„The Universal Sea: Pure or Plastic?!” is a European art and innovation project with three intertwined goals: Rediscovering the role of the artist in our society, revealing the opportunities of art meeting science and entrepreneurship, while fostering creative solutions to fight the issue of water pollution.

The project aims at supporting a movement of change-makers. It is about joining forces and providing inspiration to initiate, find and spread sustainable solutions against this major anthropogenic problem of plastic waste. We believe that art can be a catalyst for change, while science provides the facts and entrepreneurship enables the long-term success.

Who is running THE UNIVERSAL SEA?

The Universal Sea is an independent non-profit initiative coordinated by the Foundation for Entrepreneurship (Berlin, Germany), in partnership with the Center of Polish Sculpture (Oronsko, Poland) and Hybridart Management (Budapest, Hungary), in cooperation with EUCC-D (Rostock, Germany). The project was initiated by the Institute for Art and Innovation e.V. (Berlin, Germany).

What is THE UNIVERSAL SEA Book Launch Event?

The book launch of The Universal Sea – The art and innovation guide against the plastic epidemic takes place on

Friday, March 15th, 2019.

The Universal Sea Team has been working very hard for the past year to make this book (464 pages, English) a reality and it is finally finished 🙂 We can’t wait to inspire you with the work of entrepreneurs, artists, and change-makers who make up the guide.

Get your free ticket on Eventbrite and make sure to press attending on our Facebook Page

Universität der Künste, Room 158
Hardenbergstraße 33
10623 Berlin

What is Art Moments - THE UNIVERSAL SEA Budapest Festival?

Art Moments – The Universal Sea Budapest Festival is an event collaboration with HybridArt Management at the annual Art Moments Festival  and The Universal Sea, hosted in Budapest. Dedicated to broadening the impact of art and the role of the artist, our project partners are devoting the focus of Art Moments 2018 to The Universal Sea project!

Running from September 17th to November 7th, 2018, the festival is host to a jam-packed program of exhibitions and events across the city. For our contribution, we aim to open a new event each week of October to keep your calendars full of exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, films, and artistic interventions. Read more…

Check out our
Art Moments Budapest – Site #1 – Exhibition at HybridArt Space
Art Moments Budapest – Site #2 – ‘Plastic Waste Labyrinth’, a public art intervention by Julia Végh and Erika Kraponczai (HU)
Art Moments Budapest – Site #3 – Exhibition and artist talks at Mikve
Art Moments Budapest – Site #4 – A public art intervention by Kaethe Wenzel (DE)
Art Moments Budapest – Site #5 – Sustainability and Art, international conference, at Hajo Boat on Danube river
Art Moments Budapest – Site #6 – Film screening at Trafóklub

What is The Universal Sea Grand Opening?

The Grand Opening is an art and science exhibition organized by the core partners of The Universal Sea and was held at The Center for Polish Sculpture in Oronsko, PolandThe exhibition was shown from  22 April 2018 until 10 June 2018.

What is a Station?

At our stations, we meet with locally based partners such as artists, experts from scientific and cultural organizations, universities, initiatives and the start-up scene.

The basic setup open to the public consists of:
• a condensed, modular exhibition (up to 2 weeks)
• a participatory co-creation workshop (1-2 days) including artistic presentations and interactions, keynotes by innovators and experts, creating artifacts, an ideation process to find entrepreneurial solution concepts, stimulation to think bigger, creating moon-shot ideas
• a networking evening

So far our stations took place across Europe: Berlin, Oronsko, Helsinki, Pristina, Amsterdam, Varel, Copenhagen, Warnemünde*, Wollin*, Budapest and Abu Dhabi.

*only exhibition and cleanup

Publication of the Guidebook

Can you get a preview of the finished manuscript to check its content before it gets published?

Unfortunately there is not enough time to have the businesses look at the whole guidebook before publication. However, we can offer the book’s structure and its layout profile before publishing.

What happens once we have received all the required documents?

The book will be published by March 2019. The book launch takes place on 15th of March at the University of Arts in Berlin.

How many printed copies of the guidebook will be when available?

1000 copies of the first edition will be printed in spring 2019. The books will be available from 15 March 2019.

Where will the guidebook be distributed?

The printed book is available worldwide and can be ordered through our website.

When will the guidebook be distributed to artists who get a free copy?

Participating artists from our 1st (as selected for TOP 100) and from our 2nd open call get a free copy. But please note: Orders (as an artist you have to cover the postal fees) need to be done before 20 March 2019.

What would be the licence under which the guidebook will be published?

The guide will be published by the Institute for Art and Innovation and The Foundation for Entrepreneurship, both located in Berlin. The copyright is going to be with them, respectively with the artists, essayists, businesses etc.

What is the title of the guidebook?

The Universal Sea – The art and innovation guide against the plastic epidemic.

Can the featured businesses and artists get a copy of the guidebook?

