Recent Feed Items

But Does it Work?
Art, Activism and the Interventionist’s Gesture

Tuesday, February 24, 6:30 pm
A Conversation between Joseph DeLappe, Stephen Duncombe, and Steve Lambert

Artists/activists Joseph DeLappe and Steve Lambert join writer/activist/media scholar Stephen Duncombe to discuss what happens when artists interfere with existing structures of media in order to manipulate and use them as vehicles for political and social commentary. How do these forms of intervention compare to straight-forward art activism, and what are these artists hoping to achieve? How does one even measure success when utopia is the goal? The talk will focus on the artists’ works “dead-in-iraq”, “” and the recent faux New York Times “Special Edition” announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

EFA Project Space presents this event in conjunction with the exhibition Post Memory: A Collection of Makeshift Monuments, on view February 21- March 28.

Laser Letters: heal

We made some serious improvements to Stencilano a month or so ago, but haven’t had the time to announce anything. Also working on some new lasering fonts, but more on that when there is something to show.

I am going to be on a panel about art and social media on Monday, noon-2pm.

February 9th, 2009, 12pm - 2pm

Brand Experience Lab

520 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10012

The Flying University is a Red76 project.

Red76 is going to be doing a project called Pop-Up Book Academy in Sam Gould’s hotel room on Tuesday the 10th. If you are free it would be great to see you there. Also, we are looking for books for people to sell for the project. Do you have any that you would be interested in getting rid of? You would get the majority of the profits, while a percentage of all sales would go to a fund to produce future projects in print form by Red76 and like-minded associates.

Contact me and I will get you info on the hotel and room number. It starts at 6pm.

Technology as Identity
Spring 09
Teaching a brand new class this semester at NYU’s ITP department, called ‘Technology as Identity’. The class will look at how our identity, ethnicity, and cultural footprint are reflected through the technology we consume and produce. More info on the class website

union square public waterslides

This was drawn for Reverend Billy’s Union Square campaign. From Reverend Billy’s site:

Union Square Not For Sale was launched in response to massive renovation of Union Square Park launched by Union Square Partnership, a local Business Improvement District (BID)/ Development Corp. The renovation included plans for a private, for-profit restaurant in the historic Northside Pavilion which was originally built as a parade stand and later used as a year round recreational shelter for women and children. The pavilion stands at the center of may of this country’s most important social movements, abolition, suffragette, civil rights and especially labor. The pavilion sits in the heart Union Square Park, an area that boasts the highest density of restaurants and lowest density of public space in the entire city. There are over 200 eating establishments within two blocks of the contested area.

Read more!


As the new age dawns all over us, we feel that now is an opportune time to take a breath and appreciate the profound contradictions some of us are feeling during these momentous times. Optimism washes over us like a heat flash brought on by a titillating advertisement, we feel briefly feint with luminous expectation, only to find ourselves suddenly jarred out of our pre-coital daze, coolly eyeing the political landscape for clues as to where we actually are and where we might be going. We feel skeptical. Sometimes we worry that this makes us bad hopers, but nevertheless there it is, the jaundiced eye peering into the murky crystal ball, and we are left to wonder: “Just what is this Hope thing, anyway?”

In the thick of this moment between hope and skepticism, some friends of ours put words and pictures to some of our better hopes and released this as “tactical media,” into the world. Some of you may have seen it: This Saturday, a few of the Hoaxsters will re-visit their shenanigan. Their remembrances will be complemented by the edifying, amusing, anecdotal, analytical, political, polemical, and poignant musings of several angry and/or euphoric writers:

The Hoaxsters:
Stephen Duncombe (author, “Dream: Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy”)
Steve Lambert (Anti-Advertising Agency, Eyebeam Fellow)
Joseph Huff Hannon (The Nation, the Progressive, the Advocate, In These Times)
Jeff Crouse (Eyebeam Fellow)

The Writers:
Andrew Boyd (author, Daily Afflictions and PoMo to Go)
Katherine Sharpe (editor, 400 words, a literary-journal-meets-social-experiment)
Virginia Vitzhum (author, I Love You, Let’s Meet)

Saturday, February 7, 7:00pm
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen St./Stanton
F train to Delancey or 2nd Avenue, or JMZ to Delancey

Green Marketing in Wikipedia

Click the image for full res version

The Green Marketing page on Wikipedia. Objectively chronicling the pursuit of the various marketing associations to make a greenback of the green movement(s).

