Engineering Care

The world of automation seems to be full of care. Personal intelligent assistants, therapeutic robots, and artificial human companions offer their services at home, work, school, and in the hospital. As machines meant to perform care, they inform, remind, keep company, mediate, and provide feedback. They are efficient and tireless, continuously learning from their users’ needs and habits to optimize their performance. Promising to be of key importance for those in need, they determine the rhythm of tomorrow’s everyday life. The emerging technologies of care can organize the time of those feeling overwhelmed, babysit and educate children, and assist the elderly to live secure and autonomous lives.

Engineered care brings promises as well as complex challenges for the near future. Artificial caregivers are meant to undertake a form of labor which is affective, invisibilized, and undervalued, largely gendered and often racialized. Its automation might be liberating to human caregivers but, at the same time it might also reinforce forms of discrimination and affect social behavior. Automated services also always depend on the work of human operators who check, maintain, and assist the machines’ performance. Software agents and robotic systems need to be taken care of in order to properly support their users but also mine data from the interactions with them. And as a new economy of care is born, care itself seems to be redefined.

The current call for web residencies by Solitude and ZKM aims to look into automated care’s possibilities and limitations, gains and losses: How do contemporary technologies of care relate to the generalized crisis of care in the world today? Which new wishes, services, and products are generated through them? To what extent can they recuperate the social bonds that fell apart in the period of financial capitalism (Fraser 2016)? Can they assist in rethinking and reformulating the politics and ethics of care? What if care itself is understood as a living technology (Puig de Bellacasa 2018)? Which practices and methodologies emerge in this case, and how can they be helpful?

»Engineering Care« invites artists, designers, technologists, and activists to submit proposals for new or ongoing works that capture how we will live and work with machines, and how relationships and dependencies might change. Challenging the common narratives about artificial empathy and the robotic imaginary, it welcomes projects that address care’s economization and instrumentalization, or shed light on forms of radical, collective, and critical care. These might be tools, networks, and infrastructures for human, more-than-human or machinic worlds, as well as initiatives, formations, and assemblages that aim to maintain, repair, or build relations and bonds.

Project proposals for this call may include texts, performances, apps, documentary video and fiction, 3D objects, net sculptures and installations, web archives, and any other experimental mediums. Selected projects should be carried out in open-source formats that are well-documented, shareable, and consider the accessibility of its users, who may range in age, race, gender, economic class, and ability.

Text: Daphne Dragona
Image: Software Garden, 2018, Rory Pilgrim, courtesy of andriesse eyck galerie

Nancy Fraser, »Contradictions of Capital and Care« in:

Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, »Matters of Care in Technoscience: Assembling Neglected Things« in: Social Studies of Science, 2018, p. 67.


We accept text, performance, documentary video and fiction, 3D objects, net sculptures and installations, web archives, apps, and any other experimental mediums. Selected projects should be carried out in open-source formats that are well-documented, shareable, and consider the accessibility of its users, who may range in age, race, gender, economic class, and ability.


Submit your project proposal in the form of:
– a headline
– a concept text in English (1,000–1,500 characters with spaces)
– a header image (high resolution, landscape format)
– a short bio in English (500 characters with spaces)
– a portfolio PDF (images, text, links)


For each call, the curator selects four project proposals, whose creators are rewarded with a four-week residency and 750 USD. All selected web residents are nominated for the production prize HASH by Solitude & ZKM which will be awarded on February 21st, 2020.


Call release: Sep 17, 2019
Applications: until Oct 18, 2019 (midnight)
Web Residencies: Nov 2019


Daphne Dragona is a curator and writer based in Berlin. Through her work, she engages with artistic practices, methodologies and pedagogies that challenge contemporary forms of power. Among her topics of interest have been: the controversies of connectivity, the promises of the commons, the challenges of artistic subversion, the instrumentalization of play, the problematics of care and empathy, and most recently the potential of kin-making technologies in the time of climate crisis. Dragona was part of the core curatorial team of transmediale from 2015 until 2019, developing the conference and workshop program of the festival. Articles of hers have been published in various books, journals, magazines, and exhibition catalogs by the likes of Springer, Sternberg Press, and Leonardo Electronic Almanac. Talks of hers have been hosted at Mapping Festival (Geneva), MoMa (New York), Hek (Basel), Arts in Society (London), Leuphana University (Lueneburg) and Goethe University (Frankfurt). Among her curated -or co-curated- projects are the exhibitions: Tomorrows, Fictions spéculatives pour l’avenir méditerranéen (Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, 2019), “…” an archeology of silence in the digital age (Aksioma, Ljubljana, 2017), New Babylon Revisited (Goethe Institut Athen, 2014), Afresh, a new generation of Greek artists (ΕΜSΤ, 2013), Data Bodies – Networked Portraits (Fundacion Telefonica & Alta Tecnologia Andina 2011), Mapping the Commons Athens (EMST, 2010), Homo Ludens Ludens (Laboral, 2008). She has been a member of several committees for conferences and festivals and most recently she was a jury member and mentor for the Fellowship for Greek Young Artists of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. She holds a PhD from the Faculty of Communication & Media Studies of the University of Athens.

Web Residencies

In 2016, Akademie Schloss Solitude launched the web residencies to encourage young talents of the international digital scene and artists from all disciplines dealing with web-based practices. ZKM has been program partner since 2017. For each call, the curator selects four project proposals whose creators receive a four-week residency and 750 USD.

Artists are invited to experiment with digital technologies and new art forms, and reflect on the topics set by the curators. Web residencies are carried out exclusively online, and the works are presented on

Artists and students of all disciplines as well as former or current Solitude fellows may apply. There is no age limit.

Learn more about the program.


Submit your content under this link. The deadline is October 18, 2019 (midnight).

Please write to is(at) if you have any question.