Open call – Residency @ Cartamundi

In collaboration with Gluon, Cartamundi invites artists to submit a proposal for the development and realization of a new artwork during a two-month residency at the headquarters of Cartamundi. The result of this collaboration will be exposed on several prestigious international locations. 

This call is a unique opportunity for artists to spend time in the R&D lab of Cartamundi, world’s leading manufacturer of playing cards and board games. Therefore, Gluon and Cartamundi offer a two-month residency at the Cartamundi headquarters in Turnhout, Belgium. The goal of this residency is to create an artwork that utilizes and challenges Cartamundi’s latest iCard technologies to trigger imagination. At Cartamundi they believe that the moment technology becomes invisible, magic takes over in the eye of the beholder.

Games are being played all over the world, and the effects of playing games together are universal. It teaches you strategy, morality, psychology, tactics, politics, diplomacy and more. Playing games together shapes you as a person,
both socially and emotionally. You learn to deal with loss and bad luck, as well as with conflict and frustration. But you also learn how to be a proud, but noble winner. Playing games makes us wiser. And the world could really use some extra wisdom, right?

But the gaming landscape is evolving. The ‘Internet of Things’ has an effect on how we think about card and board games. That is why we invite you – artists – to contribute to Cartamundi’s research into the future of card and board games by bringing an artistic perspective through artistic practices. This should lead to the development of a prototype for a new work, based on Cartamundi’s latest iCard technologies.

You won’t overcome these challenges alone of course. At Cartamundi you’ll have a team of engineers, designers, developers, concept artists and manufacturing experts that will happily assist you during this two month process. You’ll even be able to make prototypes and run tests on the go. Following the two month residency the manufacturing of the artwork will be done in-house by Cartamundi.

Hybrid games?

Cartamundi feels that a bridge between physical games and digital games is needed. They feel that they need to follow this global trend, while serving their core business. That’s why they introduced concept of “hybrid games”. These games connect card and board games with digital devices like smartphones, tablets or even dedicated readers, designed for a specific application. These connections happen on different levels; is the electronic device used as an add-on, can the game be played without an electronic device as well or is the electronic device the centerpiece of the game?


A first step towards these hybrid games are cards that can be read by a device. In short; iCards. As mentioned before, the connection between games and electronic devices can be done on different levels. But you can also use different technologies to generate that connection.

In the iCards portfolio you’ll find the following technologies:



→ TouchCode: TouchCode cards contain an invisible conductive layer made from metallic foils and conductive inks. This conductive layer can interact with capacitive touch screens. Just place a card on the screen of a tablet or smart phone to bring it to life. TouchCode technology can be integrated inside standalone apps and games. It’s even possible to use TouchCode inside web applications running inside the browser

→ Dot 2 Dot: Dot 2 Dot cards are printed on our standard board materials. In fact they are
just like regular cards! The real magic happens in software. To identify a Dot 2 Dot card, you place it on a touch screen and perform certain actions indicated on the card. These actions can be as simple as tapping a sequence of dots in the correct order, swiping patterns or tracing shapes. With clever use of software algorithms and multi-touch manipulations, these cards can unlock new types of digital content and experiences.

→ Movables: A movable card exists in both the digital and physical world simultaneously. Moving the card around on the surface of the screen has real cause and effect in a virtual play environment. A physics engine simulates the laws of nature, allowing objects to collide and bounce off of the card. Multiple cards can have different properties and behaviours enabling new gameplay possibilities. Players just need to hold two fingers on the marked positions to activate the card.


→ Image Recognition: This technology uses the camera inside smart devices to identify cards and objects. The visual characteristics of each card
is used as identifier. This means that there is no special dedicated barcode or marker needed to recognize the cards and interact with them. The user can be prompted to “scan” a single card or a live view can react instantly to multiple cards.

