SMTH in collaboration with MMMAD Festival launch the III International Open Call for Digital Artists under the theme ‘From micro to macro and back’. The first edition, launched in 2021, looked for digital artworks that reflected on landscape in the post-digital era, the second edition was focused on the shopping centre as a cultural space and, in this third edition, we invite artists, creators and digital researchers to imagine, speculate and build critical narratives around scales that defy the human eye. En esta edición contamos con la colaboración de los centros Plenilunio (MADRID), La Torre Outlet (ZARAGOZA), Miramar (MÁLAGA), Fan Mallorca (PALMA DE MALLORCA) y Max Center (BILBAO). La convocatoria estará abierta del 5 October to 27 November 2023. A jury of experts composed of the Mexican curator Ana Drucker, the Brazilian artist Gabriel Massan and the Swiss artist Dirk Koy will select the five best works, which will receive a prize of 1.500,00€ and will be exhibited on the screens of the shopping centres from 11 January to 11 April 2024.

Traditionally, art has been primarily oriented towards things that can be grasped with the natural eye, while science has been using instruments and tools since the 16th century to reach previously 'invisible' questions of the microcosm and macrocosm. Today, in the digital age, artists increasingly work with the same tools, methods and programmes as science. [1] Artists and scientists are often following common paths: from exploration to research, followed by production, delivery and sharing with their communities and broad society. [2]

Digital art is a result of this 'technification', and therefore inseparable from the tools that construct it. From the 0s and 1s of binary language to 3D creation programmes, passing through physics simulators, rendering programmes or programming languages. A discipline with its own logic in which the barriers between art, science and technology are diluted.

In 1977 Ray and Charles Eames published 'Powers of Ten', a film about the relative size of things in the universe [3]. It begins with a couple enjoying a picnic on a sunny October afternoon in Chicago. For the next minutes, the camera transports in a perfectly vertical path to the far reaches of the known universe, back down to the scene of domestic tranquillity where it began and across the skin of its protagonists down to the atomic scale. All this in a seemingly continuous and totally captivating shot. A sequence of more or less abstract images that takes us from the macro to the micro, passing through the domestic.

The simplicity of the work allows the spectator to travel seamlessly from the universal to the molecular scale, through graphics that are as abstract as they are realistic, allowing us to understand, in just a few minutes, an incommensurate number of scientific and technological investigations.

Art plays a key role in society, representing the complex to help us understand it. In the field of digital art, many artists are helping us understand this new hybrid world in which we live.

In the series 'Intertidal Samples' by Entangled Others, an art collective formed by Sofia Crespo and Feileacan McCormick, the artists approach the microscopic scale by speculating on the inner universes in water droplets. They explain 'the extent of what we study is beyond our understanding, yet when we examine even a tiny drop of water, we uncover thriving communities of life and interconnections. It is easy to see each drop as a self-contained world, bounded by surface tension. However, given the opportunity, even the smallest of these ecosystems will blend with other bodies of liquid, altering the life forms and composition within' [4].

In this international open call for digital artists we are looking for works that represent the micro, the macro and/or both. An analytical and critical look at the scales that go beyond us, which, although small and imperceptible or large and impossible to glimpse in their totality, we understand as important. At a time of ecological urgency and digital technological revolution, we take advantage of this time to observe what surrounds us. Using new media and tools to help us imagine, speculate and construct critical narratives around scales that defy the human eye. This is an opportunity for artists, creators and researchers to share their work from the micro to the macro and back.

[1] Renaissance 3.0, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, 2023 

[2] Arts at CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research, 2011 

[3] Powers of Ten™, Ray y Charles Eames, 1977

[4] Intertidal Samples, Entangled Others, 2023

'Unbounded on a bounded domain', Gabriel massan

In each edition of the open call we commission a digital artist to create a video work that encapsulates its theme. On this occasion, Brazilian artist Gabriel Massan has been invited to interpret the text, adapting a fragment of their work 'Unbonded On A Bonded Domain'.

