Open Call | (UN)REAL, Exhibition at Science Gallery Rotterdam

Application deadline: 1 July 2019, 11:00pm CEST.

What is real, and how are you sure it is so? How can you determine which experiences are “real” if they are digital, virtual or influenced by the chemistry and architecture of your brain? Scientific research uncovers ways that our minds and senses conspire to produce gaps between the actual and the perceived. How do we navigate these blind spots, which can be exploited by trickery like fake news, but then embraced willingly to escape reality, for pleasure in fantasy? And is our concept of the real transformed by biomedical science, which brings us new understanding of mental conditions like synesthesia, dementia, or phenomena like the placebo effect?

Science Gallery Rotterdam invites artists, designers, and researchers to explore how our concept of “the real” is destabilized by science and technology by proposing projects to be part of its first exhibition on site at Erasmus MC. The theme (UN)REAL addresses the questions above and also seeks to link them to the ongoing activity and cutting-edge research in biomedical science at the university medical center. Some of the topics and questions relevant to the theme include:

  • At what point does regenerative growth or human enhancement make an organ, limb, or body “fake”?
  • What does research into mind-altering diseases and experiences suggest about our everyday perceptions?
  • Are phantom limbs or optical illusions unique forms of neurological creativity, or are they coping mechanisms, or something else entirely?
  • Can phenomena such as lucid dreaming or the use of virtual reality result in meaningful experiences?

Your proposal could be to present a new or existing artwork, performance, workshop, research project, or other activity. Consider submitting ideas with interactive or participatory elements and note that a central goal of Science Gallery Rotterdam is to produce content that engages with 15–25 year-olds in the local community. There is both tension and creative possibility occupying the space between the real and unreal, so you are welcome to surprise us with proposals on topics outside of those listed as well. You might look to the history of art, including Surrealism, whose practitioners were fascinated by medical conditions, misperceptions, and dreaming.

Please consider the context of the exhibition: the public space of Erasmus MC, which features wide open areas, natural light and high ceilings (15 to 20 meters).

Key words:
genetics, illusion, surrealism, human enhancement, regenerative medicine, mental conditions, misperception

Budget:
Funding between 1.000 and 4.000 euro may be available, including all artist fees, materials, equipment, and shipping. Please note projects of larger scale may be considered if additional partners and funding can be secured. Five grants will be made available for proposals from the Rotterdam community.

For more see: opencall.sciencegallery.com/unreal

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