S+T+ARTS in the City | Challenge nº11 | Immersive and Digital Narratives for Climate Change

+ Consortium Partner

+ Problem Statement

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? How might climate-aware and sustainable art practices help a city like Barcelona prepare for the climate crisis?

+ Keywords

Digital Art, Narrative, Climate Change, Immersive, Interaction

+ Description

Barcelona is a coastal city heavily defined by its geographical position between two rivers, the mountain and the sea. While historically very well connected to the world and its surroundings, there is no doubt that climate-change related threats could greatly endanger the city life as we now know it.

Beyond greenwashing narrative strategies or superficial visual approaches, this project aims to deal with present and future climate threats such as the rising sea level,  heat waves during summer time or floods. And it aims to do it through artistic research, using digital and immersive technologies, as a starting point in the liminal territory where the virtual and the real converge. We encourage a narrative approach, moving from scientific data and facts to emotional engagement. And from here, with a particular focus on digital narratives, to expand and permeate into the real –the city and its inhabitants– through the use of this artistic digital layer.

The ultimate goal is to create one or several artistic artifacts that challenge the current configuration of the city and its local social networks, and provokes some of the much needed change in order to face the unavoidable and the undesirable, in the most positive or, at least, from a position of resilience and awareness.

+ Residency Characteristics

The selected artist will engage with the entire Open Univeristy of Catalonia community and have access to the state-of-the-art labs within the research hub located at Poblenou’s Campus. These include the Audiovisual and Sound Lab, XR Lab, and Digital Fabrication Lab. The artist will be supported by key members of the research groups DARTS and MEDIACCIONS. We expect a close collaboration with the aforementioned research group and other ongoing projects.

The artist should possess relevant technological skills to develop certain aspects of the work, and to collaborate with technical experts when assistance is needed. While not mandatory, having some (or advanced) knowledge  in areas like coding, game engines (Unity or Unreal), video and image editing, digital fabrication and  physical computing will be valued. Experience in digital art projects, immersive experiences and digital storytelling will also be considered.

The artist is expected to be present in Barcelona at least once a month or for longer periods of time (at the beginning, midterm and the end), during the complete residency period.

The supporting research groups actively participate in local and international events such as Ars Electronica, Barcelona’s Science Biennale, Barcelona Design Week, Sonar, or SIGGRAPH and mantain regular connections with key cultural venues in Barcelona, including CCCB. Throughout the residency and in the months following it, the artist is expected to participate in some of these events, and others that the UOC research groups organize.

The artist is expected to deliver a presentable outcome at the end of the residency, we do aim at an impactful outcome that aligns with the challenge’s theme: contribution to Barcelona’s ongoing dialogue on the consequences of climate change. 

+ Jury Day

The Jury Day will be held online on 21- 22 September 2023.

+ Useful Links

+ Local Expert Group