‘Unbonded On A Bonded Domain’developed during an online residency at FACT (London, 2023), renders the artist's emotional experience as its raw material. The work takes cues from writer and academic Saidiya Hartman’s notion of ‘Critical Fabulation,’ to explore a virtual ecosystem untethered both from their own identity and the physical and conceptual limitations of the human body, performing speculative scenarios to investigate how queer culture, systemic violence, and virtual identities can help us map out the material world and our relationships with it. Trapped in a Beckettian back-and-forth of existential angst, a group of digital entities questions the nature of their environment and place within it.

Ana Drucker (Mexico, 1991) is situated between her curatorial and artistic practice, focusing on visual and digital art. She is co-founder of SSUAVE, an artist-run space in Barcelona, focused on art production and offering a programme of creative workshops for diverse audiences. She has worked as a visual curator for the MIRA festival in Barcelona and Berlin and as a freelance curator for different organisations such as IDEAL, Sumario, MONOM among others. In 2023 she started as a visual producer for Production Club, a creative studio dedicated to the development of audiovisual events. As an artist her work has been exhibited in several festivals and galleries in Mexico and Barcelona such as Maroma Galería, Casa Tibet, Imagin Café, Miscelánea, Arts Santa Mónica, Festival Loom, La Puntual, Pumarejo, among others.

Dirk Koy (Switzerland, 1977) is an artist who investigates the interface between reality and virtuality, searching for the pictorial component in the digital context. Experimentation plays a fundamental role in his work, inspired by nature, architecture and spatiality. In his work he uses different technologies such as drones, 2D and 3D animation, photogrammetry, augmented reality or virtual reality to create moving digital images. His work has been exhibited, among others, at the Art Center Nabi in Seoul, at the HeK (House of Electronic Arts) in Basel, "Supernova" festival in Denver or FILE Festival in São Paulo. In 2019, Dirk Koy received the Basel Media Art Prize for the work "ground" and in 2022 the work "Intersect" won the Animation Off-Limits prize at the Annecy Animation Film Festival.

Gabriel Massan (Brasil, 1996) is a Berlin-based artist renowned for employing 'fictional archaeology' to craft immersive worlds. Utilizing 3D animation, game engines, digital sculpture, and interactive installations, Massan's work scrutinizes inequality within the Latin American context. Selected residencies and awards include the Arts Explora Program supported by Cité Internationale Des Arts (2023), Dazed 100 (2022), Circa x Dazed (2021), Instituto Moreira Salles (2020), and ETOPIA – Center for Art & Technology (2019). They have created significant commissions with Serpentine Arts Technologies (2022-3), Bangkok Biennale (2022), The Photographers’ Gallery (2022), and X Museum (2022). Massan has presented talks and conversations at institutions including La Biennale di Venezia, Art Basel Miami, DLD Conference, University College London, University Of The Arts, Royal College Of Arts, and Institut Français.

The call opened on 5 October 2023 and closed on 27 November 2023 (GMT+1). A total of 165 proposals were received,of which 83 were accepted as they fulfilled all the requirements of the call. The jury members, composed of Ana Drucker, Dirk Koy, Gabriel Massa and an institutional vote (composed of one representative from SMTH and one from MMMAD), evaluated the works received independently. On 11 December at 17:00 (GMT+1), meeting telematically, the different evaluations were discussed and the following 10 finalists were selected (in alphabetical order):
  1. Alvsmonster (Álvaro Ruiz), España
  2. Annan Shao, China
  3. Cristobal Ascencio Ramos, Mexico
  4. Elina Zazulia, Rusia
  5. Franco Palioff, Argentina
  6. Gabriel KÖI & Sabato Visconti, Brasil
  7. JoãoPedroOliveira, Portugal
  8. Mala Creative: Alexey Gnedenko, Timur Tkachenko, Ucrania
  9. Maria Orciuoli, Italia
  10. Roxi Basa (Roxane Diamand), Francia

