EPFL CDH AiR Program Call 2022: Enter the Hyper-Scientific

Artist in Residence Program of EPFL College of Humanities

Initiated by EPFL CDH Direction and amplified by EPFL Pavilions, the EPFL CDH AiR Program reflects the CDH mission of fostering transdisciplinary encounters and collaborations between artists and EPFL’s scientific community.

For its first comprehensive edition, the program is promoting artistic research and experimentation that connects art, humanities, science and technology by supporting up to four artists in residence for three- to four-month residencies at the EPFL.

  • Emerging and established Swiss and international artists, with a proven career path or clear potential, who are interested in harnessing science and technological interventions in their artistic endeavors. Applicants should outline the specific contribution they believe the residency would make to their artistic practice.
     
  • We welcome projects in diverse fields: visual and media arts; film, digital, mixed-media and imaging; musical composition, sound, and experimental forms of music; experimental design; literature and critical and speculative writing.
  • Travel costs and accommodation within the Lausanne region. Preferably, applicants will reside in the region during the entire period of the residency.
     
  • A monthly stipend/flat fee for living expenses (of CHF 1500).
     
  • A production budget (of max CHF 15000).
     
  • Curatorial mentoring and supervision during the entire duration, including the final presentation of the project.
     
  • NB: The residency will extend over a period of between three to four months. The duration will be determined according to the artist’s availability and the time needed to realize the project.

The goal of the program is to further various interpretative and aesthetic avenues around the manifold scientific landscape of the EPFL through specific artistic productions. Forging encounters between artists and scientists in different disciplines, the program aims to establish a dynamic, critical, and inspiring platform for propelling new approaches and aesthetic investigations within the exponentially developing scene at the intersection of art, technology, science, and the humanities. Thus, beside specific areas identified by the program in order to guarantee certain already established collaborations with specific labs, the “Open Transdisciplinary” path will remain a constant. The program functions as a facilitator and promoter of investigations in multiple directions, many of which will be discovered through the submitted projects themselves.


The EPFL-CDH AiR Program is open to emerging and established Swiss and international artists interested in the area where arts, science, media, and technology intersect. The program allows invited artists to develop interdisciplinary projects and carry out their research in conjunction with scientists and the PhD and masters students at EPFL.

It offers an opportunity to access the cutting-edge engineering, infrastructure, materials, and science developed or made available at EPFL, thus fostering intense experimentation in new forms of expression.

At the end of each residency, the resulting project will be presented in a public exhibition or event held at EPFL Pavilions, Amplifiers for Art Science and Society.

Deadline for submission: 29 November 2021

> Download the application guidelines (pdf)


THE PROGRAM OFFERS FOUR PATHS:

Open Transdisciplinary welcomes international artists and practitioners from all disciplines and media to propose projects which reflect the main intention of the program, namely to investigate the fluid intersection between art, humanities, science, and technology.

This path is open to artists who aim to explore techno-scientific possibility using diverse approaches, with no restrictions in terms of media. Previous resident artist Nora Al Badri worked on AI and museology as a form of techno-heritage and as decolonial practice, and Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidson worked with robotics to restate and question notions of empathy in synthetic intelligence. This call therefore leaves applicants free to suggest the specific path they would like to investigate and explore.

We welcome projects in various fields: visual arts; media arts; film, digital, mixed media, and imaging (VR/AR/MR); musical composition, sound, and experimental forms of music; performing arts; design; literature and critical and speculative writing. Projects should preferably involve one or more EPFL laboratory or entity, thus encouraging an interdisciplinary approach. Applicants are encouraged to indicate the scientific directions and the EPFL labs and entities they would like to collaborate with. If such specifications are not made, the curator of the program will assess the potential scientific collaborations that can be established within the framework of the submitted project. 

Wearable Technologies in collaboration with EPFL Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory (NANO) and Laboratory of Integrated Performance in Design (LIPID), prioritizes artists and designers, including those working in the fields of fashion and jewelry.

The EPFL Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory (NANOLAB) works with research topics in advanced nanoelectronics, with emphasis on the technology and design of energy-efficient portable devices. The group is interested in exploring new materials, novel fabrication techniques, and new device concepts for future applications in edge AI, the internet of things, and quantum computing. The EPFL Laboratory of Integrated Performance in Design (LIPID) engages with energy, health, comfort and perception, and their interactions in the design of the built environment, with a dedicated focus on daylighting. Of particular relevance to this call is LIPID’s ongoing research into circadian photoreception and the impact of light exposure on human physiology, which involves personalized monitoring.

We invite innovative artists and designers, including fashion and jewelry designers, to explore the potential of apparel technology and wearable accessories and to imagine the next generation of smart wearables through creative approaches to fashion in general or specific items such as gloves or jewelry. The residency is for fresh approaches to smart clothing or any other type of innovative future wearable that comes in contact with human skin, in the quest for new paradigms for multifunctional design connecting the body to the environment and measuring the affects and effects of external phenomena—such as the effect of light on our body, emotions, and biological rhythms. Unconventional design ideas for human-sensor interactions are especially welcome.

