A virtual Kunsthalle & Open Call 2022

Cultural Diplomacy & Artistic Freedom

The war in Ukraine has devastating consequences, destroys livelihoods and attempts to destroy the cultural identity of Ukraine and its citizens. These dramatic and frightening developments in the cultural region of Eastern Europe provide an urgent reason to address the situation of cultural workers and artists. Together with the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and in the spirit of the already established prize for “Digital Humanism”, we are inviting artists, creatives, and activists from the Ukraine and beyond who are at risk politically and do not have the human right of freedom of speech, to submit their works and projects.

Extended Submission deadline: July 3, 2022


All submitted projects are part of the Ars Electronica Festival 2022 and will be presented online. Selected winners are highlighted in curated exhibitions in a virtual Kunsthalle and through curated lectures live-streamed on the Ars Electronica Festival TV Channel. We offer a digital, virtual space which, anonymised or personalised, should be an integral place of expression and documentation of the freedom of artistic thought and expression. This digital space should be understood as a place of action, expression, and exchange for all those creative artists whose life situation does not allow them to express themselves freely. It should furthermore be a documentation space and memorial for what motivates artists in such drastic situations. A space that is meant to symbolise the fact that even massive political or military influence does not, cannot and must not hinder the critical reflective power of artists.

This initiative is aimed at creatives from the Ukraine and beyond to provide concrete financial support and visibility artists living in oppressed political systems. But it also wants to take the urgency of the drastic Ukrainian situation as a starting point to ask the global question of where else political influence and aggression are preventing artists from taking their role for and in society.

The State of the ART(ist) Call is looking for works, actions, projects and communal activities that locate themselves at the intersection of human rights and the arts. We want to create a platform and visibility for artists and creatives who are at risk politically and fleeing oppression and war globally. The open call is dedicated to supporting persecuted art practitioners and including them in our online “Action and Documentation Space”.

Artists, creatives, curators, writers, critics, scientists, entrepreneurs, associations, public institutions, NGOs, or private enterprises (not limited to), no matter if individuals or groups, can enter the open call. Submission can be made either personalized or anonymously, but we require one contact email address. Commercial or propaganda projects are not eligible for the competition.

The focus is on the message and activity rather than on the tools, materials used to express it.

Project that can be submitted (for example and not exclusively):

  • social software
  • artistic and technological collaborative projects
  • user—generated content & metadata
  • crowdsourcing & co-creation
  • citizen involvement / citizen journalism
  • empowerment / resistance
  • citizen-countersurveillance
  • advocacy projects
  • smart citizen projects
  • open data- / open government-projects
  • (e)Rights / (e)Democracy / (e)Governance / public services
  • AI, Machine Learning
  • pop-up grass-roots movements (including initiatives that are no longer active)
  • Works in public places
  • (micro)performances
  • and everything we don’t have in mind…

Benefits for the Submitters

  • An international board of experts, consisting of renowned personalities from the international media art and curatorial world, representing international institutions, will not only make a qualitative selection, but also provide the social contact opportunities to advance the careers of the artists.
  • The 15 winning projects will be presented in the virtual Kunsthalle, curated by the invited experts. All other works will be presented on the website of Ars Electronica, linked to the archive. The virtual Kunsthalle, an online documentation and action space is freely accessible during the festival and beyond, inviting international experts to explore the works.
  • The Festival TV Channel will highlight the winners of the open call. Curated lectures and talks, artistic presentations and surprising interventions will be live-streamed through the channel and freely accessible online via the festival website and online exhibition space.
  • The curators as well as the selected artists are invited to visit us in Linz and to actively participate in the festival program. The ones that cannot join us will be part of the program through hybrid and digital media. Experienced moderators will guide through the program.

Any questions?

If the answers on our FAQ page are not sufficient, feel free to contact us at stateoftheartist@ars.electronica.art!


The State of ART(ist) ist a collaborative project between the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and Ars Electronica. Project Conception: Simon Mraz