The presented businesses get free coverage, however we depend on their support. Sure, all businesses which would like to get a copy can order the bundles HERE. Participating artists* get one book for free but have to cover the postal fee and need to pre-order the book until 20 March 2019.

*with a one page coverage such as our TOP100 of the 1st open call, accepted artists of our 2nd open call or featured artists of the 3rd open call.

Sharing Events and Writing Posts

What are the requirements to write a post?

We invite everyone who takes action against the plastic mess to become part of our community. Please understand that we care about the content and images shared on our platform. Therefore, while writing your article make sure to cover the 5 Ws (What, Where, When, Who, Why) and check the consistency. Try to choose good resolution pictures that best illustrate your post.
If you promote an artwork or an initiative please don’t forget to link their homepage for further information.

What are the requirements to share an event?

We care about the content and images shared on our platform. Therefore, we request you to add a small description of the shared event. Please don’t forget the link to the page for further information.

Event form HERE.

How do I deal with copyrights?

You are responsible for the picture and the content you post. It is compulsory to always be aware of the correct copyright usage.  Best, would be that you are the owner of the picture.
If you are not the owner, you have to ask for permission to use the desired picture or keep an allowance proof.

In any case, it is always good to provide the author and title of the picture as a caption.

How long should my post be?

Your text should be at least 300 words long.
We care about the content and images shared on our platform. Therefore, while writing your article make sure to cover the 5 Ws (What, Where, When, Who, Why) and check the consistency. We care about the content and images shared on our platform. 

Open Call for Artists

General Questions

Why should I apply for the ARTIST OPEN CALL?

The clock is ticking, it’s time for everyone to act and save our source of life: Water.

Would you like your artworks to be propelled to a brain new level? If so, The Universal Sea Second Artist Open Call gives you the chance to integrate into a real large-scale project and contribute to a global cause. You will be published in the first smart-plastic-living manual, the “The Universal Sea – Pure or Plastic?!” book. It is also the chance for you to step in and present your ideas and manpower, to show that your work is the catalyst for change and can move people on an emotional level.

If you were part of our open calls and were part of the Top 100:

  • One page dedicated to your artwork in the “Pure or Plastic?!” book
  • Two copies of the finished printed book (if you order them and cover the postal fee – You need to do so before 20 March 2019)
  • Printout of your artwork exhibited at The Universal Sea Festival in Budapest, Hungary (running all October 2018)
  • Your work credited in the book, in the exhibition, and on our website.
  • The book “Pure or Plastic?!” published and advertised both digitally and offline, and promotion on all platforms of The Universal Sea
  • You contribute to an important global cause

How to apply?

The open calls are closed.

You can apply by sharing an artwork related to ONE of the five categories mentioned (RE-place/RE-use/RE-cycle/RE-duce/RE-act), we also listed some of the most used plastic items here. You can use these as guidelines for your project, or come up with your own solution to another particular product.
Please use the button “upload photo” in the form on the application page to submit your solution/s. You will have to register – please carefully choose a username which will be visible during the public voting. Then it is requested to provide up to five images (photography, collage, illustration, etc).


Who can participate?

All artists and cultural actors from all around the world are invited to apply with their work proposing a substitute or re-utilisation of plastic items produced by humankind. There are no restrictions based on gender, nationality or training.

Applicants can also participate as couples or groups, the submission requirements and the budget remain the same. One group is seen as one applicant.

Is there a registration fee?

There is no registration fee to apply for The Universal Sea – Open Call for Artists.

To learn more about this, GO TO OPEN CALL or go straight to the APPLICATION FORM.

What are the terms and conditions of the open call?

Terms and conditions for the Artist open call are accessible under the link “Rules & Prizes” in the application form.

Questions on the submission

Can I submit an unfinished or not yet realised work ?

Artists can submit up to five pictures of only finished artworks.

Is there a size limitation for my work or a specific media?

There is a size limitation for the submitted pictures, which can be maximum size 5MB and must measure 21,6 cm x 15,4 cm. Take into account that the artwork will be published in an A5 format book. However, we welcome projects of the following type of media: digital, performances, installation, drawing, basically anything that can be printed on a page and is powerful to communicate your message.

How do I ask for support for my project (business, artwork, initiative, ect)?

Create a profile on our website with your contact information and use the section “Tell more about yourself” or “Searching for” to describe what you need or what you can offer.

Another option is to write a post about your work and state what kind of support you would need.

Why is there a public voting?

The public audience takes a relevant role in our project since it is one of our target groups. The public voting has the mean to engage with and catch the interest of the broader audience. Water pollution is a global issue, therefore we are all somehow involved and responsible to act against it.

By whom is my artwork judged?

The artwork is finally judged by The Universal Sea jury. The 11 headed jury with backgrounds from varied fields (art, science, entrepreneurship) select the winners from the Top 10 of the publicly pre-selected shortlist chosen by the public voting.

Questions on the prizes 

Are travel costs included?

We do not cover travel costs nor VISA costs. The five final winners of the first open call receive a production budget to cover all occurring costs, be it for traveling or the production of the artwork.