OPEN CALL

»Transhumanism

updates are available«

12 – 18 March, 2018

Digital Spring is a biennial media art festival, which is organized by ARGEkultur, subnet, Salzburger Kunstverein, Center for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at the University of Salzburg and other partners. The next festival will be held in March 2018 in Salzburg and deals with “Transhumanism”.

By 2045, humans will have transcended their biological limitations, predicts futurist and chief developer at Google Ray Kurzweil, a visionary of the so-called transhumanist movement. Transhumanism examines the possibilities of transcending biological limits with the help of technology by increasingly merging humans with machines. In a posthuman future, today’s humans with all their biological weaknesses and susceptibility to error ought to be transcended. The ultimate goal is to separate the unity between body and soul completely. (Radical) transhumanists hope to one day be able to digitalize our knowledge, our abilities and our personality. This digital Me could be uploaded into any virtual body and virtual worlds. By doing so, we would no longer be dependent on our mortal shells and thus could live forever.
Transhumanists see the potential for the liberation from current human limitations in connection to a variety of research fields – medicine, genetics, biochemistry, nanotechnology and information technology, which should allow us to artificially recreate a human or some of his parts. For instance, the “Human Brain Project” funded by the EU wants to replace individual parts of the human brain with artificial brain parts – computer chips – in order to defeat diseases such as Parkinson’s. Many transhumanists want to start even earlier: by modifying the genetic pool of future children, they want to prevent diseases from breaking out in the first place. The singularists, however, are counting on artificial intelligence and the, in their opinion not so distant, “Day of Singularity”, the moment in which machines have become more intelligent than humans.

Brave new digital world?

What are the consequences of these developments and prospects and who has access to these technologies? Will we become cyborgs in a postmodern, post patriarchal, post capitalist and post gender society, such as the one Donna Haraway portrays in “Cyborg Manifesto”? Could this possibly achieve the egalitarian distribution of education and the mitigation of physical as well as psychological suffering? Or will we only become vulnerable to cyber-attacks and viruses, which can steal not only our personal data but also our thoughts, or hack our bodies, for instance to disable our pacemakers?
What ramifications could ensue for forms of social organization? Is there a risk of creating new capitalist class systems, which separate society by those who can afford to upload and those who cannot? Will this transport current racist and sexist tendencies and the eugenics horrors of the past directly into the future, into the “brave new world” of transhumanists, one in which there only exist white, healthy, attractive and intelligent heterosexuals? What consequences does the technological modification of the human body have for the industry, the military and future methods of warfare? And is the development of complete artificial intelligence really the end of the human species, like Stephen Hawking, head of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk or Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak warn us?

WE WANT YOU!

We are looking for non-commercial, artistically innovative media art projects, which deal with the chances as well as risks of transhumanism for society.
The submitted work can be designed for the participating (cultural) institutions (one or multiple places) as well as for the public or/and virtual space; however, they must not have been presented somewhere else previously.
Depending on the scope and nature of the project, funding ranging from a minimum of 300 to a maximum of 3,000 Euros as well as work space, (technological) infrastructure and PR will be provided.
As part of this call, applications for an art scholarship for media art, which is awarded by the province of Salzburg in the amount of 5,000 Euros, can be handed in. This grand will be awarded for the first time by the province of Salzburg as part of the upcoming digital spring festival; preconditions: projects can be submitted by artists who have a biographical connection to Salzburg (place of birth, main place of residence, ongoing artistic activity, work focus in the province of Salzburg). This has to be explicitly disclosed (evidence).

Submission deadline:
November 1, 2017
To: office@digitalspring.at

Supporting documents:
Synopsis (max. 500 words), detailed description of the project including the technical rider, budget plan, CV of the contributing artists.

Additional necessary documents for the art scholarship by the province of Salzburg: evidence of the connection to Salzburg.

The entire application must not be bigger than 10MB!

Time of production:
December 2017 – March 2018

Festival/Presentation:
12 to 18 March, 2018

Inquiries:
Cornelia Anhaus, festival management: office@digitalspring.at