The MayDay Collection – Open Call for a Juried Exhibition
Digital Art & NFT Auction to promote Workers’ Rights Worldwide
May 1-10, 2023
In light of the upcoming International Labor Day, May 1, this Open Call invites international artists, scholars, and activists whose work promotes the rights of workers worldwide to submit proposals for the juried exhibition titled “The MayDay Collection.” The exhibition will feature digital hard hat-inspired projects, which will be exhibited at MIT’s Art, Culture, and Technology Program in Cambridge, US from May 15-June 30, 2023, and then auctioned online as an NFT collection.
The objective of this exhibition is to shed light on labor concerns in various contexts: from the exploitation of migrant labor, the lacking regulations of digital labor in the creative sector, unfair labor practices in cultural and educational institutions, the gender pay gap, various power dynamics in the art world, considerations of workers’ mental health, safety concerns of workers in man-made and natural disasters, as well as job safety concerns in light of the rapid development of AI and digital technologies, among other pressing issues. The auction of this collection is aimed at inciting a wider discussion about the value of socially and politically engaged art. What does it mean to sell and buy a work of activist art? How does the value of politically engaged art change once the artwork is purchased, for example, or as a speculative investment? Does it matter where are such artworks exhibited, for example, as a decorative product? Does it matter how the income from sales of such artworks is spent? The exhibition participants will be asked to vote on how and to what end should the profits from this auction be distributed.
Digital template-artworks will be provided for those who wish to participate but have no visual or technical skills. Eligible submissions include static images, animations, or short videos (5-sec max, created to be played in a loop). You may submit up to 5 projects for consideration (separate form submission is required for each project). Selected participants will be notified by May 15, 2023.
How to participate:
- REGISTER & SUBMIT ARTWORK PROPOSAL: Register your entry using this form. You can either use a digital glass helmet template provided by the exhibition (by May 1st) or you can choose to create your own hard hat-inspired digital artwork (by May 10th). If you would like to copy or appropriate Azra Aksamija’s glass helmet project (Silk Road Works, 2021) or her ceramic helmet (Wanderjahre #1, 2014) for the purpose of this exhibition, you are encouraged and given permission to do so.
- DESCRIPTION: Create a title for your submission and write a 1-2 sentence description (ca. 50-80 words) outlining a specific concern about labor rights that you would like to highlight in this MayDay Collection. You can cite a specific example of a labor rights infringement, transcribe a quote, write a protest message, or something poetic.
- CONSENT TO CREDITS: The authorship of your submission in this collection will be registered in your name, regardless of whether you used the digital glass helmet template provided by Azra Aksamija or your own creation. Please list all collaborators and assistants involved in the creation of your project. The overall MayDay Collection will be credited as a participatory artwork that takes the form of an exhibition curated by Azra Aksamija.
- VOTE ON INCOME DISTRIBUTION: Please indicate how you think the income generated from this auction’s sale should be distributed.
- Art is my source of income. I need the income generated from this exhibition to help me survive as an artist.
- The income should be used to celebrate the labor of exhibition participants. Treat them to a vacation.
- The funds should be used to support emerging artists through a tuition fellowship or project stipend.
- Support a specific person affected by labor rights infringement whose life could be positively changed by receiving this income.
- Support a non-profit organization concerned with labor rights. Help them cover their legal bills.
- Other suggestions?