Artist Open Call

The Universal Sea – Pure or Plastic?!
Call for Artists

Artists and cultural actors of all areas are invited to apply to the first open call of “The Universal Sea – Pure or Plastic?!” – seeking out for artworks and projects which deal with water in the Anthropocene’s context: human impact on the environment. 

Applications must be submitted until December 31st, 2017 – 11:59 pm CET.

Find detailed information about our current OPEN CALL HERE (Deadline: 25 July 2018).

Water is the source of life – no life without water. Historically seen, cultures have mostly settled near oceans, rivers, coasts, lakes or other freshwater springs. But this source is at risk, because of waste. We need a common awareness; therefore it has to be addressed to everyone. The problem can only be solved by acting in league with an all-encompassing understanding of the overall situation. This includes common and local interests in an equitable balance between varying concerns and chains of events regarding the change of multi-faceted local aspects.

Art against “Waste in the Seas” and the purpose of our action

“The Universal Sea: Pure or Plastic?!” is a European art and innovation project designed to fight plastic waste in the sea, which is produced by mankind. Together with the public audience, entrepreneurs and scientists, new solutions are to be found and put into action. Artists and cultural producers based in the European Union and associated countries are invited to become mediators to reach a broad audience in Europe.

The aim of our project is to strengthen creative civil participation now and for the future. It’s about creating urgency to take action! To reach a vast European audience, our environmental art project makes social change happening by galvanizing art and entrepreneurship. On one hand, art as a catalyzer reflects the problem critically and emotionally, on the other hand, entrepreneurial thinking helps to turn the innovative ideas into sustainable solutions. The project seeks to find new approaches and explores the power of art questioning and rethinking existing systems through making thought processes visible and physically tangible.

Art is the key

Through their interdisciplinary, liberal, creative thinking, artists initiate discussions and create non-verbal as well as emotional artifacts as vehicles for understanding and trigger the spark for action. We believe that art can be a catalyzer for change.

Who can apply?

Artists and cultural actors from all over the world are invited to apply. There are no restrictions based on art discipline, gender or nationality. We are especially looking for artists that are interested in engaging with the public audience while working on their individual artistic creation.

How to apply?

You can apply by filling the Open Call form that can be accessed HERE. You can upload your project focused on the project’s idea “The Universal Sea – Pure or Plastic!?”. Your project can consist of an artwork you have already created or of an idea that you’d like to develop further during an art residency program. If your project gets selected, you will contribute three actions to our events, and engage with public audiences, scientists, and entrepreneurs.

The selection process

The call will close on December 31st, 2017. Until March 15th, 2018, a jury will choose the best projects based on previously accepted submissions. The best contributions will be identified through a three-stage process. First, the jury does a pre-selection of 150 artists based on their artwork contributions. The best 100 submissions will be shown in the museum in Oronsko, Poland and at the festival in Budapest/ Hungary, and get published in The Universal Sea Book, to be issued in 2019. At the second stage, the jury nominates a shortlist of 10 artworks/projects out of the 100. Additionally, 5 wild cards enter the shortlist based on public online voting. Finally, the jury selects the 5 winning artists or projects from the 15 shortlisted finalists. Up to 5 winners will be invited to show their works in the museum exhibition in Oronsko/ Poland starting April 22nd, 2018, and to take part in an artist in residency program, and later on at the festival in Budapest/ Hungary.

What is in for you?

  1. Contribute to a global cause with your work.
  2. Be shown in an international museum exhibition with your work (Top 5 finalists) or your print-out (Top 100 entries) in Oronsko, Poland in April/May 2018.
  3. Be selected for an Artist Residency (Top 5 finalists), which runs up to 6 months, providing time for research and art production, mentored by scientists and entrepreneurs.
  4. Get a budget of 5.000 Euro for your extended art production including travels and 3 public workshops. (Top 5 finalists)
  5. Show your final artwork (Top 5 finalists)  or your print-out (Top 100 entries) at The Universal Sea Festival in Budapest, Hungary.
  6. Be published in the official The Universal Sea Book (Top 100 entries).

What is “The Universal Sea – Pure or Plastic?!”?

„The Universal Sea: Pure or Plastic?!” is an EU-funded art and innovation project with three intertwined goals: Rediscovering the role of the artist in our society, revealing the opportunities of art meeting entrepreneurship, while fostering creative solutions to fight the issue of water pollution.
The expanded concept of art by Joseph Beuys‘ term of a “social sculpture” is set as the main reference and intellectual basis of the project and its artistic and crossover fields. The “social sculpture” embodies Beuys’ understanding of the potential of art to initiate active social changes and to transform society. As a work of art, it includes human activity that strives to structure and to shape society and its environment by using communication, visualization of thoughts, actions, and objects to connect to our important topic.

Overview of the project’s timeline in regard to artists:

Phase 1:

  • The Open Call to artists is published on November 5th, 2017.

Phase 2:

  • The Top 100 approved online submissions will be printed and shown at the Grand Opening, a mix of exhibition and conference in Oronsko/Poland.
  • A jury selects the most promising artistic contributions to become part of an Artist Mentoring Program (taking place between May and September 2018, duration depending on each artist’s proposals).
  • During the Artist in Residencies, each one of the five winning artists deepens concepts, engages with the public in 3 open workshops (Actions) and has time to produce art. In parallel, they can use the mentor-ship from the scientific field for more profound material or from the entrepreneurial field in case of creation of sustainable solution concepts and business models.
  • Afterwards, five individual Stations of The Universal Sea project will bring a modular exhibition, a co-creation workshop and a networking evening to associated partners, with a strong multiplier character to get European citizens involved and to spread the art of at least one of the Top 5 finalists.

Phase 3:

  • All activities lead towards the final The Universal Sea Festival in Budapest/Hungary. There the generated results, artworks, and entrepreneurial solution concepts will be presented as an exhibition together with a conference program based on a vital mix of speeches and interactive workshops reflecting on innovation processes.
  • Besides essays, results and overview of several work processes The Universal Sea Book will contain the Top 100 artists nominated by the jury to be published in 2019.

We look forward to your submission! In case you need further information please check our FAQs or chat with us at this email: