Call for Entries: Refamiliarization

31 Mar, 2021

Call for Entries: Refamiliarization

To enter, please fill in this form. Submissions are due May 31, 2021.

Introduced a little over a century ago, Viktor Shklovsky’s concept of defamiliarization has become the textbook method for interpreting art’s revolutionary potential. Invoking Marx, and facing a world beset by habitualization, automatism, and alienation, the Russian critic proclaims that art “exists so that one may recover the sensation of life.” At a time when the most quotidian habits have become strange, in part due to the technologies that mediate our everyday life, we propose thinking about how art can refamiliarize us to our contemporary moment.

More than just a critical framework, refamiliarization is a practice—it can materialize at the scale of the personal and familial or the collective and structural. To refamiliarize is to speculate upon a post-Covid future, one that obliges us to take stock of what, if anything, can be recovered and what must be recast or resisted. While the ongoing pandemic state of emergency has exaggerated and poignantly made manifest the many inequalities that have for years plagued our societies, our prefix-based provocation posits that, in order to effect a different world, we must defamiliarize as we return to the everyday routines and practices of post-pandemic life. The exhibition calls on participants to imagine and give form to new versions of the “familiar.”

Artworks should engage, thematically or materially, with how new media is implicated in the practice of refamiliarization. In particular, projects can consider the following:

  • Home and Habitat
  • The Public Sphere
  • Encounters - Mediated, Unmediated
  • Presence - Embodied, Virtual
  • Nonhuman Sensing

Artworks can take a range of media forms, such as:

  • Time-based media (film, video, animation, games, interactive, VR and AR)
  • Installation
  • Digitally-fabricated sculpture
  • Performance

The exhibition will be held in the fall of 2021 at Platform Artspace, an experimental indoor/outdoor gallery located on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. We acknowledge that this space is located in the territory of Huichin, the ancestral and unceded lands of Chochenyo speaking Ohlone peoples, specifically, the Confederated Villages of Lisjan.

Platform is ideal for artworks that thrive outside of traditional art spaces, take risks, and are participatory. The exhibition and the artspace particularly welcome BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and ability diverse perspectives on the theme of Refamiliarization. Given the uncertain nature of the ongoing pandemic and possible limits on gatherings, we encourage works that are capable of being experienced both in- person and virtually.

Refamiliarization is sponsored by the New Media Working Group, a graduate student-led affiliate of the Berkeley Center for New Media. The exhibition is co-curated by Justin Berner and Julia Irwin.

Logistical considerations:

  • We are looking for works that are complete or under development – documentation of the work will enhance the likelihood of acceptance into the show
  • Please consider whether your work would ideally be exhibited indoors or outdoors, and also if it could be exhibited outdoors
  • There is the opportunity to digitally fabricate a limited number of artworks at UC Berkeley facilities

Photos of the exhibition space:

To enter, please fill in this form. Submissions are due May 31, 2021.