Into this page on Green Marketing, some wikipedian has inserted images of Green Markets. AKA Farmers Markets. A wonderful, willful misunderstanding of a pun.

I first noticed this a year ago, and the images are still up there. How wonderful.

I am going through my things tagged “to blog” and this one seems timely. In June of 2008 the CRUMB list was dedicated to a discussion of collaboration. I wrote a long post in response to a post by Steve Lambert, in which he argued that there were multiple forms of collaboration: Master and Apprentice; Collaboration with leadership roles; Totally balanced collaboration (which he admits probably doesn’t ever really exist. He also points out that

The thing is, I don’t think there has to be openness to the outside world. Collaboration ≠ openness. There’s probably people working collaboratively on some weapon at Lockheed Martin or Lawrence Livermore right now that is classified and worked on in secret. The spouses of the engineers have no idea what they do at work. But there are probably great collaborations happening behind closed doors protected by armed checkpoints.

As I get ready for the FLOSSify 1: Digital Foundations event at Eyebeam next weekend, I’m thinking a lot about collaboration, structuring participation, authorship and credit, and team building. So I think it is relevant to revisit some of the things I wrote in my CRUMB post

So here it is, in its entirety, balanced hierarchy for better and faster work:

I am going to talk about a couple of things. One of which is a response to Steve’s post about modes of collaboration. But ultimately the question I think I am answering is “Why Openness?” and also “Why Collaborate?” And my answer is “Faster and Better.”

I am working on a number of projects, almost all of involve working with other people. I work with other people because i have found it is the best way to get the most things done. The best projects happen the fastest when you work with other people. That sounds kind of puerile, but I am quite serious.

The way I work with other people ranges accross the spectrum of working styles Steve has described. I want to point out that the Master and Apprentice, Collaboration with Leadership Roles, and Totally Balanced Collaboration are part of a continuum of collaboration ranging across differing levels of *hierarchy*.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that Hierarchy & Leadership *is* ultimately necessary when people are working together in a significant scale (more than two or three). Even the Park Slope Food Coop, which is my personal paradigm of a successful communal and collaborative organization, has four levels of hierarchy (shift worker, squad leader, coordinator, general coordinator). I see a number of large scale open source projects run out of the OpenLab, and ultimately it comes down to one or two project leaders, who have the vision, the mad skillz, and the enormous time commitment to *organize* the other collaborators. These roles *can* shift over time. This is true for software work and RL work.

I want to describe one of the group-work models I use: I work with two to four student-assistants who are definitely apprenticing under me; they know exactly why they are working with me: they learn TONS and get to contribute to real projects in significant ways. Role-wise I am the creative/technical director who works out ideas with them, and then they are given wide latitude to execute. They return to me with drafts, we discuss, they make revisions. It is often the first time they have been given responsibility for such a large creative project, and they rise to the occasion. Put another way: they have the passwords to all of my FTP accounts. Trust is an important part of collaboration. To suggest that this is a non-hierarchical collaboration would be false, but to suggest that this is not a collaboration would also be false. We are constantly creating things through working together that neither one of us would come up with alone. So Steve, I am going going call it collaboration, and not just b/c I want to feel better about myself esteem (*kisses*)(LOL)

I have also many times attempted to do the perfect-collaboration-where-everyone-has-the-same-responsibility-and-does-the-same-work-and-gets-the-same-credit. _it_doesn’t_work_. someone always flakes out. someone one’s skills are always more labor intensive, or more needed in each project. someone is always too bossy or controlling. nothing is perfect. utopia is the land that does not exist. that is just the way it goes.

One of my favorite instances of a utopian attempt to do this was made by a feminist art collective I knew (and loved) in grad school: when they edited video all three to four of them would sit in the edit lab and edit the video together. sometimes someone on the keyboard, and a different person on the mouse. beautifully poetic utopian attempt to create perfect collaborative balance. two problems: at the time one of them was much better at the software than the others, and ended up doing most of the work (despite the others’ presence at the computer). AND it was phenomenally inefficient: to my knowledge most of their incredible video is still unedited.

