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Rapid Response Program Video Reel

Rapid Response for A Better Digital Future

Artists reclaim virtual space from surveillance capitalism.

Launched in response to the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, Rapid Response became Eyebeam’s inaugural fully-digital artist fellowship. Marking the beginning of a new kind of artist support at Eyebeam, the 9-month program supported 30 artists and collectives from across the globe with robust financial and professional support to first imagine and then take tangible steps toward building a better digital future.

The Rapid Response Storythe-rapid-response-story

In March 2020, the novel Coronavirus began its assault on communities across the nation. Forced to close its physical Bushwick offices, Eyebeam swiftly moved its programs online, including its annual Residency. As a result, we found ourselves needing to interrogate and reimagine what it meant to run an artist residency and public program when social interaction was prohibited. This was underscored by the swift shutdown of public services, widespread financial insecurity, politicization of public health recommendations, and a history-making outcry of protests across the world against racial violence imparted on Black people in America. We immediately engaged in conversations with our community, asking them, What do artists need right now? We consistently received the same feedback: Artists urgently need financial resources and a dedicated space for imagination and experimentation.

In collaboration with trusted advisors Eyebeam swiftly put forward an open call for Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future (RR). The selected awardees formed an active cohort of practitioners who were in regular communication, received expert consultation, and engaged in skill-sharing and group critiques — all facilitated online by Eyebeam.

When Phase I ended in October 2020, Eyebeam moved onto Phase II. For this portion of the fellowship, Eyebeam selected eight artists from the original cohort to receive an additional award of up to $25,000 each and deeper support with project management, critical feedback, and public visibility. At the end of both phases, Eyebeam hosted virtual public events that were free and open to the public that showcased the fellows’ projects and made space for dialogue.


Prof. Ute Meta Bauer
Founding Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore

Suhaly Bautista-Carolina
Senior Managing Educator, Audience Development and Engagement at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Stephanie Dinkins

Brian Droitcour
Associate Editor, Art In America

Kathleen Forde
Senior Curator, PaceX

Jerron Herman
Disabled Artist

Ladi’Sasha Jones
Artist Engagement Manager, The Laundromat Project

Nora N. Khan

Prem Krishnamurthy
Partner and Director, Wkshps

Joanne McNeil

Luc Meier
Director, La Becque

Hito Steyerl

American Artist

Tara Aisha Willis
Associate Curator of Performance & Public Practice, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Luke DuBois
Co-Director / Associate Professor of Integrated Digital Media, NYU, Eyebeam Board

Lauren Ruffin
Co-Founder, Crux & co-CEO and Chief External
Relations Officer, Fractured Atlas

Matt Corwine
Microsoft Research

Brittni Collins
Public Art Manager, Times Square Arts

Phase Iphase-i

Meet the Rapid Response cohort of artists who worked re-tooling technology to circumvent surveillance capitalism for social change.

In Phase I, Eyebeam supported thirty fellows in researching and creating prototypes of their initial proposed concepts, which were selected by a jury for their potential to shape a more humane digital future. Artists participated in group critiques featuring invited guests including Amelia Winger-Bearskin (MIT, Stanford) and Mohammed Salemi, intimate workshops led by field leaders such as Kamal Sinclair (Guild of Future Architects) and nash sheard (Electronic Frontier Foundation), all while receiving in-depth project management support from Eyebeam.

