..on Thu, Oct 01, 2009 at 04:27:39PM +0200, Damian Stewart wrote:
i remember some discussions that happened hear a
couple of years back along
the lines of 'does New Zealand need a medialab?' well, i don't know about a
/media/lab, since 'media' is a bit of a loaded word and corries with it a
lot of the kind of pretentious nonsense that can have a whole lot of money
spent on flash without very much content (eg the Film Archive 'Mediaplex'
but, based on what i've seen in my travels, some of the most interesting
creative stuff seems to be happening in and around /hack/lab spaces: the
kind of spaces which put together, in one place, open-source enthusiasts
who want to spread the word, and artists who are interested in working with
new technology and want access to equipment, workshop space, or just a
social space to hang out with other likeminded people.
i just went this morning to visit the Metalab in Vienna (http://metalab.at
and am inspired. they have a very small space - 200 square metres - and in
it manage to pack the following:
. main room with couches, chairs, tables and cheap roll-down projection
screens for presentations, meetings, or just hanging out
. library/meeting room with books, tables, a more quiet/intimate
. tiny sound studio with some basic synth gear (lent from one of the
members, who occasionally takes it back to use at his house)
. kitchen with cooking equipment (to facilitate social interaction),
honesty-box fridge with beer and energy drinks (Club Mate of course)
. the 'whateverlab', with a bunch of electronics gear, electronics books,
two kitset 3d printers (offspring of the RepRap), a 3-axis CNC lathe, and a
. a darkroom/chemistry experiment lab
. blinkenlichts of some kind in every room
membership is 20$/month but you can go in and hang out and use the
equipment without membership; it's a lot smaller, friendlier, and more
practical/workshop-feeling than CBase in Berlin (if anyone else has been
there). it's funded by the City of Vienna and some commercial sponsors, and
seems to have been initially set up as an 'innovation incubator' kind of
so, in my mind, the best, cheapest single thing they could do is part-fund
the formation of a hack-space or several hack-spaces, strategically located
in major cities. in Wellington, a small space (Happy-sized) somewhere in
the not-yet-gentrified bits around upper cuba or tory st, or in newtown. in
Auckland, divert some of the funding from the absurdly enormous Galatos
place into a smaller, more realistic sized space.
this could be funded all sorts of ways, in Wellington at least. if only the
City Council still owned Citylink, that would take care of some things. and
back in the day i'm sure paradise.net
would have been interested. the
Wellington Linux Users Group might like to play. certain people associated
with 127 Abel Smith would be interested i'm sure. on the open source side,
Catalyst IT might be interested; from the graphics programming/hacking
side, Sidhe or Wandering Monster might like to play too.
I reckon this is also a good basis for a proposal. Good words Dames.
More often than not it's the medialabs that help make media-artists sing. I've
especially seen this again and again with the Medialab Prado in Madrid, who've
I've worked as teacher and participant. You've seen it first hand too Damian,
being a valued collaborator and artist at the Medialab Madrid on more than one
There's an excess of technical/creative talent in NZ. Recycle!
A hacklab with:
- coffee machine
- hard and soft knowledge archive (leverage FLOSSManuals)
- strict open-source distribution and development models
- working area with lockers
- free code repositories for remote collaborations
- Friday arvo "I'll tell you how I made this project" talks with
a beer and concert chaser
.. would be a great contribution.
Take 'Grow Your Own MediaLab' as a good model for aquiring a basic inventory vis
a vis Sheffield's Access Space; ie engineer a little guilt with a corporation
like BNZ, convincing them to redirect the mandatory obsolescing of 20 PCs and
give them a sponsor badge on your web site.
Here's a template:
This is something I'd be tempted to sink my teeth into one day.
From what I see NZ seems to have overlooked this
opportunity.. Rather, it seems
a culture of individualism in art and curatorial
interest is predominant, even
at the artist-run-space level.
home: New Zealand
based: Berlin, Germany
currently: Berlin, Germany
Douglas Bagnall wrote:
So this one is really boring. I mean,
"Creative New Zealand Strategic
Plan" -- any one of these words would send you to sleep by itself. I
won't be surprised if no-one answers. Here's the link
but don't look. It's boring. It is better that we have an uninformed
and interesting debate. Supposing we did submit something, what should
The obvious and expected tactic would be to notify them of our
unrecognised brilliance and diversity, of the exceptional art
experiences that we offer New Zealand and International Audiences, of
the warm glow they will feel from seeing our well-funded, important,
edgy work rise up on the world stage and represent the wise, culturally
aware, courageous CNZ. But we will be cunning, and carefully frame it
in such a way that we don't look like greedy sycophants. We don't like
money, but we will accept it for the good of the nation. We will also
not mention that they are funding our rivals to make crap, nor that they
are a bunch of conservative retards, nor anything else at all that might
sound disparaging of bureaucrats or strategic plans.
That would be expected, and it would probably be wise. Perhaps
accurate. But it also sets up the temptation to do the opposite, to
scream and yell, and let them know that they have no idea about
anything. They are at best irrelevant, we'd say. They should disband
and give the money back to the paupers who bought lotto tickets.
Then, of course, there's an expanse of middle ground, where we outline
the areas about which they have no clue, and try to tell them how they
could do better. Most likely they would like to. Which brings us back
to: what should they do, actually?
Personally, I have few ideas at the moment. That's mainly because it is
one in the morning, but also because I haven't had much to do with them
for a while. The paperwork is not worth it for the piddly amounts I
apply for: I do better just getting a job for the days that I would
spend writing proposals and aquittals, and I don't get bound up in the
kinds of idiotic commitments I put in funding proposals, nor do I have
to wait at the letterbox to know what I'll be doing over the next six
months. But you lot will have ideas.
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damian stewart | skype: damiansnz | damian(a)frey.co.nz
frey | live art with machines | http://www.frey.co.nz
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