This collaboration aims to explore new frontiers for wearable technologies and sensitive devices through visions of future (everyday) fashion and responsive apparel which incorporate nanotechnologies and sensors to measure our bodies’ interactions with the surrounding environment.

The resulting project will be featured in an exhibition on chronobiology at the EPFL Pavilions in November 2022.

*Preferable start date: February 2022

Involved labs:
Nanolab
https://xsensio.com/
LIPID
https://oculightdynamics.com

Interface Design and Digital Animation in collaboration with EPFL Reconfigurable Robotics Lab (RRL), prioritizes artists and designers working in the field of emerging technologies.

The Reconfigurable Robotics Lab (RRL) develops novel robotic systems utilizing a wide range of disciplines and technologies, with focus on the design, actuation, fabrication, and control of unique and interactive robotics. The RRL uses fabrication techniques and integration processes that push the limits of mechanics, enabling the lab to create soft, reconfigurable, and interactive robots that are highly conscious of the environment and that have extensive applications in wearable technology, medical and rehabilitation systems, and personal robotics. The RRL also develops virtual reality interfaces to control them, incorporating soft actuators into wearable devices.

We invite innovative artists and designers working in the field of emerging technologies to submit a project to be developed in collaboration with the RRL, and which explore, reinvent, and question the new frontiers of interface design and their applications in prosthetics and robotics. Proposals are also welcome in the field of digital graphics and animation that further explore the potential of reconfigurability in robotics.

Involved lab: Reconfigurable Robotics Lab

Scientific Imaging in collaboration with the EPFL Center for Imaging, prioritizes artists familiar with imaging technologies, CGI, digital practices, and visual arts more broadly.

Imaging is fundamental to the field of digital humanities. It is also a key strategic axe for EPFL, which recently created the EPFL Center for Imaging to strengthen its position as a world-leading institution in imaging science. Interdisciplinary at its core, imaging requires the convergence of numerous skills and types of expertise, with huge potential for new developments that draw on all aspects of science and engineering. At EPFL, over ninety groups perform world-class research in imaging, ranging from the atomic scale to the cosmological, and spanning a broad range of applications. The mission of the newly-established Center for Imaging is to capitalize on this diversity of academic strengths by encouraging interdisciplinary collaborations between imaging labs with complementary fields of expertise.

We invite artists whose practice already manifests an interest in emerging imaging technologies, CGI, digital practices, and visual arts more broadly, to submit a project proposal to be developed in collaboration with the EPFL Center for Imaging. We encourage projects that aim at exploring this unique repository of transdisciplinary and cross-scale scope, and to investigate its scientific aspects as well as its aesthetic and visual potential. The resident artist may access some of the technical equipment and facilities linked to the center.

*Preferable start date: May 2022

Involved lab:  EPFL Center for Imaging


Regardless of these suggested profiles, artists coming from different fields are welcome to apply if they can present a clear rationale for doing so in their project.


HOW TO APPLY

Proposals (in English) should be submitted by November 29, 2021 (midnight CET) using the email address: [email protected], preferably as one single PDF of maximum 25 MB (Applicants are welcome to use links for file sharing).

In compiling the document, please consider the following elements: the residency should extend over a maximum duration of four months and the project should be realized within a maximum budget of CHF 15,000.


PLEASE SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IN ONE PDF:

  • Contact information: name, surname, address, email, phone, and (if applicable) website.

  • A short biography.

  • Indication of the path the applicant is interested in:
    – Open Transdisciplinary
    – Wearable Technologies
    – Interface Design (VR) and Digital Animation
    – Scientific Imaging

  • A short pitch of the project (maximum 500 words).

  • A motivation letter including a statement on how the project investigates the intersection of arts, humanities, science, and technology and the relevance of conducting the project at the EPFL in this specific phase of the artist’s career (maximum 700 words).

  • A detailed description of the project, including the stages of its development and the final production imagined as the outcome of the residency including:
    – The envisioned benefit of the exchange for the EPFL labs and the other EPFL entities involved.
    – Draft of production budget of maximum CHF 15000.
    – The preferable timing of the artist’s stay among the following options (three to four months): February – April 2022 / May – August 2022 / September – December 2022
    NB: Despite these preferential time slots, and a preference for a continuous stay in Lausanne, the program will try to offer flexibility according to the artists’ agendas.
  • CV
  • Portfolio

EVALUATION AND SELECTION

A selection committee including senior members of the CDH and EPFL Pavilions plus external jurors from the cultural and artistic sector will assess each proposal on the basis of the following criteria:

  • The project’s innovative, visionary, and timely nature and its relevance to the applicant’s career.
  • A clear interconnection between art, humanities, science, and technology throughout the entire development of the project.
  • The importance of conducting the project within the EPFL context, the exposure of the EPFL community to the creative process, and the anticipated benefit the research and public engagement activities will bring to the EPFL labs and entities involved.
  • The project’s feasibility, and the coherence between the requested budget and the proposal.

The committee will notify applicants of its decision in December 2021 for the residency “Wearable Technologies” and in January 2022 for the other paths (Open Transdisciplinary, Interface Design and Digital Animation, Scientific Imaging).


FOR MORE INFORMATION

[email protected]
Dr. Giulia Bini – Program Manager and Curator, EPFL-CDH AiR