i’m in linz, austria for LiWoLi, “Art Meets Radical Openness”. it’s a 3-day gathering of open source artists, developers & educators organised by ushi reiter and the team from servus.at and located at the kunstuniversität, & this is the fourth year it’s been held.
i’d never been to linz before, & so far i haven’t seen more than the hauptbahnhof, a tram ride to hauptplatz, the kunstuniversität & my lovely accommodation at the other end of the hauptplatz, but i like what i’ve seen: lovely old buildings, a market in the hauptplatz this morning, the danube in front of the kunstuniversität & an interesting castle-type building on the hill across the river. the ars electronica building sits on the other side of the bridge, flashing garish blue & yellow in the night like an alien spaceship preparing for take-off. we crossed the bridge and walked past it last night, on our way to the stadtwerkstatt behind it where the evening performances are. in contrast to the ars electronica building’s futuristic dominance, the stadtwerkstatt is an old building housing dark smoky bars. one of the things i like about austria is its easternness – people still smoke everywhere, & pancakes are palachinka not pfannekuchen. but the german is very close to bavarian so i can actually understand quite a bit.
yesterday was the first day of LiWoLi, & i participated in “the possible and impossible machine /workshop” led by minipimer, 4 young women from barcelona. i’d been so busy over the last few weeks that i hadn’t been able to pay much attention to the LiWoLi programme & so entered into the workshop completely open to whatever might happen. what happened was that i helped to create another button within the possible and impossible machine which is installed as part of the exhibition. “my” button is a photocell sensor attached to the wall in the projection, & if it’s covered over the text in that particular area changes its speed. this is done by connecting it to an arduino – which has about 10 different buttons going into it – & all of this goes into a computer which uses processing to display a matrix of different bits of text to create “if/then/else” statements from contemporary political/social issues. i got to do a bit soldering which was fun & i think i have slightly more of an idea about how the whole arduino thing works – i’ve done workshops with it before & come away feeling like i have no idea what or why we were doing, but this time there was a very practical outcome & it was exciting to see the installation later that evening with everything working & the crazy mess of fine coloured wires transformed into something fascinating & functioning.
the best thing about these kinds of events is always the people; aileen is here, & i’ve finally met for the first time in person two others who i’ve known online for years through networks such as /etc and faces: ushi, who is the main organiser of LiWoLi, & audrey, who is also one of the aether9 group. the workshop people were interesting & i’m gradually meeting others, although unfortunately i missed most of the presentations yesterday afternoon because my initial idea for the button involved some brain-straining calculations to map (we ended up having to compromise a little).
this morning i’m installing a whole lot of stuff on my laptop for my presentation this afternoon, in which i’m going to attempt to install UpStage on my laptop as a performative demonstration of the artist-programmer relationship, with remote support from martin in ausburg via teamviewer. right now the terminal window is scrolling rapidly, installing svn, ant, & other mysterious things. i hope it’s going to be ok because after i started it, i read further in martin’s email & saw that i should have first created, & changed to, a directory named svn. oops. but it’s taking so long to install i don’t want to stop it … fingers crossed it will be ok! watch this space …