Phase I Artists

The picture shows a self-described young-man with short hair and a five o'clock shadow holding a cylindrical object and a sphere, looking right into the camera with a straight face. The picture is in greyscale.
Adam Harvey Rapid Response Fellow
A light brown woman with medium-length wavy and dark hair, Ari Melenciano, sits in her studio in front of a few colorful and abstracted art hanging on the wall and a large painting leaning against the wall . Image courtesy of the artist
Ari Melenciano Rapid Response Fellow
B Covington Sam-Sumana stands centered in a self-staged photograph. Heavy, defined brows frame a soft face of warm, deeply spiced amber carrying an inquisitive expression. B looks both lost - and as if they've been waiting on you. B wears a short, teased afro, high waisted brown leather pants, and a relaxed Guess brand oxford shirt with a button undone at the collar that carries a subtle red stain on its right shoulder. The shirt is tucked in. B carries a phone in their right hand. That arm dangles while the left arm, wearing a silver bracelet, is covering B's stomach. On B's right side is a sparse spiral staircase and a floating 3-dimensional model of verrucotoxin protein. Verrucotoxin is the active agent in the venom of a lionfish. There is a door in the back of the room, just behind B's left shoulder.
B Covington Sam-Sumana Rapid Response Fellow
A close up image of young black woman with brown skin, brown eyes looks off camera. She is wearing a gray sweater.
Clareese Hill, Dr. Rapid Response Fellow
A middle-aged man squints from the sun. He has pink skin, light-brown, mid-length curly hair with blue tips, and a long curly beard with a greying goatee. He’s wearing a black t-shirt printed with red text, a patchwork red flannel shirt, and khaki pants. Behind him is outdoor seating.
Christopher Clary Rapid Response Fellow
A young woman with fair skin sits in a 1970s Victorian Style chair, photographed in a portrait studio with bright lighting on an all blue background. Her light brown hair is pulled back into a bun and she is wearing heavy foundation and red lipstick. She is wearing a bright blue blazer and she clutches a rock that is almost as large as her, as she looks up.
Cassandra Thornton Rapid Response Fellow
A selfie of white man in his early 40ies smiling up towards the camera. Blond hair and a bit of a beard. Blue eyes, wearing apple ear pods. Wearing a blue t-shirt and lighter blue, opened, button down shirt. Taken in a casual livingroom setting.
Constant Dullaart Rapid Response Fellow
This is a headshot of Dylan Gauthier, an artist and curator, who presents as a white male with curly black hair, a sharp nose, and an uneven chin. He is wearing a black worker's shirt over a flower print white and black button-up shirt. The blurred background hints at a view of Freshkills Park, where the photo was taken. The photo was taken by Natalie Conn.
Dylan Gauthier Rapid Response Fellow
Harris in a photobooth with red backdrop. Harris is white with light brown hair, glasses, and facial hair, and is wearing a t-shirt with a collage of cats on it.
Harris Kornstein Rapid Response Fellow
Pictured in Black and White, is a korean-american person with dark straight hair parted in the middle, wearing a black deep-V jacket. Has a tattoo on neck.
Hyungi Park Rapid Response Fellow
Self-portrait of artist Kyle McDonald. Mid-30s white male with short wavy brown hair, neutral face expression, clean shaven, collared black t-shirt, against a white background.
Kyle McDonald Rapid Response Fellow
Lindsay has white skin, light brown hair and blue eyes, and is leaning with her head on her right hand. She’s wearing a black jacket with a collar.
Lindsay Howard Rapid Response Fellow
A young African man with an open mouth smile showing teeth, he's wearing a black collar-less shirt and blue glasses which contrast against his dark brown skin. He is standing in an outdoor urban space.
Maxwell Mutanda Rapid Response Fellow
Artist Mimi Ọnụọha standing in front of her video installation These Networks In Our Skin. She is a dark-skin nigerian woman who wears a white sheer top and braids.
Mimi Ọnụọha Rapid Response Fellow
A profile image of a brown woman with short, light-brown side-swept hair wearing a denim blue buttoned top, sitting in front of a wall covered in black and red spray-painted street art between two dark grey columns.
Morehshin Allahyari Rapid Response Fellow
A Black person, with dark brown skin wearing turtoise shell colored glasses and a light cream colored knit sweater. They are sitting and have a slight smile, and are wearing a black baseball cap, with their locs pulled back beneath it.
Morgen Bromell Rapid Response Fellow
This is a black and white grainy photo of a close up of Rodan Tekle's face, she is a black woman with headphones on, one hand touching the headphone as she's looking straight into the camera with a serious but gentle gaze.
Rodan Tekle Rapid Response Fellow
An image of a young woman from the shoulders up. She has brown skin and long black hair, and she's looking to the side and smiling slightly. There is a filter applied to the image that pixelates it and distorts it slightly; the image appears to be constructed of overlapping circles in the colors of the photo.
Roopa Vasudevan Rapid Response Fellow
A digitally generated natal chart based on soft/WALL/studs’ date and time of establishment. Twelve zodiac symbols are interspersed at an equidistant along the circular chart’s circumference, with arrows pointed at a couple of symbols, while planetary symbols are also marked out along this widest ring. Lines of pink, blue, and red criss-cross between roman numerals at the centre of the chart, drawing a succession of triangles, overlapping and entangled. It indicates, among other things, that soft/WALL/studs is an Aries Sun and Moon, and a Libra Rising.
soft/WALL/studs Rapid Response Fellow
pictured is researcher and educator Thomas Tajo. He is a southeast asian man with short dark hair, and light brown skin. He wears a puffy dark blue jacket and sits, smiling in front of a marble sculpture.
Thomas Tajo Rapid Response Fellow

