Open Call Details

René Magritte, La reproduction interdite, 1937. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo: Studio Tromp


Open from 
4th June 2019, 11:00am CEST to 1st July 2019, 11:00pm CEST
Results by 
30th September
human enhancement
regenerative medicine
mental conditions

What is real, and how are you sure it is so? How can you determine which experiences are "real" if they are digital, virtual or influenced by the chemistry and architecture of your brain? Scientific research uncovers ways that our minds and senses conspire to produce gaps between the actual and the perceived. How do we navigate these blind spots, which can be exploited by trickery like fake news, but then embraced willingly to escape reality, for pleasure in fantasy? And is our concept of the real transformed by biomedical science, which brings us new understanding of mental conditions like synesthesia, dementia, or phenomena like the placebo effect?

Science Gallery Rotterdam invites artists, designers, and researchers to explore how our concept of “the real” is destabilized by science and technology by proposing projects to be part of its first exhibition on site at Erasmus MC. The theme (UN)REAL addresses the questions above and also seeks to link them to the ongoing activity and cutting-edge research in biomedical science at the university medical center. Some of the topics and questions relevant to the theme include:

  • At what point does regenerative growth or human enhancement make an organ, limb, or body “fake”?
  • What does research into mind-altering diseases and experiences suggest about our everyday perceptions?
  • Are phantom limbs or optical illusions unique forms of neurological creativity, or are they coping mechanisms, or something else entirely?
  • Can phenomena such as lucid dreaming or the use of virtual reality result in meaningful experiences?

Your proposal could be to present a new or existing artwork, performance, workshop, research project, or other activity. Consider submitting ideas with interactive or participatory elements and note that a central goal of Science Gallery Rotterdam is to produce content that engages with 15–25 year-olds in the local community. There is both tension and creative possibility occupying the space between the real and unreal, so you are welcome to surprise us with proposals on topics outside of those listed as well. You might look to the history of art, including Surrealism, whose practitioners were fascinated by medical conditions, misperceptions, and dreaming.

Please consider the context of the exhibition: the public space of Erasmus MC, which features wide open areas, natural light and high ceilings (15 to 20 meters). More than 30.000 people per week on average move through the space for the exhibition, including patients, visitors, employees, and medical students. For an impression of the building, and its garden atrium see:, , or

Dates for Exhibition and Programming:
4 October – 20 December 2019

Key words:
genetics, illusion, surrealism, human enhancement, regenerative medicine, mental conditions, misperception

Funding between 1.000 and 4.000 euro may be available, including all artist fees, materials, equipment, and shipping. Please note projects of larger scale may be considered if additional partners and funding can be secured. Five grants will be made available for proposals from the Rotterdam community.

Curatorial team and advisors:

  • William Myers, Curator, author of Bioart and Biodesign
  • Ove Lucas, Director CBK, Rotterdam
  • Dr. Paul van de Laar, General Director, Museum Rotterdam
  • Dr. Fred Balvert, Head of Congress Agency, Erasmus MC
  • Dr. Joyce Lebbink, Associate Professor, Erasmus MC
  • Sanne Kloosterboer, PhD Candidate, Clinical Pharmacology, Erasmus MC

If your proposal is selected, we will urge you to participate at least in one of the workshops on site with artists, designers, scientists, and young people from Rotterdam. Schedule TBD.

Please click the “Click here to apply” button above to submit your proposal. If you have any questions about the open call, please submit your query using the dialogue box below.


How big is the exhibition space?
The open public areas of Erasmus MC dedicated for the pop-up installation is approximately 350 square meters, with ceiling heights between 15 and 20 meters.

How many projects will be included?
In total between 10-12 proposals will be accepted and produced for the exhibition, with the potential for a further 10-20 collaborations, talks, debates, and performances possible for the live program.  


What kind of projects are accepted?
Science Gallery’s approach is transdisciplinary so we accept projects from diverse disciplines that could include video, poetry, craft, sound, imagery, sculpture, web-based work, socially engaged work, live experimentation, sharing of data from social science, medical, or natural science research – essentially we are not format-prescriptive!

Who can apply? 
Anyone. There are no restrictions on age, education level, or any other factor.

Can individuals or groups and collaborations apply?
We welcome submissions of interest from individuals, groups, collaborative projects and productions working internationally. We would also appreciate hearing from groups currently under-represented within the arts and sciences, groups working locally, and young people.

When will I get an answer?
Science Gallery Rotterdam will reach out to selected applicants to discuss the feasibility of their proposals by the end of August 2019.



Is this open to artists living in other countries? And if yes, in case of selection, will, they be provided with travel to and from Netherland and accommodation there?

Thanks for asking. Yes! You are welcome to propose these costs are covered in your application. 

Hello! Is there more information about the live program?

I would like to submit a performative installation which requires audience guidance, and perform it for a few days or maximum a week. Shall I suggest dates in the application?

How much space could one installation take? Is it possible to use other spaces nearby in case of need?


Thank you for your question and interest. The live program is still being formed, so there's not new information to share. You can certainly propose a live installation and dates for teh performances. There is a large amount of space, in the public thoroughfare of the Erasmus MC. 



is it possible to submit 2 projects?

Yes, feel free. You might have to make a separate login/password in this system to submit two. 

Thanks for your question. I think it is limited by size, and not number of images. But best to keep it to four or fewer, unless absolutely necessary. If the system is not allowing you to upload essential images, please mention it in the application when submitting. We will find a way to receive them from you via email or a cloud storage link. Good luck!