Lauren Lee McCarthy, associate professor of design media arts at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, was selected as part of the cohort of Eyebeam “Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future” Fellows along with collaborators Grace Lee and Tony Patrick.

Eyebeam, a New York-based arts and technology nonprofit, recently announced the creation of “Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future,” an artist-led initiative intended to envision a free digital future and respond to the global pandemic and international protests. McCarthy and her two collaborators have received an initial award of $5,000 and may be awarded up to $25,000 to take their research to action. Their collective is called “Beyond the Breakdown,” and they plan to conduct research on the algorithmic structure of the digital world that surrounds us, and eventually create a browser extension that allows us to take back control of our online behaviors.

McCarthy will also be exhibiting her new work “Vibe Check” at the Real Feelings exhibition at Haus der Elektronischen Künste Basel in Münchenstein, Switzerland. The exhibition will run at HeK Basel from Aug. 26 until Nov. 11 and will feature works ranging from interactive installations to artificial intelligence, animations, video installations and photography. They will explore how technology today represents, manipulates and changes our emotions. McCarthy’s “Vibe Check”, created with collaborator Kyle McDonald, will be exhibited alongside 20 other international artists.

As an artist, McCarthy examines social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation and algorithmic living. She is the creator of p5.js, an open source JavaScript platform that aims to make creative expression and coding on the web accessible and inclusive for artists, designers, educators, and beginners. She is also co-director of the Processing Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower people of all interests and backgrounds to learn how to program and make creative work with code, especially those who might not otherwise have access to these tools and resources.