A vision for a networked system of care and reciprocity to tackle artist precarity.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts
With support from ArtEngine.


The Offer Need Machine (ONM) is a digital platform in-the-making that aims to amplify the culture of generosity that already exists in local, discipline-based communities of creatives. 

ONM allows creatives (artists, designers, crafters) to offer their expertise with the intention of supporting another creative through an initial offering of a “one-hour gift”. Once they have gifted an hour of interaction, they can then rely on other creatives in the network to be accountable to their needs. The exchanges are not meant to be transactional, but more fluid and organic according to expectations set together within each encounter. As determined by examples from emergency and ad hoc mentoring systems created in response to COVID-19, a short time frame of mentoring from one expert to another can go a long way to improving their chances of expanding their abilities. What makes ONM distinctive is the care protocols built into its infrastructure, which establishes certain value-based rules of engagement, while creating possibilities for new types of interaction and potential long term networks to emerge. 

The vision for ONM is to make space for creatives to advocate for and bolster their value as creative workers. We want to counter big tech monopolization to explore social technologies governed by the people that use and shape the platform. Leveraging solidarity and gift economy principles, we hope to explore how terms of engagement, software, and code can encourage respectful, considerate communication, as well as self and community care through giving. This is an oppositional proposal to the explicit quid pro quo exchanges of marketplace environments. 

ONM was an idea born out of Artengine’s Digital Economies Lab (DEL). With support from the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Strategy Funds, development is currently in phase three – Macy Siu, Kofi Oduro, Julie Gendron are designing and prototyping use case scenarios, and will be testing their designs at Artengine’s facilities with arts community members in 2022. 


The team will be holding user-testing sessions online in October 2022. If you're interested in participating, please fill out the linked form.


Read about the Creative Care Workshop the team facilitated at the New Economy Network Australia’s “Growing a Wellbeing Economy” conference


Watch the team reflect on how the seeds of ONM were planted during their residency at Artengine’s Digital Economies Lab


We’re an interdisciplinary group of artists that bring together knowledge from diverse social, geographic and technical backgrounds. We came together as a group to explore artist precarity, which has since turned into a drive to strive towards systems change through researching ways to enhance data, knowledge and resource sharing among creatives.

Macy Siu is an artist, design researcher, and foresight strategist who is driven by expression and empowerment tied to the hyphen of in-between spaces. With a background in advocacy for artists, intellectual property law, and internet public policy, she has since turned to design processes as a tool to better understand change and drive more society-centered solutions. Working at the intersection of art, law, and design, she now spends her time rethinking what legal access for creatives should/could mean, and co-dreaming more inclusive and collective futures through speculative and critical design.

Kofi Oduro is a Creative/Experiential Coder who merges mediums to provide unique experiences that promote discussion, reflection, and interaction. With a decade plus of performance, event & audiovisual production, he takes inspiration from endeavors that are not normally together to create a harmonic experience for audiences & users alike by adding AV, Narrative & Experiential Datafication. The latter of which was fine-tuned during the DS4A fellowship 2.0 & other Data Work.

Julie Gendron is an independent creative director, digital strategist and artist who is passionate about enabling communities and engagement. She has 25 year of experience working with nonprofits and cultural workers to enhance their digital efficiencies, build curatorial and audience opportunities and provide digital product design.

Graphic design by Strike Design Studio.

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