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Circa x Dazed: The Class of 2021

Video artists: do you want your work shown on the Piccadilly Lights?

As part of Circa and Dazed’s Class of 2021, 30 artists will get free studio access, have their work displayed on the iconic London screen, and one finalist will be selected by a special guest judge to win £30k

As we tiptoe (see: stumble) into life post-rona, the creative industries are facing a period of reckoning. Will the arts continue to operate within the musty hierarchies of yesteryear, or will fresh paths be forged, taking heed of all the valuable lessons from the past 12 months?

With this in mind, digital arts platform Circa and Dazed are launching Class of 2021. This brand new initiative invites budding video artists from all over the world to submit a two-and-a-half minute short film in response to the theme ‘Communion’, as set by interdisciplinary artist Angel Rose, and judged by a surprise special guest.

30 emerging artists will be given the opportunity to exhibit their work on some of the world’s most iconic screens. Come September, London’s Piccadilly Circus, K-Pop Square in Seoul, and Shinjuku in Tokyo will be ablaze with the winning cohort’s work, each of whom will take over the screens for the 30 days of the month. Participants will, of course, be further platformed to an audience of millions across Dazed’s social media channels, and will gain access to the Dazed Space, a new multimedia studio complex in London. But that’s not all – one lucky finalist will receive a #CIRCAECONOMY prize of £30,000 to help kick start their career.

In the face of global lockdowns, Circa has spent the past year beaming the works of Ai Weiwei, David Hockney, Patti Smith, and Vivienne Westwood across London’s landmark illuminations, bringing art – quite literally – to the masses. On a rampage to democratise the stuffy arts sector, this joint initiative hopes to empower the next generation of moving image artists, spotlighting local communities on a truly global level.

“We were motivated by a shared desire to support the creative community,” says Circa’s founder Josef O'Connor, reflecting on Zoom conversations with Dazed last year. With public art spaces few and far between, and an increasing lack of investment into arts education, O’Connor built Circa with the intention of circulating profits made from print sales back to young artists. “A few thousand prints later, we’re proud to arrive full circle and partner with Dazed to unlock the future of art.”

Lynette Nylander, Dazed’s executive editorial director, adds: “This summer Dazed celebrates 30 years of championing next generation of creative talent, making it serendipitous that this year we also launch this prize with Circa to platform the 30 next big names in art. It’s never been a more challenging time for young artists, so we’re hoping that this new partnership will create important new opportunities. I’m looking forward to seeing the work!”

Entries to Class of 2021 run until midnight on June 23. Sign up below for more information on how to apply and submit your work. Find out more about the theme ‘Communion’ here.

Dazed x Circa

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