Open Culture: Participatory Practices in Art & Science 16-25 May 2014, Toronto

In May 2014, Subtle Technologies will be holding its 17th annual festival in Toronto. Our symposium, performances, workshops, screenings, exhibitions and networking sessions provide a forum to explore ideas and pose questions at the intersection of art, science and technology. Subtle Technologies is known internationally for presenting artists and scientists whose work is at the leading edge of their respective disciplines.

The theme for 2014 is “Open Culture”. The festival will celebrate the ways artists and scientists are creating and making use of tools and techniques to harness the collective power, knowledge and creativity of the citizen. Bringing together artists and scientists who are working in these domains will open streams of dialogue leading to increased collaboration between artists and scientists who are interested in contributions of an engaged public. We are currently accepting submissions by artists, curators and scientists on the ideas presented below as well as others that fall under the umbrella of participatory culture.

One of the topics we would like to explore is citizen science. There are numerous current examples, such as “SETI at Home”, EyeWire, Galaxy Zoo and foldit. These projects allow the public to contribute to large online science endeavours. Citizen science projects are not without controversy. The recently announced project uBiome is a crowd-sourced project that invites volunteers to have the makeup of microbes on their body analyzed. They are facing a large outcry from ethicists on the ethics and privacy issues that their project to date hasn’t addressed. We welcome submissions that explore the role of citizen science, benefits, pitfalls, mechanisms, philosophy and ethics surrounding non-scientists involved in scientific research.

Another related movement in contemporary science is open science. This concept suggests that scientists share their data as quickly as possible, allowing others to benefit from and make use of their research. “Open notebook science” implies the dissemination of both raw and processed scientific data as it is captured. We would like to invite practitioners, advocates and critics of open science to contribute submissions to our festival.