Artificial Empathy: residency to explore the interconnectedness between new technologies and democracy

Gluon / European Digital Deal

GLUON is a platform promoting collaborations between art, science and technology. With GLUON, we are currently partners in a new European project Digital Deal. As part of this project, GLUON is launching an open call for one residency “Artificial Empathy”. Selected artists will have the unique opportunity to develop artistic projects for 9 months together with local experts to explore the deep interconnectedness between new technologies and democracy.

Applications can be submitted until 30 November 2023, 23h59 CET.


From 28 September to 30 November, artists can apply for 12 artist residencies as part of the European Digital Deal project. GLUON launches one open call for artists called Artificial Empathy. This highly collaborative residency will question and address the desirability and value of tools of control in the city of Brussels.

Challenge description

While there are real benefits to using surveillance technologies for public safety and security, their pervasiveness, intrusiveness, and susceptibility to error give rise to a number of fundamental rights concerns regarding gender and race biases and violations of the right to data protection and privacy. But what are these technologies? Why are they problematic? Why, among other things, do they make specific minority populations particularly vulnerable? What are the socio-political consequences of using algorithms that reduce citizens to a digital barcode and that make assumptions about your identity based on how you look, move and talk?

During this residency, we invite artists to investigate how surveillance tools can be used in alternative ways that stimulate affection and empathy. Emotion recognition has been framed by many as a natural next step in the evolution of AI-powered surveillance, leading to the integration of emotion recognition in places where biometric surveillance has already been implemented. Will the potential of AI systems lead to artificial empathy by creating machines that can sense and respond to human emotions? Overall is it desirable that emotions are machine-readable? Given the ambiguous nature of emotion and subjective life, do such technologies make sense? Artificial Empathy is not merely an artistic pursuit but a societal imperative for, in the digital city, the line between surveillance and emancipation is becoming as thin as a whisper.


During the residency, the artist will be supported by a group of local and international experts from the field of artificial intelligence, social sciences, human rights and the Arts. The main residency partner is Radix, a Brussels- based company specialising in the design and development of human-centred AI solutions. The artist is also supported by the 1) Knowledge Centre Data & Society offering strong expertise on legal, ethical and societal aspects of artificial intelligence and data-driven applications and 2) Liga voor Mensenrechten (Human Right League), a non-for-profit human rights organisation that seeks to inspire policy and raise awareness about human rights.

What do we offer?

The selected artists will receive a 25.000 EUR grant to complete their project, mentorship through an incubation programme, and the chance to show their work at Ars Electronica Festival, Onassis Cultural Center in Greece, and Laboral among many other locations. 


28 September 2023, 10 AM CET Open Call Launch
30 November 2023, 23:59 CET Submissions Deadline
January 2024Winners Announcement
8-12 April 2024Residency Kick-Off Event in Budapest, Hungary & Linz, Austria
April – December 2024Residency

How to apply?

Check out the information and documents on this page.

More information