OPEN CALL: Science Gallery Dublin is seeking proposals for up to 20 works for FAKE, a free exhibition that asks if life is better when we embrace the artificial. Deadline for applications is 19th September, 17:00 Dublin time.

About the exhibition

From fake meat to fake emotions, if faking it gets the job done, who cares?

In both the natural world and human society, faking, mimicking, and copying can be a reliable strategy for success. When the focus is on how things appear, a fake may be just as valuable as the real thing. But what about faking taste, emotions, chemical signatures, facts and trademarks? Have patents, politics, and art given copying a bad name?

Fake designer handbags attract customers while fake eyes on insects scare off potential predators. From biomimicry to forged documents, from scandals to substitutes, we’ll ask when is authenticity essential, when is copying cool, and what is the boundary between a fakery faux-pas and a really fantastic FAKE.

Potential directions and topics

  • ‘Fake’ foods and imitation meat
  • Deception in nature: organisms that imitate, or disguise themselves to appear like a different organism, cell, a different sex, etc.
  • Artificial alternatives
  • Biology in augmented contexts: lab-grown meat, cyborg insects
  • Robotic biomimicry
  • Museum replicas
  • Behavioural science, psychology, emotional fakery
  • Artificial replacements for unsustainable/endangered biology (e.g. artificial rhino horn, engineered wood, etc)
  • Ambiguous artworks, especially biological works that have an authenticity that is difficult or impossible to prove
  • Irreproducible results, scientific hoaxes
  • De-extinction proxies
  • Works that examine the different social standards of truth/reliability with regards to artistic work and scientific work
  • Substitutions, alternatives, and fakes that fake without deceiving
  • Synthetic alternatives inspired by nature (rubber, etc)
  • Intentional vs unintentional fakes
  • Perfect copies
  • Fictional realities, Legal Fictions, etc. (for example, see Yuval Noah Harari’s TED talk What explains the rise of humans?)
  • Phantoms

Ask questions! If you’re unsure about an aspect of your proposal, please use the comments section below and/or email


Proposals may be new or existing works, and will be funded up to a maximum budget of €2800, which should include all artist fees, materials, equipment, shipping, travel etc. Please note that these are maximum amounts and we enthusiastically welcome proposals that come in below the maximum budget. We are happy to write letters of support for applicants seeking funding from elsewhere


  • Oron Catts, Director of SymbioticA, University of Western Australia
  • Lynn Scarff, Director, Science Gallery Dublin
  • Nicola Marples, Professor of Zoology, Trinity College Dublin

What makes a good Science Gallery Dublin open call proposal?

Strong proposals will match Science Gallery Dublin’s three core aims to Connect, Participate, and Surprise. Some tips for strong proposals:

  • We love works that invite the visitor to participate, create and discuss.
  • Great projects bring together art and science in a creative way. We generally avoid science that is evaluating art or paintings that didactically portray science
  • Relevance to our core audience of 15- to 25-year-olds is a factor in all curatorial decisions.
  • Defying categories is good (“it’s kind of a hybrid sculpture, event, installation-puzzle, with a crowdsourced edible citizen-science archive, plus a performance component that will showcase a speculative future organism…”)
  • We have limited wall space, so we usually have more room for objects/sculptures.
  • A true connection to the theme is a must — avoid shoehorning an unrelated work.
  • Collaborations are great! Are you a cryptographer working with a cellist? Maybe you’re a comic book illustrator artist thinking of submitting a proposal with an immunologist? If you’re a marine geologist looking for a cheesemonger to work with, we might know just the person — get in touch and we will do what we can to help.