Democracy Machine

Democracy Machine provides direct support to artists through an innovate fellowship. Democracy Machine enables artists to create collaborative forms for building sustainable equity.

Fractal Fellowship: Phase 1

Earlier this month, 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. The program is guided by the central prompt “Can democracy exist and what does it look like?” and will produce a range of creative responses and public outputs to engage Eyebeam’s broader community.

Existing at the core of The Democracy Machine is Fractal Fellowships—a radically reimagined iteration of Eyebeam’s flagship residency that fully hands over authority to artist cohorts. Cohorts will collectively create new systems for artist support and resource distribution, shifting the dynamic from institutions to the artists themselves. Our initial cohort will work collectively over the course of eight months to create a dynamic, evolving blueprint and strategy to unlock artist-led invention in the areas of self-governance, technology, and democracy.

The initial group of artists will work together to develop the thematic focus and selection criteria of the next cohort of artists, and will also work with Eyebeam’s team, program partners, and advisors to provide guidance throughout the process. This will continue for four phases, over several years. Throughout, Eyebeam will act as administrative support and will provide full fellowship resources for all participating artists, including robust professional development, generous financial stipends, and access to mentorship, tools, and exhibition opportunities.

By the end of the program, Eyebeam aims to support up to 75 artists by distributing significant funds, resources, and public recognition.

To help support the Phase 1 Fractal Fellowships process, Eyebeam has brought on a Program Advisor, Adela C. Licona , founder of the Art of Change Agency , to work closely with the cohort, first to help to arrive at an understanding of shared language, values, and working agreements. As the fellowship progresses beyond the initial stage, the Program Advisor will provide ongoing support by conducting group and one-on-one meetings with the artists, assisting in the documentation of the evolution of the first phase, and supporting the group in the process of visioning, articulating, and creating a plan to execute their shared goals.

Fractal Fellowships: Phase 1 Nomination Committee

Amelia Winger-Bearskin , Banks Preeminence Chair, Associate Professor of AI and the Arts: Digital Arts and Sciences at University of Florida, Innovator at U.S. Department of Art and Culture: Honor Native Land
Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde , Assistant Professor of Interaction and Media Design, Parsons School of Design
Claudia Peña , Executive Director, For Freedoms
Dr. Kevin Gotkin , Access Ecologist + Organizer
Miguel A. López , Writer, Researcher and Curator
Nora Khan , Writer, Editor, Curator, and 2021 Momus Critical Writing Fellowship Mentor
Regine Gilbert , Industry Assistant Professor, NYU Tandon School of Engineering
farid rakun , Artist, writer, and member of ruangrupa, artistic directors of documenta fifteen
Dr. Syrus Marcus Ware , Assistant Professor, McMaster University, Artist and Activist
Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan , Assistant Curator, Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Walei Sabry , Digital Accessibility Coordinator, NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

Building a Coalition

In an effort to broaden the impact of the work that will unfold throughout The Democracy Machine, Eyebeam is building an expansive network of organizations and field leaders who are invested in privacy and technology, AI and inherent bias, journalism, and emerging digital media, along with arts and activism.

The Center for Artistic Activism , Through innovative research and providing free resources the Center for Artistic Activism has helped build, sustain, and develop the field of artistic activism.

THE CITY nonprofit, nonpartisan, digital news platform dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York, producing consistent, high-quality and high-impact accountability reporting.

Data & Society is an independent nonprofit research organization that convenes researchers, policymakers, technologists, journalists, entrepreneurs, artists, and lawyers to challenge the power and purpose of technology in society.

La Becque | Residency (Switzerland) hosts and fosters the creativity of artists of all backgrounds and disciplines.

Momus is an international online art publication and podcast committed to reading our cultural text more deeply, and dedicated to the vital, uphill work of art criticism in a critical time.

370J Project is an innovation hub for engineering, applied science, urban science, digital technology, and digital media arts.

Emerging Critics Residency

For Phase One, Eyebeam is partnering with Momus , an international online art publication and podcast, to support a paid Critical Writing Fellowship. The Fellowship will provide sustained mentorship, editing, art-publishing access, and artist/writer/editor network building to an early-career art writer or critic. The Critical Writing Fellow will engage with and respond to Eyebeam’s inaugural phase of its new Fractal Fellowship program, from October 2021 – May 2022.

Attended by a close and sustained mentorship with writer and critic Nora N. Khan, and overseen by the Momus editorial team, this period of research, dialogue, and drafting will result in the Fellow producing a feature-length text in addition to other shorter-form pieces produced throughout. The Critical Writing Fellow will also play an important role in the documentation of Eyebeam’s Fractal Fellowships Phase One, and will work with the cohort and Eyebeam team on producing text that will serve to illuminate the process, shared learnings, and outcomes generated by the artists’ collective work together. The inaugural year of the Critical Writing Fellowship was highly competitive, demonstrating the growing desire for sustained mentorship in art publishing.

Last updated: 13.07.2022
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