Generative Unfoldings

Call for Sketches/Prototypes

Artists are invited to submit sketches/prototypes of generative artworks to be deployed online (running live in the browser) as part of the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology’s upcoming symposium, “Unfolding Intelligence: The Art and Science of Contemporary Computation.”

This call is for client-side generative art, e.g., in JavaScript and languages based on it, e.g., p5.js. A Web exhibition will be hosted at MIT and remain online indefinitely. The works commissioned will also either be documented in a print book or will manifest themselves as part of a generated book project that is itself another artwork. The same code will be used in both cases.

Code resulting from a commission will be released under a free software license. Up to 15 commissions of $1,000 will be awarded to artists to aid in the completion of their work.

This call seeks answers to the following question:

How can artist-programmers working in the field of computer-generated art make unique contributions to the current discussion of artificial intelligence (AI)?

From path-seeking agents leaving circuitous weaves in their wake to animations inspired by and building on artificial life simulation, artist-programmers have long posed artistic challenges to, and formulated aesthetic elaborations on, the science of AI. Artists engage formalisms deemed intelligent and render intelligible forms of thought unfathomable without the elements they set in motion. This is a call for sketches/prototypes that cultivate this patch of creative coding practice and use it to inquire about and comment on the issues taken up in the “Unfolding Intelligence” symposium.

Works are sought that push “generative” to the furthest extent possible—not simply reproducing the past, but challenging the underlying assumptions, intentions, and politics upon which AI systems are built, and suggesting diverse futures.

There is a lack of diversity in generative art that has been previously canonized and we aim to break down these boundaries. All are welcome to apply. Artists of underrepresented backgrounds, those working outside of conventionally accepted definitions, and those questioning the very tools they are using are especially encouraged to apply.

A mountain-like green mound of colored sand, gold, glitter, and crystals sits on a white pedestal in an art gallery.
Agnieszka Kurant, A.A.I 8, 2015. Termite mounds made from colored sand, gold, glitter, and crystals, 63.5 × 66 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Questions? Contact

How to Apply

To apply for a commission, please submit the following items via the web form:

1. A working sketch or prototype, running in modern browsers, that presents some of the essential qualities of what you plan to develop. The sketch must scale to fill the browser window and, when in fullscreen mode, to fill the screen. When “?frame” is appended to the URL of the piece submitted, one static frame must be generated.

2. A statement of no more than 150 words about your project’s relationship to the topics to be explored in the “Unfolding Intelligence” symposium.

3. A description of no more than 250 words about how you plan to further develop your project. Upon completion, additional parameters (passed in the URL) may be defined to allow generation of the pages in the book.

4. A short biography of no more than 150 words written as you would like it to eventually appear publicly.

Submissions are closed as of November 1, 2020

Past CAST Symposiums

CAST Annual Program Reports





Cover of a booklet with an image of a man working with a large complex device.