Screenshot from SimEarth: The Living Planet, (1990) MAXIS, Daisyworld planet

Phoenix Art-Game Commission Opportunity

Submissions close midnight Sun 28 Mar
Submissions are now closed. We will be contacting shortlisted applicants by 5th April.

Phoenix is an independent cinema and art centre based in Leicester, UK. Our art programme explores the creative and cultural impact of new media and technologies.

We are seeking to commission an artist, group or studio to create an art-game exploring ecology and the Anthropocene, responding to the Daisyworld Simulation.

We are open to proposals that use gaming as a medium in its widest sense, however it is important to consider how the work could be exhibited in a gallery setting and published online, using platforms such as Steam and Itch.

Phoenix has previously commissioned a number of game-based works that have been exhibited physically and published online. These include The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place by Studio Oleomingus and Killbox by Joseph DeLappe.

Daisyworld is a computer simulation created in the 1980s by James Lovelock and Andrew Watson to demonstrate the Gaia hypothesis proposed by Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s. This is the idea that Earth, and all its inhabitants form a self-regulating system. In order for life to survive on a planet, it must optimise the environment, which happens through evolutionary responses.

“Daisyworld is a planet covered by two species of daisy, one white and one black, whose growth is determined by temperature, and whose albedo influences that temperature. The planet experiences a steady increase in solar luminosity, impacting the temperature and the populations of black and white daisies over time. The growth and die-off of the different daisy species results in a stabilisation of planetary temperature for some time, despite the increasing solar luminosity.”
Kirsten Menking

Lovelock later assisted in the development of SimEarth, which was released by Maxis in 1990 and looks much like the kind of simulation and sandbox games we might expect to play on our computers or phones today.

These simulated systems are familiar. Playing games has always provided an incredible space for the performance and development of new ideas and realities that relate to and implicate the real world. For example, Model U.N simulations have been held since the 1920s and tabletop RPGs have long captured imaginations as a way of creating collaborative, shared spaces to perform existing and alternative power structures.

We seek responses to the brief that engage critically with gaming technology and the Gaia hypothesis today. We’ve compiled a list of resources that could be used as starting points for thinking about this, but this is completely optional.


What we will offer

  • £4000 Commission fee to cover production of work.
  • Development support during the production of the work.
  • In venue and online exhibition (with a separate budget).
  • Publishing and distribution to online platforms.

Deadline for applications

Applications will close at midnight on Sunday 28th March.
Shortlisted applicants will be contacted by Monday 5th April.
We would like to interview shortlisted applicants.

Apply here

Application Form

You will also be asked to complete our Equal Opportunities Monitoring form which is anonymous and will not be used in the selection process.

This opportunity is open to artists working individually or as collectives, based anywhere.

We particularly encourage applications from artists who identify as part of groups underrepresented in the creative and cultural fields.

The application form will ask for a short statement (written, audio or video) describing the project you would like to develop. We would also like you to think about how it will be made and how people would interact with it.

We will also ask about any experience you have so far and your ability to deliver an interactive project.

Resources List

Resources list

An audio version of the text on this page is available here:

An easy read version of the text on this page can be downloaded here

A large print version of the text on this page can be downloaded here

Lead image: Screenshot from SimEarth: The Living Planet, (1990) MAXIS, Daisyworld planet