Do you want £50,000 for a smartphone art project?


By Ronnie Rocket, Berlin based blogger and entrepreneur

In the first of a two part blog series, I will write about the background for Open Call, a unique opportunity for talent to get funding for an “original, groundbreaking ideas for audiences to experience on mobiles and tablets”.

In a new creative partnership with Tumblr, The Space have launched its second Open Call, a new prize celebrating creative talent in the field of digital innovation. Open to artists anywhere in the world, as long as they are aged 18 years old or over, Tumblr and The Space are looking for original, groundbreaking ideas artistically created for the Web and that can be experienced through mobile and tablet devices. The Space is welcoming ideas from artists practicing all art forms, and from all cultural, creative, digital and technology backgrounds.

The Open Call is open to anybody in the world over the age of 18. We are looking for original, groundbreaking ideas that exist on the internet and can be experienced on mobile and tablet devices. Successful ideas will be shortlisted and asked for more information via email. We will offer winners a paid commission, as well as an online platform to publish their work, and training and mentoring support to help develop their expertise. Our Open Call opens on 10 October 2014 and closes on 14 November 2014. Shortlisted submissions will hear from us in December 2014.

The judges will be looking to commission projects from ambitious artists that work across a range of art forms. They expect applicants from a range of industries including creative, digital, art and culture sectors. Commissioned projects will receive cash support from The Space, input from an expert technical team, a PR and Marketing plan, an Executive Producer and a Training and Mentoring plan to help develop their expertise.

You can pitch your idea here. The deadline for the second Open Call is 5pm, Friday 14 November 2014 GMT.

The Space First Open Call Winners

Here are the winners of the first Open Call:

  • 59 Productions
  • Nick Ryan and Cath Le Couteur (“Adrift”)
  • John Anthony (“Who are the good guys?”)
  • Blackbox Collective
  • Rachel Gadsden (“Silence”)
  • Tyneside Cinema (“Last Clouds”)
  • Lighthouse & Metaheaven (“The Sprawl”)
  • Tim Trawers Hawkins (“The Unfilmables”)


59 Productions

59 Productions combines technology and art to tell amazing stories. Creating stage productions, museum installations [including the David Bowie exhibition series], live music performances, large scale events, and films, 59’s team generates creative and technical ideas to help realise ambitious artistic projects. Under 59’s creative direction, artists from a range of disciplines – animators, filmmakers, writers, musicians, set, sound, video and lighting designers – come together with technical specialists to create exciting and innovative work for audiences of all kinds. As technology continues to evolve, new ways to reach audiences present themselves and 59 Productions has expanded into these realms of interactive and digital design.


Nick Ryan and Cath Le Couteur (“Adrift”)

A lost spatula. Dead satellites. 27,000 pieces of space junk swirling above our heads. In what way, if at all, can unseen objects, adrift in space, be made to connect with our experience on earth? Adrift is an audio visual project that tells the story of hidden space junk, through a film, a sound installation and a website, which connects audiences individually via live data to the intangible – to thousands of pieces of space junk orbiting above our heads. Watch a video about the project here.


John Anthony (“Who are the good guys?”)

This project blends sculpture, bio-science and digital technology. It was originally inspired by a set of miniaturised landscapes made to commemorate battlefields. This project uses the sense of perspective afforded to the viewer and retunes our expectations in presenting a battle on another scale altogether. Famous battles will be reinterpreted using microbiological armies of bacteria, taking each conflict to its most basic level, of cells competing for survival and ultimate dominance of the agar territory they share. Each battle will be captured using thermal sensing and microscope technology.


Blackbox Collective

Blackbox is a live music series available exclusively to online audiences. Audiences experience Blackbox as a live video stream as part of an online interactive installation. Each event in the series is a one-off, broadcast live to the web, providing an opportunity to mix together digital artists, musicians, filmakers and live theatre. The intention of the series is to provide a genuine alternative to existing live music formats. Each event is available to online audiences only – there is no physical audience in the same space as the live performance. The Blackbox Collective is developing the series from its predecessor and pilot series, The Blackbox Sessions from the Roundhouse.


Rachel Gadsden (“Silence”)

Rachel Gadsden’s ambition for Silence – the breath is precious is to create a multi-layered narrative film that employs the epic nature of the desert landscape and the Shamal (شمال, north wind) as a metaphor for exploring the complex and often painful emotions that individuals and communities may have to endure when embarking upon a cultural shift. It also looks at the challenges and real anxieties experienced in embracing unfamiliar ideas and moving towards a different way of seeing and doing. The overriding motivation of this project is a heartfelt belief that complete openness and visibility can be achieved in relation to disability and diversity within families and communities, both in the UK and in the greater Arab world. Read more about the project here.


Tyneside Cinema (“Last Clouds”)

Last Clouds is a digital interactive project that explores new methods of storytelling to bring to life places across the world that are visually mysterious, prompting the audience to reflect on the (over?) increasing role of technology in our lives. Google removed most of the clouds from Google Maps by interpolating the surrounding detail or filling in the white spots with images. The resulting cloud-shaped patches of terrain slip between the real and the imagined. Last Clouds will identify five remaining clouds and reconstruct these obscured territories using the abundance of information available online from high detail topographic data via the-earth scanning satellite and images, to maps and descriptions. Read a Q&A with Karolina Sobecka here.


Lighthouse & Metaheaven (“The Sprawl”)

The Sprawl is a forward-reaching, expanding cinematographic work that conceives of, and visualises, the idea of worldwide social media as an emergent architecture for political activism and propaganda. At its core, the project is a cinematic adventure that hovers between documentary, artist film and music video. A truly innovative episodic internet documentary, the film is structured and distributed in shards through different media platforms online. In all these various ‘embeddings’, the project responds critically to the specific environment. However, all these different threads can be reassembled into a single film that can be viewed in a linear fashion online.


Tim Trawers Hawkins (“The Unfilmables”)

The Unfilmables is an interactive documentary that takes us into the worlds of people who have lost the right to be seen: activists, hacktivists, subversive bloggers, political prisoners and journalists in hiding – people who have become invisible because of what their voices say. Real recorded Skype or phone calls between them and the director will be placed inside a virtual 3D environment that users can explore in depth. It will be rich in interactive elements, objects and assets that will allow us to gain further insight into the stories of our characters. As we hear them speak, the environments transform around us summoning ghostly images in a rich and evocative cascade of moving pictures.

Remember the deadline for the second Open Call is 5pm GMT, Friday 14th November 2014!

The Space is a not-for-profit public service set up by the BBC and the Arts Council of England for artists and audiences around the world.

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