Call for Proposals: Proxy Festival

A media festival presented by the 2020-21 The Only Space is Here working group.


By request, we've extended our submission deadline by one week. See updated dates below.

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We are inviting you to submit proposals for the first (and hopefully last) Proxy Festival—an online event exploring our always-online moment and the possibilities that networked experience can offer for the creation of new forms of cultural practice, of embodiment, of place-making, and of experimentation with social conventions.


As institutions around the world have pivoted to offer online programming in response to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that virtual substitutes for “real” experiences have become the default option for cultural engagement. Virtual exhibitions, Zoom webinars, and proxy gallery visits are meant to be the next best thing to “being there.” These forms of experience and engagement currently offer the only practical way of encountering ideas, art, and other people safely. However, they distract us from the reality that all of these forms are creating new genres, new modes of sociality, and new spaces.


What are the politics of the proxy at this moment? What does it mean to be provided with a surrogate body (human or otherwise) that one can utilize to visit a site remotely? How can we rethink the proxy visit as a specific and singular form of embodiment or experience in itself rather than as a substitute for in-person encounters? What sorts of spaces are we creating online and how will these new forms change the way we think about space, place, and site once life returns to something resembling the old normal?


The festival is seeking calls for proposals for “proxy visits” that will be offered via video conferencing. We are interested in creative, weird proposals for visits that couldn’t take place anywhere but on a screen. A visit to a slide of bacteria seen through a microscope, a journey through a dog park from the perspective of a pet, a tour of a location only accessible to the guide, a visit to an environment that requires mediation (via underwater camera, for example). We are less interested in the kinds of experiences that are already on offer—studio visits, gallery tours, etc.


  • The changing status and conditions of labour given the rise of online tours and development of virtual exhibitions

  • The (im)materiality of the body in the age of video conferencing.

  • The construction or problematization of intimacy in networked space.

  • Shifting understandings of what constitutes community IRL vs online.

  • Explorations of how embodied difference is mediated—ie what is afforded and what is denied to queer, trans, or disabled bodies?

  • The notions of site and place in a screen-based environment.


Submission Details

Proposals should be no more than 250 words in length. Selected projects will be presented at the Proxy Visit Festival, a one-day event that will occur in two sessions. Proxy visits will be limited to 20 minutes in length, but projects that require longer durations may be considered for presentation outside of the festival meeting times. Presenters will receive an honorarium.

Send your submissions to


Important Dates


Submission deadline: April 23, 2021

Successful applicants notified: April 26, 2021

Festival date: May 14, 2021

More about this Working Group

See Research for a description of this group's activities and list of members.