Tomorrowland Projects Foundation Award

The Tomorrowland Projects Foundation supports artistic, multi-disciplinary team collaborations and artist-driven projects that expand awareness of issues affecting society-at-large, and considers award-planning funds to develop new technology, research, and installation art.  

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is proud to announce the inaugural recipients of the Tomorrowland Projects Foundation Award, which is administered by NYFA. This year’s winner, Danielle Dean, received a cash award of $7,000 to help support her multi-disciplinary project Amazon.

Tomorrowland Projects Foundation was created in 2016, and seeks cutting-edge projects that communicate strong, aesthetic, and socially-relevant concepts as well as projects that bring electronic media to new audiences. Its Board of Directors comprises Nina Yankowitz, President, Artist, New Media, Immersive Art Installations; David Becker, Vice President, Film Director, Documentary Producer, Fundraiser; Ian A. Holden, Vice President, Film Editor, Musician, Dancer, Digital Artist; Barry Holden, Treasurer, Architect & Installation Designer; Ellen K. Levy, Secretary, Art/Science Media, ‘Designer of Art and Complex Systems;’ and Jon Nazareth, Assistant Secretary, Artist, Painter, Digital Video Media.


Danielle Dean was recognized with a 2021 Tomorrowland Projects Foundation Award for Amazon, a collaborative multi-disciplinary project that will result in multiple works including a video installation to be premiered in London at Tate Britain and a live performance for Performa 21 in New York.

The work originates from time Dean spent in the archives of the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, MI. There, she came across “Fordlândia,” a rubber plantation founded by Henry Ford in 1928 in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon with the goal of controlling the production of raw material for his company’s car tires. The Brazilian workforce had to abide Michigan-factory work hours in spite of the tropical climate, and local botanical knowledge was dismissed. Eventually, workers rebelled, and the plantation became prey of tree blight. When the U.S. car manufacturer abandoned the settlement in 1934, they left behind a ruined ecosystem. 

In 2021, Dean’s team expanded its focus to the multinational tech company Amazon and its crowdsourcing marketplace, Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT), where online crowdsourced laborers will restage historical events from Fordlândia. The ecocide and worker rebellions that occurred at Fordlândia are woven in with the personal narratives of contemporary AMT workers, considering the effects of extractive capitalism and the potential of solidarity in an otherwise isolated present and future.


Aroussiak Gabrielian and Alison B. Hirsch‘s Memorial to Black Lives will reflect on the lives lost and dehumanized and a serve as a call to action to prevent future injustices. The national issue will be localized through a neighborhood-scale intervention where the memorial is discovered and experienced via a georeferenced mobile app that guides the visitor through the neighborhoods of the city to sites of state violence as well as historic black insurgency. These sites, which exist without any palpable trace of traumatic pasts, will trigger the smartphone to overlay the textual accounts of the events that occurred there. The intention of the project is to catalyze a broad national conversation on the validity of Black life, attempting to literalize the Black Lives Matter goal of “taking the hashtag off of social media and onto the streets.”


Tomorrowland Projects Foundation President Nina Yankowitz is a visual artist who has played an active role in the art world since the late 1960’s. During the last two decades, she’s expanded her practice to include creating video projections addressing climate change and projects that deal with prevailing cultural topics such as religious intolerance, stolen oil or water, and the stature of women in the world. Collaborating with technology and data scientists, she has infused interactive technology and other social networking tools into her art installations. This technology empowers spectators to be active participants in framing their explorations and finding relative, unique, experiences.

Image: Work-in-Progress Screenshot of an Early Concept Study, Memorial to Black Lives, Courtesy: Aroussiak Gabrielian and Alison B. Hirsch