What if? featured on FWF’s scilog

We are happy to be featured as Project of the Week on scilog, the online-publication of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

Every week, scilog features an exemplary project funded by the FWF. The presentations shed light on scientific questions and report on recent insights gained in basic research. (FWF)

The FWF is our funding partner, without which we would not exist. Their mission statement: “we strengthen science and the humanities in Austria.”

In their article entitled Social Media in the Service of Art, the FWF touches on Barbara’s “Read me” installation and the #WhatIfDrone call for entries in order to show how our project is developing, and how this helps participatory art happen. Discussing how What if? involves a young audience in the participatory art creation process, the article takes community member Gloria Guns as a case study and follows her interaction with us, especially from the perspective of her participation in the “Read me” installation by Barbara. Gloria is in our target audience, and we get a closer look at how a young, creatively inclined person can interact with us.

Throughout the What if? project, we have been exploring how social media can help us engage with a new audience. This is why the topic of identity is so important to us: through this lens, we can connect to you and bring out your creativity in a way that is relevant not only for your self-expression, but also for us in terms of our research (more on this below). We’re very proud to say that since the start of the project in February 2014, our network has grown to more than 900 individuals.

We’re so glad to see how far What if? has developed with your help. The article mentions our 2014 performance at European Researchers’ Night entitled What if we had wings?, where we featured community contributions of various texts and built these into the multimedia of Barbara’s performance. We are developing the final performance in a similar manner, using your contributions as a foundation for our final art work.

Meanwhile, we are especially excited to develop the installation “Read me” further. As the article mentions, we can personalize it upon request for various community members, using the individual’s portrait, chosen texts, and sounds to create an overall impression that reflects the person’s identity.

Another aspect of What if? that is especially exciting is how the project has grown internationally and has reached more than a hundred countries and even very remote areas worldwide, such as the Canadian Arctic, where Gloria was based.

Finally, the angle of art research is important. The creative work that happens through What if? is also the foundation for gathering knowledge about how to make art more accessible, and, as the article states, “challenges an academic approach.” This means we are finding new ways of interacting with you that go beyond the usual and accepted manner of performer-audience interaction. And you’ve been helping us get there.

You can read the article at this link.

Upcoming performances in the framework of what if?

On December 4, Barbara will perform an excerpt from the What if? performance for violin, multimedia and electronics, entitled “Slices of Life: Urban Woman.” This performance takes place in the context of the Award of Excellence, given by the Austrian Ministry for Science and Research, in Vienna, Austria.


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