Open Call for Artworks: Refamiliarization Exhibition @ Platform Artspace, UC Berkeley

Platform Artspace and The New Media Working Group (Berkeley Center for New Media), UC Berkeley

defamiliarization, new media, media, covid, pandemic, everyday life

Exhibition Dates: September 28–October 1, 2021

Submissions accepted on a rolling basis until: July 31, 2021 (use the following form for submissions:
Notifications made on a rolling basis; latest notifications by August 6, 2021

Entry is FREE
All artists 18 and over are invited to apply

Artworks can take a range of media forms, such as:

  • Time-based media (film, video, animation, games, interactive, VR and AR)
  • Digitally-informed sculpture and installation
  • Performance

A century ago, Viktor Shklovsky introduced the concept of “defamiliarization” to describe art’s revolutionary potential. Facing a world beset by habitualization, automatism, and alienation, he proclaims that art “exists so that one may recover the sensation of life.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has effected a thoroughgoing sense of defamiliarization — even the most quotidian habits have come strange. It has awakened a reflexivity in our relations to the objects of everyday life, making us more aware of the clothes we wear when leaving the house. Simultaneously, though, the domestic sphere has become the site for further habituation to technologies that imperceptibly extract value from our every utterance and gesture. On a global scale, existing inequities across and within communities have been exacerbated. While some seemingly intractable institutional norms may have been temporarily interrupted, others have been fortified. A sustained moment of emergency, the pandemic obliges us to assess what must be recast and resisted and what, if anything, may be recovered with care. We propose “Refamiliarization” as a practice, which calls on participants to speculate and give form to new versions of what could be “familiar”.

Artworks should engage, thematically or materially, with how new media is fundamental to the practice of refamiliarization. Specifically, projects can consider the following:

  • Home and Habitat
  • The Public Sphere
  • Encounters – Mediated, Unmediated
  • Presence – Embodied, Virtual
  • Nonhuman Sensing

The exhibition will be held in the fall of 2021 at Platform Artspace, an experimental indoor/outdoor gallery located on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. We acknowledge that this space is located in the territory of Huichin, the ancestral and unceded lands of Chochenyo speaking Ohlone peoples, specifically, the Confederated Villages of Lisjan.

Platform is ideal for artworks that thrive outside of traditional art spaces, take risks, and are participatory. The exhibition and the artspace particularly welcome BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and ability diverse perspectives on the theme of Refamiliarization. Given the uncertain nature of the ongoing pandemic and possible limits on gatherings, we encourage works that are capable of being experienced both in-person and virtually.

Refamiliarization is sponsored by the New Media Working Group, a graduate student-led affiliate of the Berkeley Center for New Media. The exhibition is co-curated by Justin Berner and Julia Irwin.

Logistical considerations:

  • We are looking for works that are complete or under development – documentation of the work will enhance the likelihood of acceptance into the show
  • Please consider whether your work would ideally be exhibited indoors or outdoors, and also if it could be exhibited outdoors
  • There is the opportunity to digitally fabricate a limited number of artworks at UC Berkeley facilities

For photos of the exhibition space, please visit:
The Refamiliarization Exhibition Call for Artworks on the Berkeley Center for New Media website:

Platform Artspace website:

Submit proposals using this form:



Platform Artspace is a new, experimental art venue located on the UC Berkeley campus. Platform supports interdisciplinary, performative and collaborative art projects by curating workshops, events, and exhibitions. This exhibition is co-curated by Julia Irwin and Justin Berner, co-organizers of the New Media Working Group, an affiliate of the Berkeley Center for New Media.