Digital Culture – 26 projects selected

In the fourth Digital Culture round of 2023, 26 applications have been selected. Sean Gilis, coordinator Digital Culture, reflects on the round.

8 February 2024

general impression

The last round of Digital Culture in 2023 includes projects that question, imagine and shape the ever-changing relationship between our society and technology. In this round, the projects of the supported makers, collectives and designers relate to a variety of fields including media art, AV performances, AI, worldbuilding, creative coding, sensory storytelling, art-science, posthumanism and internet culture. The quality of the game applications is remarkably strong. More than a third of this round’s total budget will be devoted to six games. Two of the games are by artists or designers who find that a game as a form fits their artistic concept. The remaining game applications did come from applicants active within the games industry.

selection

The available budget in this round was sufficient to award a grant to all 26 positively assessed applications. A few notable projects from this round’s selection are:

Scorched Earth – Afternature productions
The AFTERNATURE productions Scorched Earth project is a story-driven role-playing game with science-fiction elements set in the Balkans, inspired by European arthouse cinema. It was created with the vision to diversify and advance the medium, away from the ‘fun & entertainment’ paradigm of video games. In doing so, AFTERNATURE productions aims to bring the game closer to a meaningful and profound art experience, similar to reading literature or watching a film. In the game, the player plays a man in his 30s dealing with grief over the mysterious disappearance of a friend a few years ago. A recurring dream urges the player to leave the city and take a trip to the countryside to investigate the circumstances of his disappearance. This pre-production of the game aims to continue the development of the game, explore and develop the pipelines and workflows for the production phase for different facets of production, create an original soundtrack and ultimately generate a prototype of Scorched Earth. This can be used when approaching publishers for further funding.

Slow Technology Reader – Valiz
The publication Slow Technology Reader by architect, designer, writer and artist Carolyn F. Strauss (Slow Research Lab) with contributions from 30 authors is published by Valiz and designed by HallerBrun. Digital devices and machine intelligence are increasingly penetrating our personal lives, touching many facets of our culture and planet. What do these technologies mean in our existence; how can we critically assess them and find alternative representations, methods and practices? Slow Technology Reader dives into deep, old and new powers of imagination to outline different possibilities and futures. By means of six themes (mingling, haunting, healing, holding, freeing, trembling), the Slow Technology Reader looks at what technology and digital culture can mean from a slow perspective. Traditionally, technology has been predominantly male-dominated. The compiler and authors look at the rich, surprising insights of feminist, queer, indigenous, activist, ecological practices, and how these can set out new starting points for digital culture and other technology.

From pixel to planet – Merel Witteman
With the project From pixel to planet: a designer’s guide to more environmentally friendly websites, Merel Witteman, together with web developer Danny Moons, explores the possibilities for reducing the huge carbon footprint of websites, targeting creative professionals in particular. They are identifying state-of-the-art solutions and transforming them into something that is available to all. The results of this research will be tested and shared via a proof-of-concept website. The aim is to develop a Dutch carbon-footprint tool for websites, provide ordered information on the data and energy consumption of different solutions, and create a clear idea and plan for a follow-up project. In the long term, Witteman and Moons aim to make environmentally friendly websites accessible to all.

Their Place – Leon van Oldenburgh
In the narrative game Their Place: A Story told by glimpses through a windowpane, the player assumes the role of a window cleaner who washes the same resident’s windows every month. With this project, Leon van Oldenburgh wants to explore the narrative possibilities of room-scale motion tracking on a phone, where the phone serves as the window cleaner’s sponge. In the immersive story Their Place, players are made aware of the process of becoming lonely and the role that technology can play in it in a personalized, interactive way. This start-up phase explores the possibilities of interaction forms and how they can best support the narrative aspect. A communication plan, production plan and draft narrative will also be generated to engage further partners.

numbers

Of the 54 subsidy applications taken into consideration, 26 are receiving grants. This brings the percentage of applications receiving grants to 48%. The budget available for this round was € 400,000.

next round

The upcoming closing dates for the Digital Culture rounds are 16 April 2024 and 10 September 2024.