Thoughtworks Arts

Improvising the Net(Work): Residency Open Call

The deadline for this call has passed and submissions are no longer being accepted. We are working carefully through submissions and applicants will be contacted by email.

Thoughtworks Arts, a global technology research lab, and CounterPulse, an experimental and interdisciplinary dance and performance space in San Francisco are partnering to launch a new artistic residency opportunity working with a customizable network on-site at CounterPulse’s facility in downtown San Francisco. The artist stipend will be $11,000.

The CounterPulse building from outside
CounterPulse’s neon sign lighting, Scott Finn, 2016

We seek an artist/technologist or collective working with the possibilities of a customizable network environment as material, concept, and collaborator, together with the creative community affiliated with CounterPulse. Currently, network topology is dominated by big tech/communication global conglomerates. What happens when an artist/creator(s) moves beyond established platforms, creating decentralized or never before imagined structures for building distributed yet connected environments? What is possible when the body, interconnectivity, visual and audio parameters, and liveness are brought together in new ways? Particular attention will be paid to creations that refrain from using readily available technologies and their vendors, and instead focus on putting the network back into the hands of artists free from the restraint of over mediated solution providers.

This residency will take place in collaboration with the CounterPulse artistic community, rooted in dance and movement practices with a strong legacy of improvisation. The lens of improvisation is often organized around scores (systems) built on collaboration, affirmation, and responsive spontaneity. Applicants do not need to be expert in computer network design or dance improvisation, but an understanding of these disciplines would enhance your application.

Thoughtworks Arts will mentor, facilitate and help foster, through weekly meetings and its wide reaching cohort of developers, the artistic and technical needs of the selected artist(s), as well as the expertise of its Directors.

CounterPulse will serve as the physical location of the network topology and as the liaison between the selected artist and the community of artists working and creating at CounterPulse. Support and resources from CounterPulse could, but do not necessarily need to include:

  • Access to their physical building and network infrastructure with a variety of studios and a black-box-theater
  • Use of all house equipment - full theatrical lighting rig, multiple projectors, custom built Meyer sound system, portable PA systems, see more here.
  • Connections to local transdisciplinary artist network - in particular local dance and movement-based artists working in improvisation, contemporary choreography, and social practice.
  • Public outreach and community engagement
  • Press and marketing campaigns
  • Planning/presenting live events in connection with central artwork

Residency Details

This sixteen week residency runs from September 27, 2021 to February 4, 2022 and comes with a stipend of $11,000, and assistance, if necessary, in supplying a letter of intent to any external funding agencies that might facilitate the residency.

Individuals who need to apply for a visa should be particularly sensitive to recent issues surrounding work visas in the United States, as well as restrictions due to Covid-19. Consult with your country’s authorities for assistance in crafting your application. The residency does not provide housing or work visas, and is for the artist only. It does not include family members. Residency may be executed completely remotely.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit a proposal using the form below before the application deadline of midnight July 7, 2021. Your proposal should tell us who you are, what your project idea is, and how you plan to implement it. It should also include the skills you have, and the skills and equipment you require for the project. Where there are skills required which you do not have or cannot supply, please let us know.

Applications Closed

The selected artist or artist group can be based anywhere in the world, and work either remotely or on-site at CounterPulse and at Thoughtworks offices in San Francisco.


  • June 1, 2021 - Open Call goes live
  • June 24, 2021 at 10am-11am PDT - [Info Session via Zoom]
  • July 7, 2021 - Proposal Deadline
  • July 26, 2021 - Finalists invited for interviews
  • August 2-13, 2021 - Finalist interviews
  • August 17, 2021 - Finalist Notification
  • September 7, 2021 Public Announcement
  • September 27th - Feb 4, 2022 - Residency Period
  • September 9-18, 2021 - Kick-off event as part of CounterPulse Festival, TBD
  • November 22-28 & Dec 20, 2021 - Jan 2, 2022 - Holiday Breaks (3 weeks)

About Thoughtworks Arts

Thoughtworks Arts runs programs incubating artist and technologist collaborations, empowering investigations into impacts of emerging technologies on industry, culture and society. Art and technology partnerships present a unique and powerful lens for engaging with technology. Art enables freedom to make large, cross-disciplinary conceptual and physical leaps across technical, scientific, industrial, creative and societal areas. The Thoughtworks Arts Residency program embeds artists full-time within the Thoughtworks global technology organization. The program includes logistical, financial, creative and technical support in the creation of a project proposed by the artist.

Thoughtworks Arts

About CounterPulse

CounterPulse has provided space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators, serving as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture for 30 years. CounterPulse serves dance, performance, and mixed-media artists and audiences, who tend to be younger and diverse in sexual-orientation, gender-representation, and ethnic backgrounds. In Spring of 2016, CounterPulse moved to a fully renovated facility in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco that includes a state-of-the-art black box theater, two studios, and a gallery space. The facility is an acclaimed architectural achievement, receiving the 2017 Inspiration Award from CONTRACT magazine.