Shelly Farnham
Dorkbot Committee Lead
shelly [at]
(206) 226-3586

Eric McNeill
Curator & Jury lead
strangethingsseattle [at]

Request For Proposals

"Strange Things"

People Doing Strange Things with Electricity IV
Art Exhibit of Seattle's Dorkbot
June 27 to July 24, 2009
At 911 Media Arts Center

Submissions are now closed. Thank you to everyone who sent in a proposal.

"Strange Things": People Doing Strange Things with Electricity IV: Emergent Communication

New and exciting genres of art emerge as artists, scientists and technologists bring together their expertise to push the boundaries of what is possible. Dorkbot-Seattle's annual exhibition, People Doing Strange Things with Electricity, showcases innovative trends in contemporary art by bringing together established and emerging artists who work with electricity in a significant way either in their art or in its creation. This is the fourth installment of "Strange Things"; previous shows have attracted in excess of 1000 visitors.

About dorkbot-sea: dorkbot-sea is the Seattle-based spin-off of dorkbot-nyc, a monthly meeting of artists of all stripes, designers, engineers, students and other interested parties who are involved in the creation of electronic art in the broadest sense of the term. The purpose of dorkbot is to give artists and technologists an opportunity for informal peer review, establish a forum for the presentation of new artworks and technologies, help build relationships and foster collaboration between people with various backgrounds and interests, and give us all a chance to see the cool projects that our neighbors are working on. Please see for more information about Seattle's dorkbot.

Exhibition Goals

As in previous years we are seeking a broad range of art that uses electricity as a major component: interactive installations, art that borders the line between physical and digital art, kinetic sculpture, large scale collaborations, lighting installations, web-based art, networked art, ubiquitous name a few.

Please see for an overviews of our previous exhibits, and for photos from the last People Doing Strange Things With Electricity show.

2009 Theme: Emergent Communication

This year we are also inviting artists to create and collaborate on works that explore the theme "Emergent Communication." Artists are encouraged (but not required) to work in groups to build pieces that communicate with each other (and potentially the viewers and environment) in novel ways, to create a larger system that's greater and more complex than its individual parts. Methods of communication are up to the artist(s); you could use anything from two pieces bumping into each other to complex network protocols sharing media. Artists will be encouraged to document how their pieces communicate so that others can create works to join in the conversation.

Meetings will be held in Seattle starting in January to spark ideas and connect artists and engineers, and a wiki will be made available for sharing and documentation. If you have an interest in participating in this part of the show contact Eric McNeill at strangethingsseattle [at] .

Discussions about works that will communicate with each other are also being held online. To join in, please take a look at the related wiki page ( ) and join the dorkbotsea-blabber mailing list.

Opening Night Pieces

At our opening night party on Saturday, June 27 we'll have space available in the 911 Media Center Theater for video projections and performance pieces. We may also have access to the parking lot outside for performances. If you have an interest in participating in this one-night-only event please submit a proposal marked as such.


"Strange Things" is a juried show of about 15-30 pieces, ranging from small wall images to full room installations. We have several large rooms and a theatre available. The criteria on which the proposals will be judged include artistic quality; appropriateness for the exhibit; successfully addressing the goals of "Strange Things": successfully addressing public safety and maintenance issues; and the ability of the artist to complete the work as described. We reserve the right to decline any or all of the submittals.

Selection Process

Submission selections will be made by the dorkbot-sea organizing committee. Submissions will receive conditional acceptances in March, with final decisions made in May based on likelihood of completion and timely installation. See schedule below. The committee may choose to solicit more information from artists in the process of making their decisions. The committee is comprised of the Dorkbot overlord committee including: Eric McNeill as curator/jury lead, Shelly Farnham as event producer, Eldan Goldenberg, Toby Paddock, Scott David, Josh Kopel and Chris Prosser, and a guest juror from 911 Media.


We expect that most submissions will be made by local artists in the dorkbot community, however we invite submissions from artists from all locations as long as their creations fit the "Criteria" described above. In past exhibits, artists reflected the diversity and inclusiveness of the global dorkbot community, encompassing established artists broadening their creative horizons, emerging artists working with new technologies and new artists with technical backgrounds exploring the artistic possibilities of their field of expertise. As noted below, each artist will be responsible for all costs of transporting their work to and from the show.

Exhibition Schedule

Costs for Artists

Artists will be expected to cover their own transportation and installation costs. However 911 Media and Dorkbot will provide basic lighting and AV support. Artists may sell their works if they so chose, with artist receiving 75% of gross sale price, and 911 Media receiving 25% of gross sale price. Please price accordingly.

Submittal Requirements

To be considered for this project, artists must submit all of the following (submission by email is strongly encouraged):

  1. Cover Letter
    In the cover letter, artists should include:
    • Contact information: include the artist's name, mailing address, daytime phone number, and email address. If a collaborative project, include all participating artists' names but indicate which is to be the primary contact.
    • Personal Statement: Indicate the reason for their interest in the project and briefly describe their approach; Include also a brief biographical summary of each collaborator, indicating the artists' past experiences with related work.
  2. Written Project Proposal, one to two pages
    Artists should:
    • Briefly describe their proposal for this project, giving a title and dimensions, and addressing visual impact, materials, interactivity, installation method and any other information that would help to explain the proposal.
    • Briefly describe the environmental conditions that are required, including size of area, lighting, potential sound conflict, and if you have any other site specific needs such as power, water, and permits.
    • Briefly describe how issues of public safety, vandalism and maintenance will be addressed in the design and materials.
    • If your project is short-term or not active all the time, please indicate duration of exhibit and what time of the day is your piece active, and do you need to have a scheduled event?
    • (Optional) Submit an alternative proposal if your project requires significant space (large installations, projects, etc) or equipment needs that you cannot provide yourself (projectors, sound systems, etc) and you'd still like to be considered if we're unable to include your first choice. We do encourage installation submissions, but with limited space we may not be able to accept all of them.
  3. Visual Materials, one to two pages
    Artists should submit a drawing or some clear visual representation of the proposed artwork. If artists prefer to build a three-dimensional model for this proposal, they can photograph the model and include that as one of the images submitted as work examples.
  4. Photodocumentation of past representative work
    Although we encourage works of emerging artists who do not have documented pieces, preference for larger installations will be given to artists who can document their work history. Please include up to ten images (digital) of previously completed and/or representative work, with titles, dimensions and dates. For collaborative projects representative works may be drawn from different collaborators. Digital images must be submitted as email attachments or as a hyperlink to a web site. Each image if submitted in an email attachment must be saved as an individual JPEG file no larger than 1MB. Please provide with your images a sentence describing each image.


E-mail submissions to Eric McNeill, strangethingsseattle [at]

Submissions are now closed

If you have questions regarding the call for proposals or the jury, please e-mail inquiries to Eric McNeill at strangethingsseattle [at] Direct general questions about the exhibit to Shelly Farnham at shelly [at] If you may have trouble submitting a digital version of your project, please contact us in a timely way to ensure we figure out an alternative solution for you.

"Strange Things" is a community oriented event, so please feel free to email us and tell us about your idea if you need feedback, or come to one of our monthly Dorkbot meetings! Learn more at

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