Submission guidelines

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and wondered: “Am I at the periphery of new media art?” Are you tired of the pseudo-futuristic technofetishism of major art and tech festivals? Do you feel stranded in scattered art scenes during the Chicago winter? Join us in Commiserate Chicago 2020 to express and share your feelings at our various events.

We invite you to exhibit in Commiserate Chicago 2020, the inaugural new media non-festival that invites artists based in and outside of Chicago to reflect and meditate on the current state of new media art festivals and the life and survival of new media arts in a city remote from any major art market. 

We are offering the entirety of the University of Chicago’s Media Art, Data, and Design Center’s (MADD Center) spaces, which include ambulatory screens, more than 50 computers, and a VR hub among other resources.

Submission deadline (rolling review):  January 15th, 2020 (11:59pm) CDT
Notification date: 1-2 weeks after submission (rolling deadline).

For artists who are not in the US, if you have artwork that doesn’t require your physical presence to install, we will gladly accept your works. For more elaborate installations, we are working to get sponsorship to offset artists’ travel arrangement. It is not certain yet. If you’re interested, please follow our event page to get notified on the latest update.


MADD Center floor plan

Submissions are welcome from all media art and research fields. This can include, but is not limited to, works that are digital, interactive, installations, electronic literature, games, sound, haptic, gustatory, olfactory, machine learning, XR/VR/AR, performance, net art, etc. International artists are welcome to apply with work that does not require physical presence to install (e.g. digital video, exe files, browser-based, etc.). For more elaborate installations, the committee will reach out about setting up.

A PDF copy of the full submission form can be found here (for reference).
Submit your exhibition piece(s) here.

The Commiserate committee believes workshops should be a platform for media practitioners who prioritize methodology and generative processes over definitive products. Following, we invite you to demonstrate and communicate your approaches in live workshops at the Commiserate Chicago 2020 festival

Workshops will be hosted at the MADD Center’s Hack Arts Laboratory (HAL), the Computer Science Instructional Laboratories (CSIL 1 & 2), as well as table space outside HAL. HAL includes 2 laser cutters, an embroidery machine, a CNC machine, soldering stations, 3D printers, among other resources.

A PDF copy of the full submission form can be found here (for reference).
Propose a workshop here.

Commiserate Chicago invites you to present on the state of media art and the survival of media artists. We are especially looking for talks and panels that shed light on the following prompts (but not limited to):

  • Defining media art in 2019. For example,
    • How do artists on the margins contribute to the discourse on media art?
    • How do we define new media art? What anchors the emphasis of “new” media?
    • Is American new media art reactionary? Is it entirely defined by the whims of American institutional funding sources?
  • Media art funding in 2019. For example,
    • Is there any future for the arts outside of NYC and LA, or do all roads lead back to these two locations?
    • How do media artists sustain themselves?
  • How do media artists develop their research/projects across disciplines?
  • Or other fun topics such as: What if, some day or night, a demon stole after you into your loneliest loneliness and said to you: “This life, as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more as the marginalia of the art and tech community, and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh… must return to you.” Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: “You are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine!”

A PDF copy of the full submission form can be found here (for reference).
Propose a talk or panel here.

OOOHack is a 3-day collaborative event that explores the meanings and options of gaining sensual gratification from objects. We will select a cohort of 15-20 participants to start thinking about this question and consider the future of sex. During the Hackathon, participants and projects will be advised by invited mentors who work professionally with different aspects of sex. The cohort will receive mentorship from experts; access to sex toys, hardware, and crafts to experiment; and operational instruction for fabrication facilities. Additionally, we will be live-streaming the hackathon and broadcasting it online as well as at the main festival area. The hackathon culminates in a presentation at the Commiserate 2020 closing ceremony and will feature awards from sponsors.

A PDF copy of the full application form can be found here (for reference).
More information and application here.