Thanks for the great discussion Suzy and for the invitation to participate.
Just a quick introduction to my recent experiences related to this topic. I
am an artist working in new media and have been working internationally in
maker spaces as well as organising and participating in hacks and art hacks
throughout the UK.
As an artist, I have benefited from some of the models and examples already
mentioned on this list, while trying to understand my role within them and
their effect on the ways artists are working now. In September 2014, was an
artist-in-residence at Digital Media Labs, for which respondent Dave Lynch
was one of the organisers. Later, in November 2014, I presented the work
that I created at DM Labs at the White Building during Irini’s Disobedient
Objects event. I was co-Lead-Artist on the Thinking Digital Arts // Hack in
Newcastle in 2014. I participated in Hack the Space at the Tate Modern
and sketched out some tips for artists participating in hacks during The
Yorkshire Hack at the Digital Utopias Conference:
While I have plenty to say about the above, I am going to use this space to
compare my two experiences working in China in 2008 and 2012, how I
approached these differently, and how they have affected my practice.
In 2012, I was living and making work in China, where I did not have a
studio. To create my project, *Toast *(
http://blurringartandlife.com/vb/toast.html), I was working in a
“hot-desking” format at XinCheJian Hackerspace (http://xinchejian.com/) in
Shanghai and at Beijijng Makerspace (http://www.bjmakerspace.com/) in
Zhongguancun. Using these maker spaces as a studio-base allowed me to find
willing participants for my projects, draw upon shared equipment, and
locate other local resources. For *Toast*, I needed a bespoke
Perspex/plexiglass box. I interfaced with someone who I met at XinCheJian,
an artist/designer who runs an interior architecture startup. She invited
me to her studio where I was able to work with one of her team to draw up a
CAD design for my box and send it to be custom-made (something that would
be exceedingly difficult to source on my own with my limited Mandarin
abilities - I tried;) ). Also while in Shanghai, I became acquainted with
Core Labs, a company working at the intersection of art and technology with
a gallery space and office space where they create commercial and artistic
digital projects and host events. Core Labs were just starting in 2012 and
I missed their opening event by weeks, but would have liked to have gotten
to know them better had I stayed longer:
The most useful aspect of working out of the maker space venues was the
opportunity to meet other people working with art and technology, which led
me to other events, talks (including Barcamp Shanghai), conferences
(including Node.js), and exhibitions. I was also selected to participate in
the Shanghai Biennial IMMERSION: Art and Technology Workshops, which were
organized by (now NYC-based) curator Juliette Yuan and taught by Graham
Harwood, Roy Ascott, and others. These were presented in a
mentorship/workshop format that brought artists and student-artists
together to learn new skills and create collaborative projects.
These experiences from 2012 sit in contrast to my time in China in 2008
when I was in an artist-in-residence role at Imagine Gallery, Beijing.
During a month in residence, I independently created my 37 Red Hats project
http://blurringartandlife.com/vb/redhats.html. This was a more traditional
residency format, in which I was offered a place to work and live in a city
away from home. This type of residency offers space and time to work (both
welcome commodities for an artist), as well as varying degrees of exposure
to local artists or galleries, in this case, mostly other
artists-in-residence at Red Gate Gallery in adjacent studios.
As a new media artist, I am finding that dynamic and usually short-term
experiences, in the form of workshops, hacks, or pop-up residencies (such
as Digital Media Labs which provided equipment, mentorship and other
artists work work/play with during a high-intensity week), are more
productive for pushing my practice forward and opening up new opportunities
than traditional studio-style residencies. Exposure to equipment and
networking tend to be the most difficult resources to obtain, but ones that
are plentiful in these new dynamic models.
I would be interested to hear the list’s response to these comments and am
happy to elaborate on these and other related topics.
- Victoria Bradbury
CRUMB Researcher: The Performativity of Code
// Victoria Bradbury
Researcher @ www.crumbweb.org
New Media Caucus <http://www.newmediacaucus.org/> <CommComm>
Attaya Projects <http://attayaprojects.com/> // Collaborator
On Sat, Mar 14, 2015 at 4:25 PM, Suzy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Thanks a million for all of your contributions this week. We have covered
> some interesting ground. I’ve pulled out some of the key ideas and themes
> that have been emerging over the past couple of weeks for people to connect
> to and tease out further from their own perspective. You are of course
> welcome to pitch in with any other themes or thoughts you think are
> Role of Research:
> Its been great to hear about Emma and Simon’s collaborative research
> projects that bring together arts, technology/industry and research to
> experiment with new models of practice, test ideas which may potentially
> fail, self reflect and share new knowledge of developing collaborative
> practices. It offers us two different models that explicitly value the
> research and development process over the end product.
> Interesting that Liam’s experiences of working with commercial clients and
> partners when research was not a key partner showed a different picture.
> Olga raised some great questions around the artists’ role and remit as
> researcher within wider society. She identified some important challenges
> in how we ensure that art remain an ‘outstanding free domain’ where we can
> ‘reflect upon future scenarios we may fear or desire’.
> She asks
> How do we ‘maintain and prosper these values of
> How do we sustain autonomy whilst simultaneously stay open for new,
> applied (business and corporation) models and strategies?
> Olga also highlights an important point relating to identifying new ways
> to articulate cultural value and its impact in relation to industry and
> other domains outside of the realm of the arts.
> Working Practices
> A number of people have mentioned some of the challenges of collaborating
> with partners who have differing working practices and processes.
