Digital Culture – 23 projects selected

In the second Digital Culture round of 2023, 23 proposals have been selected. The available budget was not sufficient to award a grant to all positively assessed applications. Sean Gilis, coordinator Digital Culture Grant Scheme, reflects on the round.

1 August 2023

general impression
In this round, it is once again notable that many applications try to relate to artificial intelligence. AI is a common theme, in methodology and as a topic. Like the performance The Circle of Truth Part 2: Doctor Faustus by Stichting DOOR, which encourages reflection on our own digital behaviour and the danger of AI. Game applications often centre on research into non-linear storytelling or creating a story yourself.

The projects being supported are diverse in nature. For instance, the experimental residencies during Highlight Delft festival, where makers work together with specialist knowledge, equipment and technical support on the artistic development of sensors. With Big DaDa 2.0, MILK is exploring during Museumnacht Amsterdam the new art movement that connects young and old in the digital art divide. The interactive installation Breaking The Silence by Farah Hijazi creates awareness about the representation of bodies in digital cultures.

The available budget of € 400,000 was not sufficient to award a grant to all 32 positively assessed applications. This meant that prioritization took place. The procedure used is described in the Digital Culture Grant Scheme. After prioritization, 9 projects were eliminated from the selection.

A few notable projects from this round’s selection are:

Red Kiss – Wispfire
Red Kiss: A Queer Vampire Thriller set in 80’s Berlin is a video game from Wispfire made with characters in 2D motion capture. These characters were previously developed with the help of a starting grant. Red Kiss is a choice-driven game with RPG elements for PC and consoles. The game is heavily influenced by the vampire horror genre. The setting is the historical struggle of the gay community in Berlin during the Cold War in the 1980s. Wispfire wants to create a full game and develop a ‘vertical slice’ by February 2025. For the game’s audio, there will be collaboration with Tumult Kollektiv, a Berlin-based group of audio artists.

Pluralities of Scale – Stichting Link
According to Stichting LINK, the computer chip is the basis of the digital age. In addition, Dutch companies Philips, ASML and NXP play an important role in the chip sector. Stichting LINK has a unique archive of objects and testimonies that makes the development history of this often opaque technology transparent, traceable and tangible. Pluralities of Scale consists of an exhibition and a public and education programme with four themes: Social, Global, Technical and Visual Scale. The exhibition explores the impact of the computer chip on our human existence through archive documents, contemporary artworks and testimonies from former employees of Philips and NXP.

Beauty and The Beep – Simone C. Niquille
Beauty and The Beep is a short film by Simone C. Niquille about the data and ethics of computer vision technology in domestic robots. Extensive training datasets are being compiled to create ‘smart’ cameras that interpret their world. A robot vacuum cleaner does not know what objects are in front of it: is it a piece of rubbish, an earring, or a crawling baby? The film asks the question: what are the consequences of living together with computer vision? And how is data collected from our individual homes? In an age of increasingly accessible AI tools, the film is both an investigation and an inverted curse that reveals the magic behind the technology. Niquille will collaborate with creative technologist Cailean Finn and electronic music producer Jeff Witscher. Beauty and The Beep will be presented at Impakt Festival 2023. Fotomuseum Winterthur will publish two interviews online.

Astronaut Training Program: Becoming Red Dust – Hung Lu Chan
A trip to Mars can have negative psychological effects due to prolonged isolation and unfamiliarity with the environment. Yet current astronaut training is mainly focused on physical exercises. The project Astronaut Training Program: Becoming Red Dust by Hung Lu Chan aims to change that by developing an interactive guided meditation for astronauts in training. In the meditation, the audience assumes the role of red dust. For the project, Hung Lu Chan is collaborating with a wide range of partners including Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway (astronomer), Robert Oostenveld (neuroscientist), Prof. Andrea Evers (psychologist), Hai-Ting Liao (musician), Yi-Hua Jan (visual artist), Chia-Jeng Tsai (creative technologist) and EEGSynth.

Click here to see all the projects selected in Digital Culture in 2023.

Of the 77 subsidy applications taken into consideration, 23 are receiving grants. This brings the percentage of applications receiving grants to 30%. The number of applications for a starting grant was again very high at 30. Of these, 13 were assessed positively. The next closing date of the Digital Culture Grant Scheme is 16 August 2023.

Photo at the top: POST SCHOOL – Post Neon