I hope it’s OK to begin this post by writing: OMG this is so exciting!
Earlier in the year I was commissioned by the Arts Council England to write a document describing the history of media lab culture. Soon after, I discovered this substantial essay was slated to become part of a more major project commission: the World of Free and Open Source Art, produced for ACE by Furtherfield. ACE had asked Furtherfield to put together a comprehensive archive of essays, interviews, artworks, tools and resources and a glossary of terms illustrating and explaining Open Source activity in the arts – and my essay looking at media lab histories and methods was a perfect fit. But then, guess who Furtherfield approached me to help them write more of the content for the resource? Me! (I know, I said it was exciting!)
Now the whole resource has gone live both on the Arts Council website and on the website for the Peer 2 Peer Foundation. It’s fitting that you’ll find this content on both platforms where it can be shared among the two over-lapping audiences. You’ll find a variety of descriptions by myself of artworks like Rob Myers’ Balloon Dog (pictured), as well as platforms for sharing, and of course my downloadable history of media lab culture in the UK.
For too long, Open Source activities in the arts have been over-shadowed by other practices and I’m honoured to be part of this major effort to bring them into the mainstream. I am also glad to have the opportunity to show the role media labs have played in digital innovation over the last 20 years or so – especially as several of them (notably Access Space and Folly) have recently lost their ACE funding. This Furtherfield/ACE project will be a lasting resource and I hope it will convince a broader audience of the value of free, open and shared practices.