The Feeling Machine

Collective creation and reflection with youngsters on digital transformation

Between March and April 2024, “A Feeling Machine” residency took place at Etopia (Zaragoza). This project, involving participatory creation and research with youngsters, was developed by Mayte Gómez and Carlos Alcántara, winners of the call for digital artists organized by the Fundación Zaragoza Ciudad del Conocimiento (FZC), along with their European partners from the FREEYOU NEXT project. With their proposal, the two artists invite reflection on the implications of digital transformation in how those born into technology communicate, interact, create and consume.

During their residency, Mayte and Carlos held workshops with over 150 students and young people from eight educational and social centres in Zaragoza. In these sessions, they combined surveys about feelings generated in the digital environment with artistic creation exercises that subverted the typical use of mobile phones. Through a series of mini games played via WhatsApp, the participants produced collective artistic content: the images and texts created by one group formed the basis for the next group to create new verses and images, and so on.

Mayte and Carlos’ project will culminate in an audiovisual installation that will feature a video art piece created from the material produced by the young participants, along with an interactive visualization of the survey results in a video game format. The installation will be showcased at Etopia (Zaragoza) in autumn 2024 and at the MEET Digital Culture Center (Milan), along with works from the other two artists of the FREEYOU NEXT open call. 

“A Feeling Machine” is developed within the FREEYOU NEXT project (Jan. 2023 – Dec. 2024), implemented by FZC (Spain), MEET, Dataninja (Italy), INOVA+ (Portugal) and GLUON (Belgium), as part of the European Commission’s Media Literacy for All program (Creative Europe). The FREEYOU consortium works on designing innovative methodologies and resources for media and data literacy. This process draws from the contributions of the three artistic projects selected to conceive inspiring tools and to foster co-creation processes with youngsters.

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