Mixed Realities – deadline 31 March 2007

MIXED REALITIES is an international juried competition that will result in the commissioning of 5 networked art works to be exhibited/performed at Turbulence.org; Art Interactive, a gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A; and Ars Virtua, a gallery in the online 3D rendered environment, Second Life. Each commission will be $5,000 (US).


CONCEPT: MIXED REALITIES calls for proposals that challenge our preconceptions of what constitutes “reality.” It asks producers to create environments that invite participants to act/perform in multiple spaces.

Information and telecommunications technologies allow us to be continuously connected via the Internet or mobile networks. We engage one another via e-mail, chat, the interlinked pages of the World Wide Web, and SMS. We create identities, and forge relationships and communities. Boundaries between real space and virtual space blur; near and far reverse themselves. Passive consumption of art is replaced by the performative–art that requires (inter)action, and involves time and space.

mixed reality: the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments, where physical and digital objects can co-exist and interact in real-time. (Wikipedia)

network: (1) a system or group of interconnected elements; (2) a set of nodes, points, or locations connected by means of data, voice, and video communications for the purpose of exchange.

net art: art projects for which the (Internet) is both a sufficient and necessary condition of viewing/expressing/participating. (Steve Dietz)

networked art: (1) works in which nodes, objects, and people connect via computer networks, including the Internet, Local Area Networks, and mobile networks; (2) works that invite (inter)action and/or participation.

simulation: any representation or imitation of reality.

virtual reality: the presence of not only reality itself but also the simulation of reality. (Frank Popper)

MIXED REALITIES (1) a competition and series of simultaneous exhibitions that engage users in three discrete environments: the Internet (Turbulence), an online 3-D rendered environment (Ars Virtua), and physical space (Art Interactive); (2) works that evaluate the concepts “virtual,” “simulation”, and “real”; (3) a series of experiences in which participants connect with one another and contribute to the creation of the work.



we are looking for works that (1) bridge multiple realities while maintaining autonomy; (2) engage the user as a participant; (3) include the dynamics of both one-to-one and one-to-many communication within the work; (4) require collaboration between artists, programmers, scientists, and others; and, (5) encourage dialogue.



(1) ability to conceive the project for three spaces-a synthetic, 3-D rendered environment, the Internet, and physical space;
(2) intellectual and artistic merit;
(3) degree of programming skill and technological innovation; and (4) extent of collaborative and interdisciplinary activity.

NOTE: While collaborative projects are preferred they are not a requirement. We have set up a FORUM for applicants to ask and answer questions and seek collaborators. GO TO FORUM >>

TURBULENCE is a project of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. (NRPA), a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in New York City in 1981 to foster the development of new and experimental work for radio and sound arts. In 1996, NRPA extended its mandate to net art and launched its pioneering web site, Turbulence.org. Now celebrating its 26th year of service to artists, NRPA has a distinguished history in two experimental fields; it has commissioned, distributed and archived hundreds of works, thereby supporting and advancing many artists’ careers, and establishing itself as a vital resource for arts and educational institutions, and the general public. It is the only organization in the United States that has as its core mission the commissioning of networked art by both emerging and established artists.

ARS VIRTUA is a new media center and gallery located entirely in the synthetic world of Second Life. It is a new type of space that leverages the tension between 3D rendered game space and terrestrial reality, between simulated and simulation. ARS VIRTUA is a venue for new genres; it is also a platform for showcasing traditional artists creating still and moving images, for instance, who apply scripts to extend these into the synthetic game environment. ARS VIRTUA maintains a close relationship with the underlying animation engine that enables Second Life architecture and 3D rendered “sculpture.” ARS VIRTUA brings the art audience into “new media” rather than new media to the museum or gallery, and calls upon its audience to interact with the art and one another via their avatars within the space.

“(Second Life is) the biggest digital art installation in the world, the size of eight Manhattan Islands, but there are never more than 20,000 people there at the same time. It’s an instant messaging system, a software-coding environment, a design platform for 3-D architecture, an online community, and, conceivably, the germ of the next generation of computer operating systems. It’s called Second Life.” Warren Ellis, “Second Life Sketches: Two Worlds – Fame and Infamy”

ART INTERACTIVE’S mission is to provide a public forum that fosters self-expression and human interaction through the development and exhibition of art that is contemporary, experimental, and participatory. Art Interactive is a non-profit experimental art space in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Situated in the heart of Central Square, its 2,500 square foot, one-of-a-kind space provides artists a supportive venue for showing cutting-edge work. Art Interactive offers the community in the Greater Boston Area unparalleled opportunities for experiencing innovative art forms. Visitors play, create, and participate at Art Interactive.



