Open Call

After three successful cycles of the art&science Residency Award, we are very happy to present our new scientific partner for the fourth Residency in the framework of the European Digital Art and Science Network: ESA – the European Space Agency.

The residency will again be part of the “European Digital Art and Science Network” initiated by Ars Electronica and seven cultural partners throughout Europe (Center for the promotion of science, RS; DIG Gallery, SK; Zaragoza City of Knowledge Foundation, ES; Kapelica Gallery / Kersnikova, SI; GV Art, UK; Laboral, ES; Science Gallery, IE) with the support of the Creative Europe Program of the EU.

Artists above the age of 18 from all countries are invited to apply for a residency at ESA. The winning artist is subject to obtaining clearance to work on site at ESA-ESTEC. This call is open to digital artists to propose innovative concepts and ideas in the field of art, science and technology.


Photo: ESA-G. Porter, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

ESA Residency

The Residency is divided in two parts – with an initial 2–6 weeks at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. ESTEC is ESA’s technical heart, where most projects are born and guided through the various phases of development. There, the winning artist will work with ESA’s science communications, outreach, and education group, and with one or more scientific mentors, chosen on the basis of the art project’s focus, to inspire him/her and his/her work.

During her/his residency, the artist will be able to focus on any subject from ESA’s space science programme, although the two upcoming landing events mentioned below may be of particular interest. The submitted idea/project must already reflect what the artist is interested and on which subject she/he wants to realize her/his project.

ESA’s space science programme: The European Space Agency operates and is partner in a fleet of spacecraft exploring the Sun and the Earth’s magnetic field, orbiting Mars, Saturn, and a comet, and collecting photons with space telescopes across the electromagnetic spectrum, from corners of the Universe near and far. Recently launched missions include the Milky Way star surveyor Gaia, the gravitational wave technology testbed LISA Pathfinder, and ExoMars 2016, the first in a series of new missions to explore the Red Planet. Future missions under construction include BepiColombo to explore Mercury, Solar Orbiter to study the Sun from close-up, and Euclid, a mission to survey the mysterious role played by dark matter and dark energy across the Universe and cosmic time.

Rosetta & ExoMars landings: In September 2016, after a roller coaster 2 years and 2 months orbiting and studying Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission will come to an end with a controlled impact of the spacecraft on the comet’s surface, collecting scientific data all the way down. This audacious action will close the operational phase of an historic mission that has engaged the public worldwide with its journey to uncover the secrets of this cosmic treasure trove, the scientific results from which will rewrite the textbooks of cometary science. A couple of weeks later, attention will turn to Mars, as the ExoMars 2016 mission – a collaboration between ESA and Roscosmos – arrives at its destination after a 7-month cruise. On 19 October, the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator will take the next steps in Europe’s new era of Mars exploration by testing technology as it descends to the surface of the Red Planet.

Mark McCaughreanRead an interview with Senior Science Advisor Mark McCaughrean who gives you some insights into the ESA’S very promising activities on the Ars Electronica Blog!

Ars Electronica Futurelab

Photo: Martin Hieslmair

Ars Electronica Futurelab

The second part of the residency will be a month with the Futurelab team and a mentor at Ars Electronica Linz, with whom the winner will develop and make new work inspired by their stay at ESA. The Ars Electronica Futurelab focuses on the future of the nexus of art, technology, and society. The lab’s team bases its work commitment upon transdisciplinary research and work which results in a variety of different disciplines. Having artists and researchers from all over the globe collaborating with – and taking residencies at – the Ars Electronica Futurelab, is fundamental to this Atelier/Laboratory.


Photo: ESA / Anneke Le Floc’h

Submission details

We are looking for digital artists who will be truly inspired by the scientific work enabled and achieved by ESA. This competition is open for artists to propose all kind of innovative concepts and ideas in the field of art and technology: interactive art, digital music/sound art, computer animation / Film / VFX, digital communities, hybrid art, performance & choreography, digital design.

Each submission has to be made online (in English), including the following parts:

  • A personal testimony video to introduce the artist, who should describe why and how a residency at ESA will inspire new work (up to 5 minutes)
  • An outline of a possible concept/idea that the artist wishes to pursue at ESA (focusing either on the space science programme in general, on a particular science mission, or on one of the two 2016 landing events) and Futurelab
  • A draft production plan with cost estimate for the realisation and timeline
  • A selected portfolio showcasing significant works by the artist

All of the above has to be submitted online.

The concept description should be concrete and it should explain the essentials of the idea, either focusing on ESA’s space science programme in general, on a particular science mission, or on the 2016 Rosetta and/or ExoMars landings. In addition, the submission should also explain how and why the ideas and science generated by a residency at ESA and the work at Ars Electronica Futurelab are essential to the art project and the work of the artist.

The production plan should contain a clear description of the production tasks involved in the project, and how and why the collaboration with the Ars Electronica Futurelab personnel could be beneficial for the realisation and production of the proposed idea.

The Jury will comprise representatives from ESA, Ars Electronica/Futurelab, and representatives from the seven cultural partner institutions. The Jury sessions will take place shortly after the end of the submission deadline. The selected artist will be informed immediately after the Jury decision has been reached. You should be reachable via e-mail by end of June/beginning of July to provide further documents and credits for the presentation on the art&science homepage ( and to discuss further proceeding.

The Jury’s decision will be final and the artist will be expected to take up their residency in the second half of 2016.


The winning artists will be funded during their residency.

An artist fee in the amount of € 3.000,- as well as accommodation and travel are funded from an Ars Electronica designated limited fund covering all residencies. No prize money is involved.

The final work and the results will be showcased at the Ars Electronica Festival 2016/2017 in Linz and in the framework of modular, mobile exhibitions at the institutions of the seven cultural partners (Center for the promotion of science, RS; DIG Gallery, SK; Zaragoza City of Knowledge Foundation, ES; Kapelica Gallery / Kersnikova, SI; GV Art, UK; Laboral, ES; Science Gallery, IE). ESA offers the possibility to organise an exhibition or performance at one or more of the agency’s establishments in 2016/2017.

The entry period for a residency award in the framework of the European Digital Art and Science network run from 20 April 2016 to 20 June 2016 (closing deadline 11:59 PM CEST/GTM+2).

Entry details