→ NFC/RFID: An NFC (Near-Field Communication) card looks and feels like any regular card. However each one contains an invisible microchip and a wire antenna. This allows the cards to communicate with NFC readers, such as those found in high-end smart phones or other hardware devices and even toys (figurines, dolls, plush, wearables,… ). These devices emit and detect radio waves (Radio Frequency Identification) over a short distance. Holding the card close to the device powers it and activates two-way communication. The chip contains a small amount of rewritable memory to uniquely identify each single card and even store information.

→ Barcodes: A barcode is a printed symbol that contains computer readable data. When people scan a barcode with a smartphone’s camera, the device can decode and interpret the information stored in the code and react accordingly. Barcodes come in all shapes and sizes. codes, the available visual real estate and the amount of raw data needed to be stored. (Information density) The most common barcode is the QR (Quick Response) code. This can be read by free software available for any device with a camera. It usually contains a URL, taking the user to a mobile website or app. Each code can have a unique destination. Perfect for competitions and win-cards, which can only be used once. Besides a web link, QR codes can also contain other data such as text messages, business cards, calendar events, location data and trigger actions such as starting a phone call or connecting to a WiFi network.


→ Augmented Reality: In augmented reality applications the user views the world through the camera of his smart device. An overlay of digital content is added on top of camera’s footage. The digital content appears to exist in the real world. The software is set up to visually recognize any card, image or marker in the scene. Usually, digital content such as live video and animated 3D-models materialize out of the cards. Multiple cards or images can interact at the same time.

→ X-ray: X-Ray cards are partially transparent cards, which create a mix of “on screen” and “on card” action. The cards integrate seamlessly with touch screens and allow for new ways of integrating cards in mobile games. This technique really shines when combined with other iCard technologies such as dot 2 dot and movables. The see-through aspect not only enhances these games but also creates completely new gameplay possibilities with visual illusions and special effects.

For more information about these technologies, please see:




How to apply

– Deadline for application: 30 th of June 2017 11:00 pm (GMT+1).
 All applications should be processed through the application form at the Gluon website (on your right hand on this page). Applications that are past due won’t be accepted.

– Each application should contain the following:

• Contact information

• Artist statement — Max. 500 characters

• Artistic CV — Max. 1500 characters

• Fully completed project description template — Please download 

• Images — Maximum 3, up to 2MB each

Applications that are incomplete will not be accepted.

– This call is open for both national and international artists.


– Deadline for application: 30th of June 2017 11:00 pm GMT+1.

– All candidates will be informed with the result before the 30th of June 2017.

– The residence will start on the 7th of August 2017 and will end on the 29th of September 2017.

– The presentation of the artwork is foreseen starting end of 2017.

Commitment to the project

– The selected artist will be required to carry out an initial meeting at the headquarters of Cartamundi to meet, familiarize themselves with the tools and expertise available and present his/her project to the team of Cartamundi (exact timing to be agreed with successful applicant).

– The artist will then be invited to undertake weekly visits during the residency window periods (07.08 – 29.09.2017). By the end of the residency the artist will be required to have a prototype ready for concrete production.


– A team of experts (engineers, designers, developers, concept artists and manufacturing artists) at Cartamundi to assist with the development of your ideas during the residency

– An artist honorarium of max. € 3000, including travel and accommodation costs. If a collective is selected the honorarium shall be shared between the members and up to 2 members can take part in the residency.

– For the development and production of the prototype, Cartamundi has calculated an in-house manufacturing budget for 1 artist

– International candidates will be provided with temporary housing close to the Cartamundi headquarters in Belgium, that will later be defined.

– Gluon will coordinate the collaboration between the artist and Cartamundi, both artistically as technically.

– Presentation of the work at a cultural institution within the network of Gluon, that will later be defined

More information:

– For more information on Cartamundi and the iCard technologies, check and

– For more information on the residency and how to apply, please send an e-mail to

Image credits: Peter De Cupere, Olfacio, 2012. Olfacio was realized by Arteconomy in collaboration with Cartamundi and Peter De Cupere in the context of Turnhout Cultural Capital 2012.