Presenting a discussion and critique with Open City artist Leon Reid IV.
Reid presented his talk “The Call to Duty in the 21st Century”. How has the practice of street art redeemed the position of the Artist in contemporary society? Take a ride through history with street artist Leon Reid (Darius Jones) and explore what art has meant to civilizations of the past, where it got lost in contemporary Western society, and how the street artist is redefining what it means to be an “Artist”.
Eyebeam Resident Michael Mandiberg presented a talk and workshop about his new project Real Costs. Attendees were encouraged to bring a laptop to play along. Programming knowledge was useful.
This hybrid talk/workshop included a 30 minute presentation of the project, and how it related to Michael’s previous work, followed by guided modding of the script. Michael provided a focused walk through of the code, and then set everyone free to make some modifications and provided feedback for the project.
Dr. Steven Kurtz, the artist accused by the US Department of Justice of “bioterrorism” stemming from his use of scientific materials in his award-winning art practice, joins Eugene Thacker and George Annas for a panel discussion on the ethics of scientific and creative research and freedom of speech, moderated by science writer Carl Zimmer, with an introduction by Amanda McDonald Crowley.
As an introduction to this season’s theme for Upgrade! New York, Clay Shirky discussed the concepts of forking and failure in the open source process, and its value to the context of activism and the creative process.
At the previous Upgrade! New York gathering, writer/theorist Clay Shirky suggested that the most successful open source collaborations are those that use recipe-like methods to share information. In order to explore this idea further, this month’s discussion examined recipes, instructions, and open source collaboration. Participants included Eyebeam residents Rebecca Bray and Britta Riley, artist/writer/activist Marisa Jahn, and Instructables community manager Billy Gordon. Presentations by all participants were followed by a discussion and Q&A.
Originally written in April 2007. Minor edits: March 2010.
In the past 50 years the digital user-interface has become a major field of cultural production, since the innovations of Douglas Engelbart in the sixties (mouse/keyboard/video-screen) through the personal computer revolution in the eighties to the rise of the World Wide Web in the nineties and the wider trends for social web applications since the turn of the century. Producers of hardware and software systems have been attempting to develop interfaces that will direct the users to produce the interaction desired by the system they represent.
We have just uploaded the video documentation for one of the most interesting Upgrade events we had in the past year with Biella Coleman and Zach Lieberman discussing the tensions within the Free Software / Open Source world(s?) on the meaning of “free”. It explores the tensions between ethics and pragmatics, between “to free” and “to open”, between means and ends. If you’re interested in these issues I really recommend you check it out:
Internet access is likely to be one of the biggest social justice issues, as more and more resources, activity and organizing move online. There is a lot going on behind the scenes with the big telecomm companies and Congress around policies to regulate access to the internet. We need to stay vigilant and ensure that folks across the country, regardless of location or socioeconomic status, have access to affordable and reliable internet.
Electronic Civil Disobedience continues where The Electronic Disturbance leaves off, suggesting strategies of resistance to nomadic power, and investigating tactics of nonrationality to get at the core of autonomy. Fusing a situationist-influenced concept of contestational art, an understanding of the parallel nature of cultural and political action borrowed from Gramsci, and a hacker’s understanding of how new technology functions, Electronic Civil Disobedience refines an understanding of the nature of power and resistance in the information age.
When reporters asked about the Bush administration’s timing in making their case for the Iraq war, then Chief of Staff Andrew Card responded that “from an marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” While surprising only in its candor, this statement signified the extent to which consumer culture has pervaded every aspect of life. For those troubled by the long reach of the marketplace, resistance can seem futile. However, a new generation of progressive activists has begun to combat the media supremacy of multinational corporations by using the very tools and techniques employed by their adversaries.