Call No. 8 – Engineering Care

It is an animated image which looks like the screenshot of a video. On the picture you can see a virtual robot hand holding a virtual human hand at the fingertips.

Call release: Sep 17, 2019
Applications: until Oct 18, 2019 (midnight)
Web Residencies: Nov 2019

The world of automation seems to be full of care. Personal intelligent assistants, therapeutic robots, and artificial human companions already offer their services at home, at work, at school, in the hospital. As machines meant to perform care, they inform, remind, keep company, mediate and provide feedback. They are efficient and tireless, continuously learning from their users’ needs and habits in order to optimize their performance. Promising to be of key importance for the ones in need, they hold in their hands the rhythm of tomorrow’s everyday life. The emerging technologies of care can organise the time of those feeling overwhelmed, babysit and educate children, and assist the elderly to live secure and autonomous lives.

Engineered care brings promises as well as complex challenges for the near future. Artificial caregivers are meant to undertake a form of labour which is affective, invisibilized and undervalued, largely gendered and often racialised; its automation might be liberating for human caregivers but, at the same time it might also reinforce forms of discrimination and affect social behavior. Furthermore, one should keep in mind that automated services always depend on the work of human operators who check, maintain and assist the machine in its performance. Software agents and robotic systems need also to be taken care of, in order to properly support their users but also to mine data from the interactions with them. And as a new economy of care is born, care itself seems to be redefined…

The current call for web residencies by Solitude and ZKM wishes to look into the possibilities and limitations, gains and losses of automated care: How do contemporary technologies of care relate to the generalised crisis of care experienced in the world today? Which new wishes, services and products are generated through them? To what extent can they recuperate the social bonds that fell apart in the period of financial capitalism? Can they assist in rethinking and reformulating the politics and ethics of care? What if care itself is understood as a living technology? Which practices and methodologies emerge in this case and how can they be of help?

‘Engineering Care’ invites artists, designers, technologists and activists to submit proposals for new or ongoing works that capture how we will live and work with machines, and how relationships and dependencies might change. Challenging the common narratives about artificial empathy and the robotic imaginary, it welcomes projects that address the economisation and instrumentalisation of care, or shed light on forms of radical, collective and critical care; these might be tools, networks and infrastructures for human, more-than-human or machinic worlds, as well as initiatives, formations and assemblages which aim to maintain, repair, or build relations and bonds.

We accept texts, performances, apps, documentary video and fiction, 3D objects, net sculptures and installations, web archives, and any other experimental mediums. Selected projects should be carried out in open-source formats that are well-documented, shareable, and consider the accessibility of its users, who may range in age, race, gender, economic class, and ability.

Submit your project proposal in the form of:

  • a headline
  • a concept text in English (1,000–1,500 characters with spaces)
  • a header image (high resolution, landscape format)
  • a short bio in English (500 characters with spaces)
  • a portfolio PDF (images, text, links)

For each call, the curator selects four project proposals, whose creators are rewarded with a four-week residency and 750 USD. All selected web residents are nominated for the production prize HASH by Solitude & ZKM which will be awarded on February 21, 2020.

Call release: Sep 17, 2019
Applications: until Oct 18, 2019 (midnight)
Web Residencies: Nov 2019

Please write to schlosspost(at) if you have any question.

Web residencies
In 2016, Akademie Schloss Solitude launched the web residencies to encourage young talents of the international digital scene and artists from all disciplines dealing with web-based practices. ZKM has been program partner since 2017. For each call, the curator selects four project proposals whose creators receive a four-week residency and 750 USD. Artists are invited to experiment with digital technologies and new art forms, and reflect on the topics set by the curators. Web residencies are carried out exclusively online, and the works are presented on

Artists and students of all disciplines as well as former or current Solitude fellows may apply. There is no age limit.

Learn more about the program.

Residents Call No. 8

Molecular Sex & Synthetic Love
Johanna Bruckner

The »Care Bot« for the Un-Caring Social Media Landscape
Caroline Sinders

On the Apparently Meaningless Texture of Noise
Pedro Oliveira

As Air Became This Number
Hanna Husberg & Agata Marzecova
Stockholm/Sweden & Tallinn/Estonia

Juror/Curator of This Call

Daphne Dragona is a curator and writer based in Berlin. Through her work, she engages with artistic practices, methodologies and pedagogies that challenge contemporary forms of power. Among her topics of interest have been: the controversies of connectivity, the promises of the commons, the challenges of artistic subversion, the instrumentalization of play, the problematics of care and empathy, and most recently the potential of kin-making technologies in the time of climate crisis. Dragona was part of the core curatorial team of transmediale from 2015 until 2019, developing the conference and workshop program of the festival.

Articles of hers have been published in various books, journals, magazines, and exhibition catalogs by the likes of Springer, Sternberg Press, and Leonardo Electronic Almanac. Talks of hers have been hosted at Mapping Festival (Geneva), MoMa (New York), Hek (Basel), Arts in Society (London), Leuphana University (Lueneburg) and Goethe University (Frankfurt). Among her curated- or co-curated- projects are the exhibitions: Tomorrows, Fictions spéculatives pour l’avenir méditerranéen (Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, 2019), »…« an archeology of silence in the digital age (Aksioma, Ljubljana, 2017), New Babylon Revisited (Goethe Institut Athen, 2014), Afresh, a new generation of Greek artists (ΕΜSΤ, 2013), Data Bodies – Networked Portraits (Fundacion Telefonica & Alta Tecnologia Andina 2011), Mapping the Commons Athens (EMST, 2010), Homo Ludens Ludens (Laboral, 2008). She has been a member of several committees for conferences and festivals and most recently she was a jury member and mentor for the Fellowship for Greek Young Artists of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. She holds a PhD from the Faculty of Communication & Media Studies of the University of Athens.

2017 - 2020
by Akademie Schloss Solitude & ZKM