Proposals MUST BE in the form of a web site that includes:

(a) Your name, email address, country, and web site URL (if you have one).
(b) A description of the project’s core concept (250 words maximum).
(c) Details of how the project will be realized, including what software / programming will be used. Please address all of these questions. [Turbulence server specs are available here. You may request additional software but we cannot guarantee it.] (d) Names of collaborators, their areas of expertise, and their specific roles in the project.
(e) A project budget. Include shipping expenses and insurance (if any). You are encouraged to find additional support for this project.
(f) Your résumé/CV and one for each of your collaborators.
(g) Up to five examples of prior work accessible on the web.



Email your proposal URL to turbulence with Comp_07 Proposal in the subject field.

Deadline: March 31, 2007

Notification: Winners will be contacted after May 15, 2007

Terms: Each winner will be asked to sign an agreement with Turbulence governing the terms of the commission

Time Frame: Works must be completed by February 2008

JURORS: Michael Frumin, Technical Director Emeritus, Eyebeam; Natasha Khandekar, Director, Art Interactive; James Morgan, Director, Ars Virtua; Trebor Scholz, Founder, Institute for Distributed Creativity; Helen Thorington, Co-Director, Turbulence.



Michael Frumin was the R&D Technical Director of the Eyebeam OpenLab, where he guided and developed creative technology projects in the public domain. He began his career in original and creative technology-based research while working on advanced networking protocols as an undergraduate at Stanford University. After school, he was a founding member of a team of hackers using their quantitative skills to find proprietary, novel real-time sources of qualitative information for hedge fund managers. Eager to develop projects in the public domain and for the arts community, Michael accepted the prototype Research Fellowship at Eyebeam where he has been the primary developer of FundRace.org, the reBlog (also an open source software project: reBlog.org), ForwardTrack, VGMap (Vectorized Google Maps), OGLE (OpenGLExtractor), Pizza Party, and other works, some still in development. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, very close to where he grew up. A good email interview with Michael about his work at Eyebeam can be found here.

Natasha Khandekar is the director of Art Interactive. Before joining AI she worked in curatorial in the Art of Europe department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and in the paintings department at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Her focus is modern and contemporary art, as well as conservation and technical art history. In addition, she is interested in how artists, curators, conservators, and museum scientists potentially collaborate to answer art historical and contemporary questions in the art world. And how artists, audiences, and curators answer to socio-political issues of this generation. Natasha has published and lectured on 19th-century and contemporary art, and is currently at Harvard University studying for her second Master’s degree.

James Morgan: Born in the postindustrial wasteland of North East Ohio James spent time in the abandoned factories that littered the landscape. This eventually led to a predictable tour at the Myers School of Art where he studied photography. At some point however James encountered computers outside of a design context. He took to dealing with the computer as a networked entity and dealing with systems to represent knowledge. After a brief period of soul searching in St. Louis James found himself at the CADRE Laboratory for New Media in San Jose. There, he awakened to the beauty of theory, conceptual art and interview. While struggling with deadlines he managed to finish the MFA program and produced a conceptual video on the Special Theory of Relativity. James has shown work in Europe, the US and most recently at ISEA. He is currently investigating the depth of simulation in synthetic worlds with the Ars Virtua Foundation, Gallery and New Media Center. James currently teaches new media at the CADRE Laboratory for New Media in San Jose.

Trebor Scholz grew up in East Berlin and is currently based in New York where he works both collaboratively and individually as an artist, media theorist, activist, and organizer. His interests focus on media theory, art and education. In 2004 Scholz founded the Institute for Distributed Creativity which is an independent research network that concentrates on (online) collaboration. In 2005 the Institute organized “Share, Share Widely,” the first large conference about Media Art Education at the CUNY Graduate Center. In April 2004, together with Geert Lovink, he organized the conference Free Cooperation on the art of (online) collaboration, held at SUNY Buffalo. In 2000 he facilitated the only large scale program immediately responding to the Kosovo War, Kosov@: Carnival in the Eye of the Storm. Scholz’ work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennial, the Sao Paulo Biennial, FILE and many other venues. He has lectured internationally and is currently professor and researcher in the Department of Media Study at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Helen Thorington is the Co-Director of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. (aka Ether-Ore), and the founder and producer of New American Radio (1987-1998), and Turbulence.org (1996). She is a writer, sound composer, and radio producer, whose radio documentary, dramatic work, and sound/music compositions have been aired nationally and internationally for the past twenty-three years. Thorington has created compositions for film and installation that have been premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, the Whitney Biennial, and in the Whitney Museum’s annual Performance series. She has produced three narrative works for the web including Solitaire, which combines game and storytelling; and she played a principal artistic role in the cutting-edge performance work, Adrift, last presented as a performance and installation at the New Museum in New York City, October 19-December 21, 2001. Thorington has also composed for dance and recently performed with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company at Jacob’s Pillow, MA in 2002, and at The Kitchen, New York City in 2003. She won two radio awards in 2003: Honourable Recognition, Prix Bohemia Radio Festival, Czechoslovakia; and Winner, Aether Festival, KUNM-FM, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Thorington has served as a lecturer, panelist and juror internationally. Her articles on networked musical performances are published in the December 2005 and February/April 2006 issues of Contemporary Music Review.