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Hybrids:
A Futures
Open Call  

Physical and Digital exhibition
Melkweg Expo, Amsterdam

HYBRIDS: Forging New Realities as Counter-Narrative

After experiencing a world in shock and the collective urgency to nurture a RESET, Futures invites you now to respond to our 2021 theme HYBRIDS: Forging New Realities as Counter-Narrative. We are interested in how artists are narrating the shifting states of disciplines, human and technological communication, forms and styles of creation and questions of the right to narrate.

Shifts in our social, ecological and political climates have forced a reconsideration of the modern systems that once navigated our sense of being and belonging. While in parallel, a permanent synthesis of online and offline dynamics is changing the way knowledge is produced, spread and consumed. Within this pressure cooker of hybridised experimentation, we are witnessing the forging of new realities each day.

So how do we, as artists, perceive and narrate the transformations of the world we live in?

"Can we usher in a new cultural literacy?"

We would like to see what new forms of narration you are using through a studied, methodological approach that combines reading and seeing, to arrive at a heightened visual and verbal literacy.

How does an author mix multiple and different points of view? How do artists interject their own observations and thoughts into these wider subjects?

Within this extensive umbrella topic, we plan to explore several sub-topics, those that relate to relevant issues, ideas, and problematics that form the image of our changing reality. They include:

What is our relationship to machine-mediated pictures of the real? Humans are no longer at the centre of the act of taking a photograph. Technological advancement has allowed the development of a process through which different types of technical devices are able to create images of the real world. How do we perceive machine-mediated pictures of the real and how can technical apparatuses contribute to the process of documentation?

How do we take advantage of what the internet has to offer? In our universally connected world, it becomes ever more important to analyse the way in which the visual is created, modified, post-produced, re-contextualised and distributed. We wonder how editing, transforming and mixing practices can be created through the use of different types of images – from vernacular photography to computer-generated images, memes and emojis, news footages, data visualisations and user-generated content, to present a comprehensive and aesthetically coherent process of documentation?

How do we embrace interactivity? We simultaneously experience both the physical and the virtual worlds. VR, AR and AP (augmented photography), gamification and mixed reality offer different sensorial experiences and help blur the boundaries between the medium and content. The way audiences consume narratives has shifted from a passive to a more and more active position: we select, we interact, we construct sense and meaning. How should documentary narration be designed from a user-driven perspective, modelled on the example of social activism that has proven its ability to produce new frameworks for society and to challenge existing narratives?

How do we use the plurality of voices and contextualise them? In our post-truth era, we witness the emergence of ‘alternative’ types of narration of the real based on rumours, misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. While a plurality of narratives are a major asset to our democratised world, we also need to provide tools for reading and contextualising the visual and allow for critical reflection. How do we identify differences between human and nonhuman agency?

How do we process information? The way in which images are distributed via networks implies different approaches to their production, just as the time taken to react and critically analyse social events, news, stories and happenings is different. Speed goes hand in hand with accessibility: virality, real-time processing, and live streaming permeate the way the world is narrated and, at the same time, are subordinated to technological mediation.

What is the role of an artist in these changing systems and contexts?

Hybrids: Futures Open Call 2021 will focus on investigating these challenges and aim to give 10 artists a digital and physical space to respond, re-think, process and/or add layers to their existing works. This exhibition will take an hybridised approach between offline and online spaces. Experimental approaches are welcome as well all image-based work in combination with related media such as sculpture, installation, sound/music, and performance.

What do we offer?

  • The chance to exhibit your work during Futures annual event at Melkweg Expo in Amsterdam, from September to October 2021.
  • A €750 research fee to produce the online exhibition (or to realise the artwork).
  • One artist will be assigned an extra fee to produce a visual essay for the upcoming 2021 Futures Photography publication.
  • Close consultations with Futures' curators.
  • Networking opportunities with the experts invited to take part
    in Futures programming for 2021.
  • A feature in the 2021 Futures publication.

Selection process

Applications will be assessed by a selection committee comprising of Futures member institutions. The committee will ensure that a multitude of perspectives are included. Selection criteria are based on:

  • Quality, relevance and criticality of the proposal
  • Alignment with the curatorial theme of Hybrids

Who can apply?

Artists that have been selected as Futures Talents by one of our member institutions in the period 2018–2021.

How to apply?

We ask applicants to prepare their application through a Google Form provided below. Applications include a proposal for the hybrid exhibition space (online or offline), a portfolio and CV. Artists are invited to re-think an existing body of work or propose brand new work.

Application deadline: 05/06/2021, 00:00 (CEST)

Application form

Hybrids: Open Call Application Form
June 2021