The SETI Institute’s Artist in Residence Program Charter 2013
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” Carl Sagan
The Mission of The SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe . The Artist in Residence program facilitates cross-disciplinary artistic expression in order to further research these same goals. We encourage contemporary artistic processes that allow us all to experience life on this planet and beyond in new ways.
Senior Astronomer Seth Shostak offers this: SETI Institute’s research is motivated by our primal interest in other life and other beings. It's a very human endeavor. And so is art, after all it's one of the things that distinguishes us from every other life form on this planet. Art is the one thing that's unique about our world. The one thing that ET doesn't already have. Well, she may have art, but not our kind of art! There's a natural synchrony here.
The SETI Institute AIR program seeks to foster a cross pollination of ideas between artists and scientists such that these disciplines may influence each other through personal interaction and the shared adoption of new technologies. Artists from any nation and working in any form of media will be considered for these positions. Several artist-scientist collaborations will be chosen for each two year term. Selection will be biased toward those employing new media and technology or those whose work exhibits a direct relationship to the contemporary scientific endeavors of SETI Institute researchers.
Artists working in the following fields, though not limited to these, will be considered equally: robotics, rocketry, electronic music, theater and dance, bio-arts, digital and data-arts, computational arts, climate based works, film and photography, philosophy, poetry, kinetic or land based sculpture, geophysical and geological based works, planetary or astronomical based works.
The SETI Institute is located in the heart of the Silicon Valley and has the unique advantage of strong relationships with NASA Ames Research Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Southern California, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, Google, TED, The California Academy of Sciences, The Computer History Museum and the greater scientific community including numerous institutions around the world.
AIR program outreach will include public colloquia at the Institute, exhibitions at major cultural institutions, social media, web, TV and radio networking. This initiative also aspires to encourage youth to explore the exciting possibilities emerging at the nexus of art, technology and the sciences.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE POSITION?
The SETI Institute AIR position provides office work space, phone, internet, communal space, access to scientists, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for grant eligibility, an incredible affiliation, coffee and doughnuts, smiles. The SETI Institute does not provide living space or funding for artists. SETI Institute AIR recipients must establish their own living situation and generate their own working capital. In the cases of artists applying for grants under the auspices of the Institute, funds received are subject to the same indirect costs as scientific grants, with the balance of the funds going directly toward the artist’s work without stipulations. AIR terms are typically two years. Artists may defer their term for 18 months in order to apply for grants.
WHAT ARE THE RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS?
The SETI Institute AIR position is available for mid-career artists. Selection will be made by a group of Institute researchers and affiliated art curators and educators. Highest priority will be given to artists who have strong concepts as set out in the charter and who have realistic opportunities to secure funding. This role comes with some public visibility, the SETI Institute AIRs are by default SETI Institute ambassadors, and so the public persona of the artists will be considered.