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Category: Open Source

Digicult Presents: OPEN SOURCE MEETING

Fondazione Accademia di Belle Arti Pietro Vannucci – Perugia
October 10, 2008
10am-1pm / 4pm-7pm
Le Arti in Citta festival

Promoted by: Umane Energie and “Flussi” section of festival “Le Arti in
Curated by: Moreno Barboni e Marco Mancuso (Digicult)
Moderated by: Marco Mancuso (Digicult)
With: Graffiti Research Lab, Pier Luigi Capucci, Laura Colini, Umane
Energie, Confinidigitali

On October 10, the group ‘Umane Energie’ and the ‘Flussi’ section of “Le Arti in Citta” festival are promoting a seminar called Open Source Meeting at the ‘Fondazione Accademia di Belle Arti Pietro Vannucci’ in the city of Perugia. This is curated by Moreno Barboni and by Marco Mancuso, critic, curator and director of Digicult ((, and will be participated by Graffiti Research Lab, Pier Luigi Capucci, Laura Colini, Umane Energie and Confinidigitali.

The Open Source Meeting is dedicated to the ever-expanding circulation of ‘open’ computer resources and is meant to get territorial subjects, such as Confinidigitali and Umane Energie, to meet. Their Beduino open-source platform, derived from the international Arduino project, will be the base of a ‘multimedia park’ featuring national and international guests, so as to elaborate on and divulge the possibilities of open-source in the domain of digital arts and multimedia communication, both from an artistic and planning perspective.

Marco Mancuso and Moreno Barboni have therefore imagined a day of lectures and seminars, a round table of experts, researchers, curators and artists all with different but complementary expertises. This will offer the opportunity to reflect over the enormous potential, however mostly unsaid, of open digital technologies, their impact on the social, operational and political context in which we live, on their interaction with architecture and the social spaces in our urban areas and on comprehending their emotional impact on our perception of new art forms and creative languages.

Evan Roth and James Powderly are the Meeting’s international guests, founders of Graffiti Research Lab, for the second time in Italy after their first public performance ‘Laser Tag’, curated by Marco Mancuso in December 2007 in Rome and projected on the facades of the ‘Colosseo’ and the ‘Cestia’ pyramid. Graffiti Research Lab is wholly dedicated to developing technologies and experimental media to enhance public resources for urban communication. GRL have therefore been invited to explain their artistic/activist project, to describe their performances in cities round the world, to talk about the possible risks and the enormous potential for communication that lies behind applying open source technologies to graffiti and media art.

Pier Luigi Capucci, critic and professor, deals with communication systems and languages and, since the early Eighties, has been investigating the relationship between technologies, culture and society and between art forms, science and technologies. His task in the Meeting will be to trigger the debate around the collective and social impact of open-source technologies. The opportunities of choosing and accessing information and new tools have, in fact, enabled new possibilities for communicating and sharing knowledge extending the awareness of the cognitive, operative, social, and political uses of these same tools.

Marco Mancuso is the chairman of the Meeting. Critic, curator and founder of Digicult he deals with Digital Creative Media and the relationship between images, sound and space within contemporary Audiovisual Art. Focusing on how open-source technologies have affected the digital Audiovisual domain by showing an overview on the most interesting artistic and creative international projects, he will suggest some critical thought around how these tools are used, around shared creativity dynamics on the Web, free code, and around how ever more intertwined art, design and hyper architecture are. Laura Colini, researcher at the Bauhaus University in Weimar in the department of Architecture, Media and Urban Sociology, will focus on technologies and participated city-making projects. She will describe the concept of participation in urban planning confronting it with the participation to the city entailed by ITC practices. A sort of shared-practices taxonomy to city-making, called ICT spatial practices, that allows to build up critical thinking and awareness around the urban theme of collective planning.

Lastly, the collaboration between Confini Digitali and Umane Energie that has lead to ‘Beduino’, an open-source electronic device meant to develop interactive, artistic installations. It features audio controls, sensor interfaces, led and motor controls. Slightly bigger than a packet of cigarettes Beduino, based on the more famous ‘Arduino’ hardware/software, can be used without having to write any code by those who are not necessarily computer geeks. It can be used as a real-time audio and video controller, as a MIDI control, it is useful for interactive installations, to control led lights, robotic controls and much more.


