplicity of fields and disciplines. We feel very honored to debut these new projects at a time when the transformative and healing power of art is needed more than ever.”
The program will delve deeply into critical topics related to digital and public life ranging from consensual coding to the gentrification of the internet to police surveillance, with contributions from individuals such as scholar and activist Sasha Costanza-Chock , known for their work on networked social movements, transformative media organizing, and design justice; pioneering computer programmer, scholar, and organizer Joan Greenbaum ; sex worker and campaigner for better working conditions for sex workers Juno Mac ; philosopher and writer Timothy Morton ; mathematician, physicist, and specialist in decoding animal communication Aza Raskin ; artist and policy advocate Laurie Jo Reynolds , who challenges the demonization, warehousing, and social exclusion of people in the criminal legal system; curator, writer, and artist Legacy Russell ; and Associate Director of Community Organizing for Electonic Frontier Foundation Nash Sheard , A full list of speakers and Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future artists is available on our website .
The festival kicks off on Monday, February 15 with a major offline activation: Newsome’s wheat-pasting campaign in historically Black New York City neighborhoods. The online program begins Wednesday, February 17 with a focus on mental health in new technology featuring Joan Greenbaum; Filipina American writer, educator, and artist Dorothy Santos ; and mental health advocate Cydney Brown , who is deeply invested in the nourishment and empowerment of black queer and trans people and views holistic, community-oriented healthcare as a critical necessity for a better society. The remarks and conversation will anticipate launches that afternoon of inventions by Rashaad Newsome and Xin Xin : Newsome will invite audiences to participate in a special conversation about Being 1.5 , and Xin Xin will invite audiences into the process of building code based on consent with facilitators that include Curator for the Oral History archives at Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library Kimberly Springer and new media artist and poet Shawné Michaelain Holloway .
On February 18, the program will explore decentralized knowledge and natural intelligence with remarks
by Timothy Morton , Cuban journalist Elaine Díaz , and writer, researcher, and curator Miguel A. López . Researcher and Mozilla fellow Julie Ricard will have a conversation with Rapid Response artist Juan Pablo García Sossa in anticipation of the launch of his Futura Trōpica , a decentralized network for exchange among territories of the tropical belt via an online and offline platform, in which the audiences will be invited to experience a digital version of the platform. Also that day, the debut of the artist collective Solar Protocol’s experimental network of solar-powered servers installed at different locations around the world will feature a special conversation with Head of Public Engagement, Learning, and Impact at Walker Art Center Nisa Mackie , recognized as a leader in transforming arts and cultural institutions by implementing equitable practices and initiatives.
On February 19, the program will explore how performance is being reimagined and modes of connection during and after the global pandemic with remarks by dancer and executive director of Brooklyn Arts Exchange Kara Gilmour, followed by a conversation on the state of live performance between artist/technologist Amelia Winger-Bearskin and Rapid Response artist Valencia James (pictured).
In the wake of the shuttering effects of Covid-19 on performers worldwide, James and Volumetric Performance Toolbox invented accessible and easy to use technology that allows creators to perform from their own living spaces for a virtual audience; an offline component of the festival debuts that day, new work from their cohort of movement artists incubated during Rapid Response in the street-level windows of Abrons Arts Center during in the early evenings, through February 21. Also that day, Aza Raskin will make remarks followed by a conversation between artist Paige Mulhern of The Best Bees Company and Rapid Response artist Aladin Borioli (Apian) in advance of the debut of The Intimacy Machine, a new digital platform and a call for technology that takes into account the perspective of bees and knowledge collected over thousands of years of human and bee relationships; audiences will be invited to enjoy a live musical performance by Laurent Güdel of electronics, interferences, bee recordings, acoustic amplifications, and other non-linear modulations. On the final day of the festival, February 20, the program will focus on surveillance, creative resistance, and community organizing in digital space. Juno Mac will make remarks in advance of Rapid Response artist collective Veil Machine collaborating with Kink Out to launch their Body of Workers, a private gallery created by and for sex worker artists; audiences will be invited into this art sanctuary for sex workers that will include a peepshow. And Laurie Jo Reynolds will speak about her work on conviction registries and her use of technology in her ongoing advocacy campaigns followed by a conversation between inaugural Executive Director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU Law Vincent Southerland and Rapid Response artist Dillon Sung (in collaboration with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition) that anticipates the premiere of a documentary of Sung’s efforts to create open access to thousands of PRA (Public Records Act) documents received from the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles.
On the occasion of the festival, Rapid Response artists Rashaad Newsome and Valencia James with Volumetric Performance Toolbox will unfold their solutions into public life with physical activations and installations. Newsome will conduct a wheatpaste campaign in historically Black New York City neighborhoods to build awareness for his Being 1.5 app as a free mental health resource for the Black community. James with Volumetric Performance Toolbox will present new work from their cohort of movement artists incubated while in residence as part of Rapid Response; the installation goes on view in the street-level windows of the Abrons Arts Center in the early evenings until 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, February 19 to 21.
Limited Edition Box Set
In celebration of the inventions, Eyebeam has created a special limited edition box of objects and ephemera. The objects relate to each of the digital projects, providing physical engagement beyond the computer screen. Each contribution is thoughtfully designed by Rapid Response artists, such as a special “entry card” that provides ongoing access to Futura Trōpica ; URL Panties from Veil Machine ; and a visually striking poster made by Rashaad Newsome of Being 1.5 . Boxes are available for purchase or as part of a membership to Eyebeam’s new membership initiative, “The Fold.” More about The Fold .
Attention: Calendar Editors
Eyebeam hosts a four-day online/offline festival of art and ideas to celebrate its inaugural digital fellowship. A celebration of artist inventions and a convening of radical practitioners, “From the Rupture: Ideas and Actions for the Future,” will present more than 20 talks and conversations with dynamic guest speakers, including pioneering computer programmer Joan Greenbaum ; philosopher and writer Timothy Morton ; museum leader, curator, and writer Laura Raicovich ; curator, writer, and artist Legacy Russell; and eight new visionary projects produced during the global pandemic by artists such as Rashaad Newsome , as well as physical activations in New York City. The festival takes place from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on February 17, 18, 19, and 20. The festival is free, open to the public, and hosted on a bespoke open-source alternative and dynamic platform .
Image credits, Courtesy of the artists and Eyebeam.
Being 1.5 poster, designed by artist Rashaad Newsome, that will be activated in a citywide wheatpaste campaign throughout historically Black NYC neighborhoods. Courtesy Rashaad Newsome Studio and Eyebeam.
Valencia James, a freelance Barbadian performer, maker, and researcher performs in her living room while being recorded by the Volumetric Performance Toolkit (VPT), a hardware kit that allows performers to live-stream in 3D. Photograph by Whitney Legge/ Courtesy Eyebeam.
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 humane future.
Eyebeam provides both space and support for a community of diverse, justice-driven artists. Our annual fellowship program, highly engaged community of alumni, advanced tools and resources, shows, and events help our artists bring their work to life and out into the world.
Eyebeam enables people to think creatively and critically about technology’s effect on society, with the mission of revealing new paths toward a better future for all.