It was inevitable that somebody would do it but leave it to the fine folks at WIRE and the SuperCollider community to curate a call for musical works generated with less than 140 characters of code. Much like Tiny Sketch, SuperCollider 140 (sc140) is a succinct showcase of how more can be done with less. An excerpt from a statement describing the project posted by the WIRE camp:
The resulting compilation is fun and exploratory, repeated listening of the pieces reveals a surprising amount of depth (given the stiff constraints).
SuperCollider 140 contains contributions by: Nathaniel Virgo, LFSaw, Tim Walters, Batuhan Bozkurt, Thor Magnusson, Charlie Hoistman, MCLD, Julian Rohrhuber, Jose Padovani, Jason Dixon, redFrik, Sciss and Andrea Valle.
Corina MacDonald is one of Vague Terrain's closet collaborators and we want to point VT readers (and listeners) at her new web presence. Since 2001, Corina has hosted M O D U L A R _ S Y S T E M S an electronic music-focused program on CKUT radio (in Montreal). Her new site features podcasts and playlists documenting this ongoing project as well as info on her other past and present activities—check it out.
We're excited to welcome Marco Donnarumma, a new contributor into the fold of the Vague Terrain blog. Marco's main artistic project is TheSAD which focuses on the creation and design of free/open source interactive audiovisual environments. Marco will be using his expertise in FLOSS and acting as a beat reporter to cover this realm as well as tipping us off regarding related European festival and workshops. Welcome aboard Marco!
Marco has forwarded us the following biography to provide a little background information on his creative practice.
TheSAD has been conceived in 2006 by Marco Donnarumma (Italy, 1984) a young new media artist, teacher, composer, performer and bass player currently based in Edinburgh (UK). His works have been performed and screened at numerous international events including Venice Biennale (IT), Venice Film Festival (IT), NEMO Festival (FR), 3rd Pure Data Convention (BR), CeC (IND), Laboral (ES), Ausklang Festival (DE), Netaudio Festival (DE), Rome White Night 2008 (IT), Live!iXem (IT), Cinetrip (H). He works as FLOSS developer on new free interfaces for audiovisual expression. At the moment he is focused on the Pure Data graphical programming environment, which he used to develop C::NTR::L, a Human-Computer Interface exploiting physical computing technologies for live audiovisual performance.
In 2007 he gained a BA with honor in New Technologies for Arts at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts, and since 2009 he holds a MA course in Sound Design for Sensitive Environment at LABA - Brescia Academy of Fine Arts, Italy as well as workshops and talks for european universities and venues. Since 2005 he is a researcher at FLxER.net an organizer for Live Performers Meeting, one of the broadest meeting dedicated to audiovisual live performances, new electronic sounds and live video.
One of the most active open-source-focused community is going to materialize its presence during the 7th annual Piksel festival for Electronic Art and Technological Freedom (taking place in Bergen, Norway). Piksel is "a festival and community for artists and developers working with Free/Libre and Open Source audiovisual software, hardware and art". Beyond this, Piksel Festival is one of the best places to seek an enlighting experience in new media practice and its unexpected ramifications. Using free, customized hardware and software automatically add a new value to an artwork, a value that goes beyond specific contents, techniques and approaches to professionals, beginners or passionates with the same impact, becoming a catalyst of shared experiences and knowledge.
Piksel09 - Festival
Piksel09 - Exhibition
We are also changing the world!
Biohacking, DIY Electronics, open hardware, free software, circuit bending, process art, computer vision, multitouch, noise, alternative interfaces, live animation, sound art, light installation, LED art, code poetry, VGA hacking.
Check the program for complete Piksel Festival info.
Marissa Neave is currently studying Criticism and Curatorial Practice at the Ontario College of Art & Design. Marissa has a range of experience as a writer, publisher and curator and, beyond her studies, she is currently a programming assistant at YYZ Artists’ Outlet (she also has provided Vague Terrain with her fabulous Nuit Blanche "best bets" for the last two years). Her mid-progress thesis project is entitled tinygrants, an experiment in microfunding for the arts which aspires to "facilitate short term, creative interventions through the distribution of small grants to Toronto-based artists at any stage in their career." Marissa was kind enough to take some time to talk about her project.
Greg J. Smith: The blurb describing tinygrants outlines two basic criteria for projects you'll consider supporting - funding less than or equal to $300 and proposals developed by artists working in a relational practice. First off, what inspired you to create a platform for microgranting?
Marissa Neave: There was one singular moment that made the idea stick in my mind, but it was attractive to me for a number of other reasons as well. In the summer, Wooster Collective used Facebook to ask their followers what they would do with $50 if they had to spend it on art. They ended up funding Che Fransisco Ortiz's idea to buy fifty-dollars' worth of sidewalk chalk to take to a boardwalk and let passersby have a field day. The idea was simple and playful, and it was executed on an extremely limited budget. I wrote about it on my website the same day I saw it, and although my reaction to it was immediate, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was real potential for an alternative funding program's viability.
