Imagine that tomorrow you wake up on this planet and all social, organizational and communication technologies have disappeared—i.e., email, mobile phones, apps. Anyone who considered themselves a technologist has vanished as well. And no one has a memory of any of these technologies, except for you. This is a post-pandemic world itching with dissatisfaction about tedious bureaucracy and how much we labor, and determined to build lives of meaning. In this vision, you value connecting with others, patience, empathy, ethics, and the right to be lazy, unproductive, creative, complicated, and contradictory. You loved certain aspects of the digital world. For example, it allowed you to exist somewhere and in other worlds at the same time. You treasure having access to multiple points of view that catapult you out of one-way, teller-receiver narratives and teach you to be more flexible. And so you have been appointed the Director of Social Technology with the power to commission and design new technologies facilitating social and workplace interactions. No one has any expectations for what you will create because no one remembers the past.
UnProductiveSolutions (UnPro) is an artwork/curatorial project presenting as an online “company” invested in revolutionary, values-based, ethical technologies. Italy-based curator Marialaura Ghidini and U.S.-based artist Rebekah Modrak invite artists to submit imaginative and conceptually rigorous proposals imagining technologies. Your technology will be presented as one of the products of the UnProductiveSolutions company.
Imagined technologies may be digital, a combination of digital and analog, or post-digital (meaning, an imagined mode of transmission). Proposed technologies do not need to be plausible, may be fantastic, and should be sincere. Proposed technologies should be critical of existing ones in their attempt to generate alternative models, but UnProductiveSolutions is not skeptical or meant to be read as parody.
SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL
We would like to read proposals that imagine new forms of technology, how it enables communication, contexts for its use, values it enables, and relationships with cultures. These may be speculative or intended to be realized. Proposals may be made by individuals or teams of artists.
We imagine receiving your thoughts and imaginings via a three-page pdf with several images and no more than 600 words, but if you have an alternative form of presentation, we’re open to this.
Proposals should include a timeline for the production of work, beginning with December 5 as the notification of acceptance date. The project will be presented towards the end of 2022.
We will shortlist proposals by November 19, 2021
Submit proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 12, 2021, 11:59pm (ET)
WHAT THE OPPORTUNITY INCLUDES, IF ACCEPTED
Five proposals will be accepted for artists to develop and complete the work. Artists will receive a $2,000 honorarium / budget upon submission of the final work. As part of the program, we will arrange a studio visit with a specialist, such as a philosopher or astronomer, to further the development of the work. Artists will receive the services of a videographer to create a marketing promotion for your technology. Artworks / technologies will be displayed as a succession of “featured” subsidiary companies on the UnProductiveSolutions exhibition/website.
Five proposals will be accepted in their current state as proposals. These will receive a $100 honorarium and will be presented in their proposal form as “future projects” on the UnProductiveSolutions exhibition/website.
The Open Call will be reviewed by curator Marialaura Ghidini and artist/writer Rebekah Modrak, with a collaborative interest in disrupting the rhetoric of digital technologies, e-commerce, and the workings of online platforms. We have worked together as Modrak&Ghidini since 2015, starting with the project #exstrange (2017), an intervention into the online marketplace that we enacted between January 15 and April 15, 2017.