10:00 Moreno Barboni: introduction and greetings
10:15 Marco Mancuso: opening and lecture
10:45 Pier Luigi Capucci: lecture


11:30 Umane Energie: lecture
12:00 discussion
13:00 closing


16:00 Marco Mancuso: introduction
16:15 Laura Colini: lecture
16:45 Confini Digitali: lecture


17:30 Graffiti Research Lab: lecture
18:00 discussion
19:00 closing


:::Graffiti Research Lab:::
:::The L.A.S.E.R. Tag payload:::

The New York artists and media activists GRL, will introduce their tool for digital urban graffiti: the L.A.S.E.R. Tag. The Mobile Broadcast Unit (MBU) with L.A.S.E.R. Tag payload is an open-source Weapon of Mass Defacement (WMD) designed to enable graffiti writers, artists, activists and citizens to communicate in the urban environment on the same scale as advertisers, corporations and governments. MBUs provide 1200 watts of audio and 5000 lumens of video projection capability mounted on an industrial work tricycle. The L.A.S.E.R. Tag payload allows individuals to write their own personal communications and expressions with a 60 milliwatt green laser on industrial facilities, monuments, towers, bridges, city skylines and other hard and soft targets of interest. The design and custom software for the MBU and L.A.S.E.R. Tag payload has been released open source, without copyright or patent, into the public domain. Hobbyists, hackers and other private citizens are encouraged to freely use, modify and release their own MBU/L.A.S.E.R. Tag designs. Units currently exist in NYC, Mexico City, Barcelona, Austria and Taipei. In NYC the MBU can be “checked-out” for free from the G.R.L. resource library and arsenal for use by interested parties. Advertisers need not apply.

:::Marco Mancuso:::
:::Audiovideodrome: on the open source contemporary audiovisual art, design
& hyper architecture:::

Audiovisual Art, the ability to create works of art – may they be narrative or abstract – by using sounds and images, has undergone a strong innovative phase in the last years. Within the larger context of ‘new media art’ it has found for itself an all-purpose role which is certainly more complex and multi-faceted, going beyond performances and installations. Progress in technology, open-source hardware and software, have eased the management of real-time audiovisual flows. Thus, contemporary Audiovisual Art seems to be today some sort of borderline area which includes pure creative and artistic expression, but also experimentation and design. A critical attitude towards this phenomenon in analyzing online shared creativity, free code and an ever more intertwined relationship between art, design and hyper architecture allows to observe how the concept of space reflects the existence of a fluid place/non-place to be explored, an element for design, a material and immaterial universe to be confronted with as it redefines the relationship of modern man and the new multimedia scapes surrounding him.

:::Pier Luigi Capucci:::
:::Open Cultures:::

The Opens Source diffusion opened up new options and chances to access the information and new devices. It activated new opportunities in knowledge’s communication and sharing and it expanded the awareness of the cognitive, operative, social and politic use of these instruments. Open Source also imposed a reflection on the software in general as a tool which, although immaterial, has a real, economic value which can’t be ignored in the information age. In the arts, in several realms and disciplines, many artists embraced the Open Source philosophy and practice, creating artworks which expand their power both at the poetics level and increasing the artworks’ flexibility and sharing, hence enlarging the extent of the artistic discourse

:::Laura Colini:::
:::Reflecting on ICT participated spatial practices and city making:::

Given the breakdown of defences against information glut, an awareness of how we use, act and interact through modern digital technology is becoming critical. Global trends and symbolic economy shape the production and distribution of a large variety of modern tools that use similar ways to communicate via text, audio, video. As a result, the creative digital communicative syndrome tends to sedate the question of “how and why” we act together and represent and shape our cities and lived space through digital media. Beyond the many definition of cities, I assume that cities are site of collective spatial practices and discursive processes, procedures and codified protocols leading to social, economic, material and cultural transformations. The purpose of this intervention, is to engage in reflecting on the processes of city-making analysing the benefits, pitfalls, and trade-offs of the combination of spatial practices with ICT. In particular, the parameters adopted to discern and categorize such practices is their capacity to empower local communities and to engender citizens participatory. I argue that the variety of social media, PPGIS, participatory video making and the latest resource on the web, -which have a strong emphasis on spatial related practices- could be analyzed according to their capacity to stimulate directly or indirectly socially and politically transformative approaches to city making. In order to validate the importance of studying the interdependency of ICT, social interaction and urban planning, I will refer to the selected research and case studies looking at their capacity of engendering truly participative processes, trying to unveil their limits, rhetoric, and visible/invisible power interests.

