Commiserate Chicago 2020: Call for Artworks, Workshops, and Talks

Dates or Deadline: 
20 December 2019
Chicago, IL
United States

Commiserate Chicago 2020
DEADLINE for submissions: December 20, 2020
Location: MADD Center @ The University of Chicago, Chicago, USA
Festival dates: February 29 - March 1, 2020

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The first Commiserate Chicago 2020 media art festival will take place February 29 - March 1, 2020, in Chicago, USA, at the University of Chicago’s Media Art, Data, and Design Center. 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? We invite artists and researchers based in and out of Chicago to reflect on the state of media art and the life and survival of media arts in a city remote from any major art market. We are offering the entirety of the University of Chicago’s MADD Center space, which includes ambulatory screens, more than 50 computers, a VR hub, fabrication facilities, and a large video wall among many other resources.

All submissions should be sent through Please follow our event page ( to get updates.

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DEADLINE for submissions: December 20, 2020
We invite submissions for the following:

Submissions are welcome from all media art and research fields. This can include, but is not limited to, works that are digital, interactive, installations, games, sound, haptic, gustatory, olfactory, machine learning, 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.
✎ Submission documents: artist statement (<300 words), bio/CV, artwork title, work description (<500 words), work documentation, installation guide and information (if installation).

This is a platform for new media artists, designers, and hackers who prioritize their methodology and generative process over definitive products. You are invited to demonstrate and communicate your approach in live workshops. For our first year, there are no specific themes. Workshops will be hosted at the MADD Center’s Hack Arts Laboratory as well as table space outside the Lab.

We are looking for talk proposals that will bring new ideas to our discussions driven by - but not limited to - the following prompts: How do artists on the margins contribute to the discourse on new media art? How do we define new media art? What anchors the emphasis of “new” media? 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?
✎ Submission documents: bio/CV, talk title, abstract (<300 words), 3-4 keywords, intended audience, talk format, tech & facility requirements information.

↳ Object-Oriented Orgasm Hackathon (OOOHack) ❄
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. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided throughout the event. This event especially, but not exclusively, reaches out to people from under-represented communities.
⚧ Apply:

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For more information, please go to If you have questions, feel free to contact