Arts funding and cultural policy have had a bad couple of years, with millions of dollars being slashed from art programs, and artists' (dismal) income being plainly outlined and investigated in the publication of Michael Maranda's Waging Culture survey. On one hand, Canada gives a lot of public money to the arts, through the Canada Council, and then through provincial and municipal granting bodies. On the other hand, these granting bodies, though arms length, have pretty stringent standards to determine who is eligible to apply for funding. They also determine "legitimate" categories of art making, and they tend to fund big projects. The average grant amount awarded by the Ontario Arts Council in the "Art in the Community/Workplace" category in 2007 was over $7,000. Of course, projects and organizations that receive grant money aren't rolling in wads of cash, and many of them are severely underfunded. But I think there is a segment of artists who are interested in executing small projects, and I think there are artists whose work doesn't necessarily fit into the prescribed categories dictated by granting agencies.
My question is, If you have a $300 project but don't have $300, what happens to the project? tinygrants is an opportunity to test the viability of an alternative model.
GJS: Could you describe your curatorial interest in relational practice? Why is tinygrants specifically aimed at supporting work done under this banner?
MN: I have recently swapped the term 'relational projects' in favour of 'creative interventions', which I think is a more inclusive, less alienating term. It encapsulates a few things for me: visibility in non-traditional spaces, activating an audience or evoking dialogue, non-medium-specific work, among other things. tinygrants is specifically aimed at this type of work primarily because no one else is funding it, but also because what interested me about Ortiz's sidewalk-chalk project is that there were a lot of people who were able to share in an experience that barely cost a thing to facilitate. I'm interesting in providing funding for projects that create the possibility for similar exchanges.
I also think that there is a lot of work under the 'creative intervention' banner that lends itself well to microgranting. Certainly not all intervention work is inexpensive to produce. But I think it's an appropriate genre in which artists can be extremely innovative with costs. If you think about it, even a small series of paintings, for example, can cost a fortune in terms of material and labour. With tinygrants, I am asking applicants to allot no more than eight hours of their time to execute their projects—I am cognizant of the cost of labour and I don't want any projects funded by tinygrants to be a drain, financially or otherwise, on the people proposing them.
These kinds of interventions, and ephemeral street art...they tend to be things artists do anyway. They aren't being paid to do them in a lot of cases, and in a lot of cases, artists pay for their materials out of pocket. Look at Poster Boy out of NYC. He does insane mashups of vinyl advertising in the NYC subway, and his only cost is a 50-cent razor. Issues of legality notwithstanding, it boggles my mind that someone like Poster Boy isn't being paid for his time. It is interesting to see his work move into a gallery setting, where it suddenly becomes part of an economic exchange, as if that were the only way to earn a living from your artwork. I realize I am not offering grant amounts large enough to sustain an artist's practice for very long, or at all, mostly because this is a student project, and I had to be reasonable about what kinds of funds I could potentially raise, and what I could afford to personally invest. The underlining point of tinygrants, however, is to draw attention to these types of problems within arts funding and cultural policy. I wanted to provide a way to support artists who are working within this genre, but I also wanted to encourage artists who don't usually work in this genre to give it a shot, since if they received a grant, it wouldn't cost them anything.
My own research interests are strongly drawn to work of this nature as well, so even though tinygrants functions within a critical framework, there are also personal reasons for focusing on creative interventions. I like thinking about how people negotiate space, and how movement between spaces becomes ritual. And I like artwork that addresses or interrupts these things. Site-specificity, new genre public art, relational practice... I am fascinated by how these genres of art are able to be extremely political without being antagonistic. It's an interesting dynamic that I'm eager to explore within the context of tinygrants. There are notes of subversion running through the whole project.
GJS: Given that your project is web-based, what web and art platforms were you looking at as points of reference when you were planning and developing this venture?
Interesting. I never really considered tinygrants to be web-based, but I suppose it is in many ways, especially since I am reconsidering my initial plan to have an exhibition of documentation in April in favour of publishing that material online. It made sense for me to have a website to house all of the information about the project, as well as a blog that documents my progress. This whole thing is an experiment, so things are constantly changing, errors are made and corrected, and people's questions continue to shape how I think about what I am doing. I think being transparent about the process and my progress allows people the opportunity to witness my logic, and contribute to it if they're so inclined. The web is obviously an incredible platform to facilitate this kind of dialogue. I have no interest in developing this project in a bubble or having total control. At the end of the day, this project really has very little to do with me.
In terms of financing platforms, I was looking at Kickstarter as a web-based fundraising model specifically for arts-based projects. Their web presence is far more sophisticated than tinygrants.ca. My knowledge of programming ended when HTML was swallowed by PHP and was only reignited a few years ago when I taught myself how to install WordPress. I had to work with my limited skills to make something that suited the project, and there were a number of other reasons why Kickstarter isn't an appropriate model for what I'm trying to do.