:::Umane Energie e Confinidigitali:::
:::Beduino presentation:::

Confini Digitali e Umane Energie present Beduino, an open source instrument, designed to simplify the process of creating electronic based art projects. It can be used for music controllers, VJ controllers, MIDI instruments, dance triggers and body suits, interactive installations, driving LEDs, motor and robotic controls and much more… It is based on the well-known Arduino platform, and 100% compatible with it, but intended to be used even without writing a single line of code. Beduino comes with a MaxMsp patch, possible and free to use with all major operating systems

TEXT: ¿Porque a algunos artistas nos interesa el software libre? by Lila Pagola

This text is released in collaboration with Escaner Cultural, an online magazine based in Santiago de Chile. It was originally published in October, 2007.

(Spanish only)

Artistas y software libre: caja abierta y transparente

Versión 2 .5

sobre software y distribución del conocimiento

o ¿porqué a algunos artistas nos interesa el software libre?

El software es una herramienta … ¿cómo cualquier otra?:
alineando poéticas y políticas

Hoy casi todos usamos software en alguna etapa de la producción: escribir un proyecto, hacer registro fotográfico, generar contenidos (imágenes o sonido de síntesis, dibujo digital), en la posproducción y edición de material; pero también cuando usamos el celular, el cajero electrónico, el reproductor mp3, etc.

El software, no es “una herramienta más”: se trata de una herramienta compleja cuyos componentes, su funcionamiento y su creación se nos presentan como una caja negra , en términos de la teoría de Flusser1, enunciada originalmente para explicar nuestra relación con la imagen técnica fotográfica.

La máquina es una caja negra porque es opaca en su funcionamiento interno y nos propone “operar sobre su entrada y su salida” a través de controles , lo que nos convierte en “funcionarios”. Flusser sostiene que, si bien eso es frecuente con muchas máquinas, de las que desconocemos sus componentes, y su funcionamiento, y esperamos que repitan invariablemente el mismo resultado frente a la misma operación (p.e. un microondas); es altamente problemático cuando el resultado de la operación (la salida) tiene pretensiones de ser una obra de arte.

La diferencia estaría entonces en que, a un artista puede no interesarle como funciona el celular con el que manda mensajes o el microondas en el que cocina , pero seguramente le interesara conocer su herramienta de producción, para entender su lógica de funcionamiento y ser más eficaz frente a errores e incompatibilidades, para hacer lo que quiere y no lo que el software le permite , para no visitar “lugares comunes” de la realización, para subvertir los “usos correctos” y ampliar los límites del lenguaje.

Para Flusser, la posibilidad de hacer arte con una caja negra depende de nuestra posibilidad de “penetrar en su interior” y subvertir su programa de origen, modificándolo para hacer algo no previsto en las opciones dadas, o podemos agregar, partiendo del error, explorando los orígenes de la técnica que resultan accesibles a un neófito.

Cuando esa herramienta es software, es necesario poder acceder al código que hace funcionar la interfase de usuario con la que “operamos”. Y allí es donde la opción del software libre se torna imprescindible.

¿qué es el software libre?

El software libre sirve para hacer lo mismo (en principio) que su equivalente privativo. El software libre es acerca de libertad, no de precio ni de funcionalidad: libertad de uso, libertad para estudiar el software y hacer modificaciones, libertad de copia, libertad para volver a distribuir las mejoras.

Estas libertades son del usuario, no del software y están dadas (o privadas en el software privativo) en la licencia de uso que nos dá el autor o dueño del copyright. La licencia que garantiza las 4 libertades de arriba se llama GPL y se creó para el software libre, basada en la idea de copyelft. El copyleft es un hacking sobre el copyright ideado por Richard Stallman que, amparándose en el copyright, permite que el software se copie, modifique, etc sin problemas legales.

Las 4 libertades del software libre:

Libertad de uso implica que puedo usar el software para lo que quiera: una obviedad, pero algunas EULA (ver ejemplo) permiten ciertos usos y prohíben expresamente otros. Las EULA son un contrato que firmamos (al usar el software) con el desarrollador: ese mismo que generalmente NO leemos completamente porque está escrito en lenguaje legal y en general su diseñ en pantalla no estimula la lectura sino más bien lo contrario.