The jury highlighted the quality and heterogeneity of these 10 finalists, deciding after a round of debate to award the five prizes and exhibition to the following 5 works:
  1. ‘Customised New Routine’ de Annan Shao (China)
  2. ‘MOTHERBOARD’deGabrielKÖI&SabatoVisconti (Brasil)
  3. ‘Threads’ de Franco Palioff (Argentina)
  4. ‘Lasfloresmuerendosveces’deCristobalAscencioRamos (Mexico)
  5. ‘Vegemeral’ de Elina Zazulia (Rusia)

These works have been selected for their high artistic quality, seeking heterogeneity of techniques and highlighting the multiplicity of conceptual lines within the theme of the call. Each selected artist will receive a prize of €1,500 (taxes not included) and their work will be part of the exhibition 'From micro to macro and back' from 11 January to 11 April 2024.


“Customised New Routines” by Annan Shao is a digital fable that discusses how individuals deal with the privileges they have as intelligent beings. The story is about a minor character who, after gaining the ability to modify things, goes from exploring the ability to losing control of it, and ultimately to a cycle where the individual's existence and the internal creative motivation transform into each other. People like things when they are partly familiar and partly not, mostly out of a fantasy of the satisfaction of the derivation of their own existence.

The Customised New Routine observes this unreasonable human desire for development that meets expectations in an open virtual time and space. Rather than critiquing the phenomenon, it frees the individual's perspective from the instinct- driven singularity in the real world. Separated by a sub- dimensional boundary, it is an experience that perhaps allows us to reach more clearly into the intrinsic that drives our action.


“Motherboard” by Gabriel KÖI & Sabato Visconti is an experimental film that dives into the intersection of technology and consciousness, exploring the subtle boundary between the human and the digital. In this journey within the circuit, reality blends with the digital, challenging the understanding of existence, while the contrast of the human intertwines with the artificial, echoing the cry of this new consciousness.


“Threads” by Franco Palioff is an experimental video of generative and fractal geometry. I was inspired by the interconnection of events in the present day, seen in the first three scenes that are then shown interconnected in a complex network that alludes to a causal information system.


“Las Flores mueren dos veces” by Cristobal Ascencio Ramos is a project that explores a parent-child relationship filled with loss, silence, death, life, and reconciliation. My father died when I was 15, but I was not told it was a suicide until I turned 30. Margarito, a gardener by profession, wrote a farewell letter in which he wrote about plants and said: "Forgive me and communicate with me.

In 2021, I returned to Mexico to look for the plants that my father grew and that were still alive. As I visited the gardens, I started to become aware of all that he left behind. Each garden reminded me of how much my father and his death had impacted the lives of those who knew him. I began to think about the relationship between nature and memory, and how it can serve as an emotional link between the past and the present. These plants are somehow part of my father's living memory and a tangible manifestation of the mark he left behind.

To find the plants, I visited some gardens where my father collaborated, a ranch where he produced plants, and the homes of his closest friends. As I wandered through the gardens, I fearfully tried to enter into my father's memory and understand why he decided to stop living. Through the people close to him, and his plants, I came to understand that the idea of my search was useless and that there was no point in looking for a reason.

None of us who stayed behind came to understand suicide. Plants, on the other hand, might understand it. When a plant finds itself in a hostile environment, such as nutrient-poor soil or lack of water, it may decide to activate a defense mechanism that leads to its death. In doing so, the plant releases a large amount of nutrients into the soil that other plants will use for growth and survival. This, which may seem like an act of desperation, for them is simply another strategy to ensure that life goes on in the best possible way.


“Vegemeral” by Elina Zazulia offers a distinctive perspective on the dynamic and vibrant essence of plant life. By fluidly integrating visual elements generated through neural networks, it captures the diverse beauty of plant existence at different scales, delving into usually elusive realms for human perception.

Explores the ephemeral — the vegetal, a captivating fusion of fleeting botanical movements that develop through the lens of artificial intelligence technology. By creating a digital essence, the artist invites us to contemplate the elements of the environment from a unprecedented perspective, highlighting the elusive mobility that escapes the human eye in what appears to be static. This work is part of a series of projects in which (non)human corporality is explored through machine learning.