> Simon mentions the ‘mismatch in terms of academic and industrial life
> (academia tending to be slower and more reflective /abstract, whereas
> industry tending to be quicker and more action – orientated and specific).
> Liam highlights how the ‘early stage identification of an end product’
> demanded by industry is at ‘odds with a more organic developmental process
> that form part of the core methodologies of fine art and design higher
> Liam also notes that current art/design graduates are ‘poorly equipped to
> engage with creative/tec industries that are perusing a marketable,
> commercially realised concept. It would be great to hear some thoughts on
> Danny identified the differing ways that designers and subject specialists
> ‘see’ cultural heritage images. It would be great more about how these
> differences in perception and process have impacted upon emerging practices
> and projects?
> Olga thinks the idea of ‘open and playful experimentation and research as
> part of the artistic practice is crucial and serves as a foundation for our
> society and as a tool for culture in general.
> Context for Production
> I was interested to hear people’s thoughts on Olga’s reflections of issues
> surrounding autonomy vs applied art and Johanne’s question relating to who
> is setting the agendas in these our increasingly collaborative landscape?
> Danny highlighted the impact of his particular context ‘a large third –
> sector organisation with independent commissioning budgets’ in relation to
> the museum engagement programme he is developing.
> It would be great to hear about the ways in which participants’ see their
> context impacting upon their practices and programmes.
> Danny and Olga have mentioned a number of collaborative projects that they
> have commissioned and produced. It would be great to get a little more
> detail of the curatorial infrastructure that underpinned them. I would be
> very invested to hear about any other models people have used/ heard about
> for commissioning collaborative arts / digital industry projects
> Danny mentioned that within his game/media/art projects, ‘the development
> and production process was often far from easy’. Could we hear a little
> more about this?
> Dave highlighted a range of creative production contexts he has created in
> order to foster collaborations and develop networks between different
> disciplines and sectors. Collaborative discussion and talk events, output
> oriented intensive labs, open ended residential labs without the pressure
> to produce a final outcome, are all interesting models and strategies that
> highlight the needs of our developing collaborative landscape.
> Olga highlights that Baltan’s ‘open minded strategies’ for open and
> creative collaborations are based on ‘trust, empathy and mutual inspiration’
> A model not mentioned so far is the rise of hack events, cultural hacks
> where organisations are experimenting with new ways to consider their data
> and art hacks that often bring different communities together to co create.
> They often have a competitive element with ‘prizes’ for winning projects.
> As well as the opportunity to develop new project ideas, a key selling
> point for these research and development based events is the possibility
> for participants to develop new practices, ideas and relationships in the
> process of co creation. To pick up on one of Liam’s points, it is
> interesting to note that in general, participants are not paid when they
> attend these events.
> Sector Development
> It is great to hear about our developing infrastructures (from artist led
> and organizational initiatives to strategic funding) that underpin and
> nurture our emerging co - creative, cultural communities to collaborate
> Through his featured artworks, Jonas raises some critical issues around
> existing systems, behaviours and practices inherent within contemporary art
> and the commercial art market.
> Dave highlighted his artist led initiatives that support the development
> of artistic collaborative practices, such as The Superposition, ASMbly and
> Digital Media Labs.
> Simon explains that the Creative Exchange project is using co – design or
> co-creation as a means to facilitate collaborative learning between
> academia, creative/cultural and industry partners.
> Emma mentioned that supporting sector development is central to her
> initiative. ‘Projects have been supported because we feel that they can
> provide wider learning for the arts and so sharing the learning is a key
> element of their deliverables.’ She also articulates her strategy for
> sharing the knowledge gained via the funded projects.
> Johanne asks if Danny’s programme of "digital presence & work on art,
> media and game projects" a new and a different avenue? The evolving
> position of these new practices in existing arts structures is an
> interesting one! Where do these kinds of projects sit within the wider arts
> and creative digital industries?
> A few thoughts on the evolving language of collaborative practices
> Simon highlighted that his team is not so keen on the term ‘knowledge
> exchange’ to articulate the collaborative learning that is occurring in his
> project. How are we articulating the co learning that is happening in
> collaborative projects more broadly?
> I’m interested in how artists are currently self-identifying. We
> increasingly see a range of titles beside that of ‘artist’ in the biogs of
> artists. At a recent talk, Dave Griffiths introduced himself as a
> ‘generalist’. Dave describes himself as an artist, director and inventor
> and mentions Liam self identifies as a creative practitioner, hacker,
> maker, artists or all or any of these. Danny mentions artists and digital
> While artists themselves seem comfortable with using multiple titles, it
> does raise some interesting questions about the term 'artist', what it
> covers and what it doesn't and what understanding and expectations industry
> partners have of the role and process of the artist in collaborative
> art/digital industry projects?
> I am also interested in how we are naming the contexts for collaborative
> production. 'Incubator' and 'Culture Hack' are two examples where the
> language and models of practice from the creative digital industries are
> modified and utilised in a cultural setting, reflecting evolving
> collaborative art/industry systems and practices.
> An interesting example would be the use of the term ‘incubator’ from New
> INC project. I’m curious to hear thoughts about the understanding of the
> word ‘incubator’, an industry word relating to start ups, when it is used
> in a cultural context. Maybe we can hear more about that from Julia? I am
> also keen to discover the ways in which an ‘incubator’ differs from a ‘lab’?
> I’m looking forward to our continuing discussion. ; )