La segunda libertad es para estudiar el software y hacer modificaciones.
Para acceder a esta libertad es necesario tener acceso al código fuente del software: osea es imprescindible que ese código esté abierto (p.e.: el html y la función ver código fuente del navegador ), lo que sería equivalente a mostrar (para estudiar) y publicar (para modificar) los documentos editables de una obra: de un texto (un rtf no un pdf), una imagen (un svg/ai/psd con capas no un jpg), una animación (un fla en lugar de un swf)

La libertad para estudiar el software parte del ejercicio común a muchas personas, autodidactas de la informática, que aprenden mirando, copiando y luego haciendo pequeños cambios en lo que otros han hecho antes. Al mismo tiempo, propone un modelo de enseñanza del software que:

* promueve la autonomía del que aprende
* permite acceder a más personas al conocimiento en cuanto que no hay “secretos” o partes ocultas que se revelan mediante una licencia o una capacitación
* permite encontrar similitudes, o lógicas diferentes para resolver problemas que estimulan la cooperación y la complementación de proyectos y capacidades en lugar de “reinventar la rueda cada vez”

Si recordamos cómo aprendimos a usar un software, veremos que gran parte de las habilidades se formaron a partir de esta posibilidad de estudiar lo que otro había resuelto antes.

software = producción cultural = obra de arte

Traslademos ahora estas libertades a la producción artística: la segunda libertad (estudiar y modificar el software) se convertiría en libertad para estudiar y modificar la obra.

Los artistas que resuelven dar esta libertad a sus receptores parten de admitir el ejercicio común a muchas personas autodidactas, que “aprenden mirando, copiando y luego haciendo pequeños cambios en lo que otros han hecho antes ”, una actitud que retoma prácticas artísticas en las que se promueve la autonomía del que mira y amplía su lugar desde receptor hacia el de potencial productor2, donde se busca desmitificar la noción de autor como “genio” o la ficción del individuo; se propone la idea de la obra como “aporte que se nutre de una tradición” sin que eso implique desvalorizar ese aporte, se promueve la apropiación de lo percibido por el “receptor”, su comentario, mejora o revisión cooperativa, compartiendo una porción de la “autor”idad sobre el devenir de la obra.

Volviendo al software, la libertad para modificarlo (p.e. traducirlo a lenguas no hegemónicas , adaptar regionalmente la interfase , agregar o quitar funcionalidades ) si bien no es practicable para la mayoría de los usuarios no informáticos, es la políticamente más potente: en países importadores de software, la posibilidad de modificar un software supone la adaptación del software a nuestras necesidades en lugar de la resignación y aceptación de los usuarios a las limitaciones del software, una adaptación, además, puede ser realizada por recursos humanos locales.

Respecto de la libertad para modificar las obras, se han desarrollado (inspiradas en la GPL) varias licencias permisivas o de contenido abierto para otras producciones culturales distintas del software . Entre otras:

* licencia art libre
* licencia opensourceart
* algunas licencias creative commons
* licencia GFDL (gnu free documentation license) licencia de documentación libre GNU

En estas licencias, la posibilidad de modificación genera las llamadas “obras derivadas”.

Si bien la reversión de obras del pasado no es nueva en el mundo del arte (cita, apropiación, remix, plagio), si lo es la relación que las licencias definen entre creador y derivador: eliminan la necesidad de ser autorizado o apelar a algún tipo de autoridad para permitirse la derivación (ser artista, derivar a un “maestro”).

Junto a los usos comerciales, ésta es la posibilidad más problemática para las producciones artísticas.

Pero aclaremos el punto en relación al software: software libre NO es software gratis.
La tercera libertad permite que haga tantas copias como quiera del software, incluso para venderlas. Ciertamente que nosotros en este lado del mundo copiamos masivamente software (y libros, películas, música) con licencias restrictivas, pero técnicamente eso es un delito (en Argentina previsto en la ley 11.723 de Propiedad Intelectual). También es común que gente regale o venda estas copias no autorizadas, porque la copia está tan naturalizada que no se percibe como un delito, incluso en ámbitos académicos, estatales, etc.

