Detroit Science Lab Gallery is currently seeking interactive, participatory works for DEPTH, a free exhibition that explores the power and complexities of water and its many roles in the physical and social world.

Water is life. Its presence affects all living things. From creation stories about life on Earth, to the looming devastating effects of pollution and climate change, water has the power to spread life and rejuvenation as well as death and destruction.

Who has access to water? Who decides? These issues raise questions about water as a human right. About our responsibilities to water as a resource and our responsibilities to each other.

This exhibition examines water’s polarizing extremes. From discoveries of water on Mars and hydroelectric power, to issues of water quality and access, to the complexities of water systems at the microscopic and macroscopic scales, our futures are directly linked to the future of water. What will that future be?


  • Indigenous perspectives on water
  • Chemical properties of water, water ecologies
  • The hydrological cycle (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, collection)
  • The varied states of water (vapor, liquid, solid)
  • Sustainability, hydroelectric power
  • Water quality and access
  • Explorations of our current water usage and footprint, for individuals, for companies
  • Cultural traditions, storytelling, artistic creating connected to water
  • Water for play and recreation, water for education
  • Impacts of water pollution on the environment, technological remedies to water pollution
  • Discoveries of water on Mars and other planets
  • The value of water in food and other commodities
  • The Great Lakes and freshwater ecosystems
  • Marine life, oceans, and the increasing salinity of the ocean
  • Impacts of water contamination on human development and health
  • Water crises, vanishing icecaps and glaciers
  • Dystopian and utopian views of the future of water
  • Relationship between water and plants, water and animals
  • Water as a commons that should be held in the public trust free of privatization


What makes a good Science Gallery Lab Detroit open call proposal? SGLD is especially looking for both existing and new projects that match Science Gallery Lab Detroit’s three core aims: to Connect, Participate, and Surprise. This call invites both scientific and artistic proposals for exhibits as well as ideas for public programming.

Some tips for strong proposals:

  1. SGLD loves works that invite visitors to participate, create and discuss.
  2. Great projects bring together art and science, in a creative way.  Please generally avoid science that is evaluating art or art that didactically illustrates science.
  3. Relevance to the core audience of 15-25 year olds is a factor in curatorial decisions.
  4. Defying categories is good. For example, perhaps your piece is “a kind of a hybrid sculpture, event, installation-puzzle, with a crowdsourced edible citizen-science archive, plus a performance component that will portray a speculative future organism… .”
  5. However, a true connection to the theme is a must. You are encouraged to take a moment to consider fit before committing your valuable time and energy to the application.
  6. SGLD have limited wall space, so there is more room for objects/sculptures.
  7. 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, SGLD might know just the person — get in touch and they can help.


Proposals may be new or existing works, and will be funded up to a maximum budget of $3,300, 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.


  • Rachel Frierson, Director of Programming, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
  • Seitu Jones, visual artist and scientist, McKnight Distinguished Artist and Loeb Fellow in the Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Elizabeth LaPensée, digital game author, Gugenheim Fellow and Assistant Professor of Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures, Michigan State University
  • Tawana Petty, poet and Data Justice Coordinator, Detroit Community Technology Project
  • Mark Sullivan, photographer, composer, and Assistant Director of Science Gallery Lab Detroit, Michigan State University,