Meet the winners of the S+T+ARTS Residencies grants

by | Oct 20, 2023

Hac Te is one of the five European centers to participate in the S+T+ARTS in the City, a residencies programme that invites the artists to address, together with the scientific community, the challenges that European regions face today. Within this project, Hac Te is promoting three artistic residencies in three research centers in Barcelona: the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), the Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (IRI CSIC-UPC), and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC).

After an open call that started last July, we are delighted to announce the three winners, that will contribute to solve the challenges proposed by every research center:

DISNOVATION.ORG with the project ‘The Solar Share’ – Residency at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)
  • Challenge: How does photosynthesis function at the molecular scale, and can we improve it? Unveiling the processes governing nanoscale energy transfer could advance sustainable agriculture, green energy, and carbon capture.
  • Artist: They are a research collective set up in Paris in 2012, whose core members include Maria Roszkowska (PL), Nicolas Maigret (FR), and Baruch Gottlieb (CA/DE). DISNOVATION.ORG works at the interface between contemporary art, research and hacking, and composes tailor-made teams for each investigation together with academics, activists, engineers, and designers.
  • Project: It proposes a sustainability-oriented economic model revolving around the sunlight harvested in photosynthetic organisms. The Solar Share allows users to experience, explore, and experiment with a radical economic model, where human metabolism as well as modern lifestyle energy needs, are understood as factors of the sunlight captured in the biosphere. This artwork challenges customary understandings of economic “value”, and speculates how to reformulate the sustainability challenges of human beings within planetary affordances, as reproduced through renewable solar income.

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Mónica Rikić with the project ‘Somoure’ – Residency at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (IRI CSIC-UPC)
  • Challenge: As technology advances, robots will soon become ubiquitous in human environments. Their role will be particularly important for elderly people, providing not only a form of companionship, but also facilitating their autonomy. How can the arts play an active role in improving the interaction between humans and robots?
  • Artist: Mónica Rikić is an awarded electronic artist and creative coder from Barcelona. She is a Bachelor of Fine Arts (UB) and has a Master’s degree in Digital Arts (UPF) and in Contemporary Philosophy (UOC). She is currently a Phd Student at Network and Information Technologies doctoral program (UOC). She has been awarded with the Catalan National Culture Award 2021. Mónica focuses her practice on creative coding and electronics, combining them with non-digital objects to create interactive projects, robotic installations, and handcrafted electronic devices.
  • Project: Artistic research project examining the expressive conditions required for non-humanoid social robots to be accepted as trustworthy and safe companions within a collaborative healthcare environment. The overall project idea is based on the awareness that these spaces are sensitive to both consensual and accidental physical contact between humans and robots. Therefore, the whole conceptual framework navigates around the concept of ‘touch’ and the experimentation with physical and haptic communication of social robotic.

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Mónica Rikić / Credit: Julieta Feroz

Mark Farid with the project ‘The Invisible Voice’ – Residency at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
  • Challenge: Barcelona’s historically privileged geographical position is quickly turning into a challenging one: pollution, rising temperatures, and the threat of sea level rise, to name a few, are pressing problems, and to look away is no longer an option. How can digital artistic practices and narratives be part of the solution?
  • Artist: Mark Farid is an Artist, Researcher, and Lecturer in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. He specialises in the intersection of the virtual and physical world, and the effect new technologies have on the individual and their sense of self. Farid’s work embodies hacker ethics, such as a focus on privacy policies, use of surveillance technologies, and campaigning for data privacy and protection. His work forms a critique of social, legal, and political models.
  • Project: The project intersects virtual and physical worlds to lay bare the interconnected systems and flows which perpetuate the structures which have brought about the ecological crisis to make clear the connections between the decisions we make, the institutions we engage with, and the impacts they have. Invisible Voice will develop from a digital prototype into a fully realised and deployed tool (along with a total novel mobile phone app and interactive-art exhibition (see below)) which allows users to see key information about the who the people and business behind the companies are, the sustainability of them, and where the products they consume come from.

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Mark Farid / Credit: Mark Farid

The jury for the open call has been composed of a minimum of two experts from every research center and two independent individual experts from different sectors (business, science, art, government, etc.).

In total, S+T+ARTS In the City will support 11 artists -including the three projects from Hac Te- through 5 Regional S+T+ARTS Centers‘ programme. The 9-month residency starts in October 2023, and the programme will also promote multiple exhibitions and events during the residency period and thereafter until November 2024.