Which brings me to my most successful collaboration to date, and also brings me back around to this idea of “openness” and why I work with others to do better work faster. xtine burrough ( and I are writing a design textbook called “Digital Foundations: An Intro to Media Design”. It will be published by AIGA Design Press late this Fall, and already up online here (yikes!):,3110,0321555988,00.html The book integrates the visual principles of the Bauhaus Basic Course into Adobe design software training. In my life as a professor of media art I do a lot of hands on lab based teaching, where I have to teach students how to use the tools so that they can express their ideas. There are no good textbooks to do this with — they are all corporate training manuals without any visual principles or historical perspective, but with a mind-numbing amount of bad design examples (drop shadows and outer-glow anyone?).

So xtine and I decided to write the one *we* and our peers wanted to use.

Here is where openness and the principles of creative commons come to make it happen better and faster. Many of these things are conventional for a open source project, but not for a book or design project:

1. We are using only public domain and creative commons licensed images in our examples. We did a fair amount of research, and realized that our image costs would be larger than the entire budget for our book ( So we turned to the public domain and creative commons for our examples:

2. We have secured the first Creative Commons license from Peachpit/Pearson. (CC+, BY-NC-SA) We don’t actually have the contract signed yet (LOL) but we do have the go-ahead. This is huge. Not just as a symbolic marker of the acceptance of ‘openness’ in the proprietary media world, but b/c of what it allows us to do. Remember: Better and Faster

(nb: we did get it in writing, and it is on the “copyright page” of the book)

3. What we can do with CC // Better and Faster: Though the book is only half written(!) we are already planning with Adam Hyde of FLOSS Manuals ( to translate the book into Open Source. “Translate into Open Source?” you ask…? Yes, translate the core exercises from Photoshop to GIMP, from Illustrator to InkScape, etc. And then, we’ll translate those translations into the growing set of languages that FLOSS Manuals are working in. Imagine: Josef Alber’s color exercises as a means of explaining how to use the color picker in InkScape… in Farsi. This is openness because it is Better and Faster.

4. In fact we have an entire chapter (#2) which talks about Creative Commons, Fair Use, and openness. Find another intro textbook that does that!

5. We have been blogging the writing of the book ( to share our research and process. Comments become a key component of judging feedback. Expect a post on “How to get a CC license from your publisher” We share our findings, and others have provided immediate feedback.

6. We are writing the book on a WIki ( so that we can write collaboratively and incorporate feedback directly. This has already had direct positive results.

So, to recap, for me it is about Better and Faster. Openness is a faster route to better work. There are lots of ways of doing it, but I do think that as much as they pretend pure openness, successful OS projects all have hierarchy.

Faster and Better,


I’ll have drawings at Glowlab for the month of February and be the gallery Thursday night February 5th so come by and say hello.

Glowlounge Flyer

Glowlounge: 4 Weeks of New Works, Artist Talks and Late Nights

As Glowlab settles into our new SoHo location, we return to our roots in interactive and participatory artwork with Glowlounge, an exhibition modeled on our original salon-style events that took place in Williamsburg from 2003 to 2005. Glowlounge acts as a platform for artists and the public to connect in an informal, creative setting to view and talk about art, social change and progressive approaches to urban living. Past Glowlounge events have featured cultural change agents including Swoon, Flash Mobs creator Bill Wasik and more.

Shaking up the traditional art world model of the month-long-show-with-opening-reception, Glowlounge opts to evolve over the course of four weeks. Each Thursday night we’ll stay open late with a changing selection of artworks and participating artists in attendance to discuss their projects with our guests. These nighttime lounges will have limited capacity, and reservations may be secured via email to rsvp @ The exhibition will also be on view during our regular gallery hours.

Glowlounge brings long-time Glowlab collaborators Steve Lambert, Sal Randolph and Lee Walton together with current gallery artists CutUp, Beka Goedde, Heather L. Johnson, David Kesting, Roberto Mollá and Mark Price. We’ll also introduce works by Paloma Crousillat, Pablo Helguera, Emily Henretta, Brian Leo, Casey Porn, Tod Seelie and additional artists as the show unfolds in an environment of chance and discovery.

As Gallery Director Christina Ray describes, “We launched this series almost six years ago and it sparked so much exciting conversation and collaboration within our community. We really look forward to bringing it back now.” In the spirit of a true “lab” experiment, Glowlounge offers a continuous opportunity for artists and the public to engage in dialogue and explore the convergence of art, technology and the urban environment.