Kickstarter isn't dealing with microfinance at all, and in fact most of their projects cost anywhere from $1,000 to over $60,000. I definitely think it is an interesting platform but its methodology isn't suited to tinygrants. The funds are sourced from visitors to the site, but they aren't distributed to the artist(s) unless the goal is met within a limited time frame, so in a lot of ways it is a popularity contest. Additionally, the program is invitation only. Kickstarter works in the US, where funding is largely private. But I don't think it makes sense to emulate their model within Canada, because much of what Kickstarter is funding could potentially be funded here by councils. However, the spirit is there, and I think the community aspect of the platform is what I've tried to encourage with tinygrants.
Most of tinygrants has been planned and developed as I go along. I didn't extensively research any particular model or method before launching, but I did consult with my thesis supervisors and others in the community to at least get a consensus on some of the finer details. I thought it was fairly logical to put out a call for submissions and select projects from there, and the application guidelines cover a lot of pragmatic things, like time lines and locations.
tinygrants is being planned and developed on an ongoing basis, and I strongly encourage people to email me or use the UserVoice feedback tab on the website if they have any comments or questions. The more people who chime in about how this project can go, the more effective tinygrants as a program will be.
I just put out an informal feeler on twitter and noticed it generated a bit of a buzz so it probably makes sense to write something a little more concrete. Vague Terrain is looking to add several blog contributors to our roster. We're looking for specialists in any and all new media fields: musicians, critics/curators, VJs, software artists - people with expertise in the various niches that relate to our broad interest in digital art. We have aspirations to build up the editorial content in our blog, it has always been pretty informational and link based. Interested? If so, this is a rough outline of our terms:
We aren't necessarily searching for veteran arts writers, just people that are tuned into very specific fields who are interested in sharing information related to their practice with a wider audience. We're also open to arts students interested in contributing that want to document their research (into figuring out exactly what their practice is or might be). Writing style can range from (accessible) academic to short and informational.
If this is of interest to you (or might be of interest to you) please get in touch - I'll be happy to answer any and all questions.
Edit: We are also open to republishing short-medium length essays or project overviews on the blog. We've done this a few times in the past and are happy to help circulate new media research/criticism that is relevant to the blog/journal.
Excerpts from a missive sent to nettime earlier today:
Description: Shane Hinton + Netwurker Mez create a new method of collaborative fiction through _live concurrent editing_ in Google Wave. This process results in expressive output[s] termed "Transformations":
Transformation relies on continual modification...This accent on process acts to rewire the notion of documents as statically defined "objects" and [by proxy] any information contained within. This has enormous implications in regards to such institutionally-governed categories such as literacy, media, the professional/amateur divide, narrative, and information construction.
Some notes on transformations:
13th Annual Subtle Technologies Festival: The Place Where Art and Science Meet
Call for Submissions - Investigating Sustainability
It will be nearly half a century since Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring”, just over five since Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”, and less than three years since Anya Hindmarch’s “I’m not a plastic bag” eco-bag hit the shelves. The grassroots sustainability movement has taken hold fostering a green life style. This may be a victory of ideology, yet at the same time, it has matured into a new social norm that suspiciously smells of capitalism. The replacements are still a chain in consumption. Ecological compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, and biofuels have an impact beyond ethanol production. If sustainability is narrowly defined as a closed system that produces what it consumes, by all means, the boundary conditions leave us hanging, looking for more. What can this more, be?
For this year’s Subtle Technologies Festival, we wish to explore sustainability through a critical multidisciplinary lens. We invite investigations of the role that decentralization, diversity and societal power dynamics plays in our attempts at maintaining a sustainable future. Where does the death of languages, cultures and peoples fit into the sustainability discussion? We look forward to critical discussions that explore multiple meanings of sustainability in this state of ecological and global health. We will be discussing the science and technology behind sustainable practices and design as well as the science behind some of the events and circumstances that have driven us to seek sustainable solutions. What role does the artist play in bringing forth new layers of understandings in this discussion? As in previous years, we invite submissions from various practices. For 12 years, Subtle Technologies has provided a forum where participants share their projects, theories and technologies around an annual theme. Subtle Technologies is also a place where artists, scientists, and other innovators inspire, inform and generate new concepts and tools.
Specifically, this year we are looking for proposals for presentations for our symposium (presentations are from 30 to 45 minutes long) , works for our exhibitions, video and film submissions for screenings, workshops and partners for collaborations. Some example areas of exploration in sustainability include: political and historical perspectives, design and architectural practices, global warming, climate change refugees, agriculture, water and other resource management, cultural preservation, material science, alternative energy systems, corporate responsibility, co-operatives and microfinance, biodiversity conservation, preservation of indigenous knowledge, and the culture of consumption.
Submissions can be made via the Subtle Technologies website.