Phase IIphase-ii

Beginning in October 2020, Eyebeam segued into Phase II and invited eight artists/artist collectives from the original cohort based on their prototypes’ actionability to create real-world impact. The Phase II cohort was supported with additional funding, individualized professional development and mentorship, project documentation, and public visibility in support of fully realizing their projects. An essential aspect of the fellowship was to share the brilliant work of the artists within our community and beyond. At the culmination of the fellowship, the Phase II cohort were given the opportunity to launch their projects at Eyebeam’s From the Rupture multi-day festival to a global virtual audience of 2,000 while in conversation with field leaders such as Sasha Costanza-Chock (MIT), Aza Raskin (Center For Humane Technology), and Vincent Southerland (Bail Project).

Phase II Artists

Pictured is Juan Pablo, he is a medium brown Latino person with dark short hair, he wears a cheetah print swear and funky glasses
Juan Pablo García Sossa (JPGS) Rapid Response Fellow
A solar map of the world representing the science behind Solar Protocol. Diagram showing the active Solar Protocol server being updated by dynamic DNS updates.
Solar Protocol Rapid Response Fellow
Portrait of Rashaad Newsome, a dark-skinned Black man with salt and pepper beard and moustache. He stares directly at the camera and wears a black sweater. Newsome stands in front of two dark wooden-framed mirrors on a white wall.
Rashaad Newsome Rapid Response Fellow
a Han-Taiwanese nonbinary person with almond-colored skin, short black hair and purple highlights stands in front of the California desert landscape.
Xin Xin Rapid Response Fellow

Public Activation: What Comes Next: Artist Interventions in Technology, Rapid Response Phase I (October 5th–10th, 2020)publication-activation-phase-i

Pictured is a black and white graphic with text what says "What Comes Next: Artist Interventions in Technology, Oct. 5th - 10th". This is a promotional image for the virtual event for the phase I of rapid response program that took place in October 2020.

Phase I artists hailing from nearly every continent, present their projects to build a more humane future during this dynamic weeklong showcase held in October.

Meet the artists making access to digital tools, their functionalities, and community care more equitable.

From providing computer vision tools for human rights researchers and investigative journalists to digital, insurrectionary, mutual aid, community financing, these artists are engaging and fortifying democracy.

Public Activation: From the Rupture, Rapid Response Phase IIpublic-activation-phase-ii

During our four day festival, From the Rupture, Eyebeam unveiled the eight ambitious projects designed and launched by Phase II Rapid Response fellows, including Aladin Borioli (Apian), Dillon Sung in Collaboration with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition*, Juan Pablo García Sossa (JPGS)*, Solar Protocol (Tega Brain, Alex Nathanson, and Benedetta Piantella), Valencia James (Volumetric Performance Toolbox), Veil Machine in collaboration with Kink Out (Empress Wu, Cléo Ouyang, and Thea Luce), and Xin Xin.

Eyebeam welcomed over 2,000 audience members from across the globe to engage in timely inquiries and tactics from field leaders on topics ranging from consensual coding to Black mental therapy apps. The entire program has been archived and can be accessed on a specially-designed digital platform that is still active and available for the public to visit, explore, and watch an array of radical practitioners who span the fields of public policy, journalism, healthcare, and more, as they untangle important questions addressing society’s relationship to emerging technology.

Explore the From the Rupture Universe here.


Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future has been generously made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, and Jerome Foundation.

Eyebeam is grateful for the long-standing visionary support of the Atlantic Foundation and the New York Council on the Arts. We are pleased to also acknowledge the support of the Beatrice Snyder Foundation and The O’Grady Foundation. Thank you to all our donors who believe in our work.

Eyebeam models a new approach to artist-led creation for the public good; we are a non-profit that provides significant professional support and money to exceptional artists for the realization of important ideas that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Nobody else is doing this.

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