La restricción de la copia digital es contradictoria con las posibilidades técnicas del soporte y sólo responde a intereses monopólicos: si dejamos el rol de autores y pensamos como receptores: ¿cuántas obras no hubiésemos visto/oído/leído nunca de no ser por la copia no autorizada? Entonces, desde la posición de autores, en algún momento de nuestra historia como productores de imágenes técnicas, hemos tenido que elegir entre: sólo dar copias a quienes pagan por ellas (e incluso limitar la edición) o permitir la copia a quien desee tener nuestro trabajo.

Más allá de la cuestión comercial, ésta es una opción artística: la decisión sobre la circulación es una decisión que afecta al sentido de la obra.

La última libertad del software libre es la de redistribuir las mejoras: esta libertad permite que si uso la libertad de modificar el software, pueda redistribuir esa modificación libremente, siempre que circule bajo una licencia GPL: esto es, que aquellas libertades que me fueron dadas a mi como usuario, estén garantizadas a los demás usuarios.

Trasladando esta libertad a las obras de arte, se resume en la idea de la obra como un aporte que se nutre de una tradición, con una dosis de originalidad e innovación individual estimulada (como acción o reación) por el entorno. Poder acceder a las producciones del pasado y retomarlas libremente incluso como parte de nuestras producciones, anuncia un posible giro futuro en la concepción de la autoría.

¿cómo hacer?

accediendo a la caja negra software

En las primeras experiencias con software libre de un usuario proveniente del software privativo, es común que encuentre “dificil” realizar las mismas tareas.

Estas dificultades, analizando algunas experiencias, provienen de dos orígenes diferentes:

La parte del usuario:
el cambio de modelo mental que implica una nueva interfase gráfica, aún cuando sea “muy parecida” tiene que estar motivado por alguna razón conciente y voluntaria por parte del usuario que migra: curiosidad, garantías de seguridad-privacidad, estabilidad, nuevas prestaciones, modificaciones posibles (código abierto), afinidad ideológica, etc. En cualquier caso, ese será el motor que aliente a buscar soluciones a problemas que sin duda aparecerán en la migración y que harán que el usuario descubra la comunidad SL para resolverlos.

Todo cambio de software requiere un aprendizaje, e incluso cuando el usuario más sabe, tanto más le costará olvidar lo que sabe y leer advertencias, prestar atención, tomarse el tiempo para aprender. Los diseños de GUI integrados (unificación de atajos de teclado, nombres de funciones cuando es posible, ubicación de menúes, etc., incluso con software de la competencia) parten de esos conocimientos de los usuarios para facilitar el uso de un nuevo software. Hasta aquí la responsabilidad y el esfuerzo son del usuario, que tiene que superar la resistencia de quedarse con lo conocido porque ya lo maneja y se ha acomodado, incluso, al ritmo de sus disfuncionalidades.

La usabilidad del software:

Un punto complejo en el software libre, que ubica algunos puntos de la discusión entre informáticos y diseñadores de interfase gráfica en cuestiones que nos retrotraen 15-20 años atrás, cuando los desarrolladores ensimismados en la funcionalidad, estabilidad y otras cuestiones funcionales del software no dedicaban tiempo al estudio y mejoramiento de las interfases del software con su usuario destino. Cuando aún los estudios de Human Computer Interaction (HCI/IPO) no estaban desarrollados, los informáticos argumentaban que los usuarios debían aprender a usar los programas dedicando tiempo y esfuerzo y a veces, incluso incorporando castigos al error para apuntalar la concentración de los usuarios, a quienes se les adjudicaba toda la responsabilidad por los problemas derivados del uso de un software relacionados con el error humano; por ej. hacer repetir todo una secuencia de acciones para llegar a un resultado desde el principio por un error en alguna etapa.

En el mundo del software libre, hoy tenemos muchos proyectos de distribuciones Linux, con valiosos intentos por asimilar la experiencia de 15 años de reflexiones, prácticas y análisis de la interacción de las personas con las computadoras, como puede ser el caso del proyecto ubuntu.

En muchos otros proyectos, factores diversos permiten que productos muy inmaduros desde el punto de vista de su usabilidad circulen orientados a usuarios finales, desconociendo principios básicos de usabilidad, y omitiendo pasos como el testeo con usuarios y la evaluación en condiciones reales de uso, más alla de la funcionalidad técnica. La diferencia proviene del modo de producir software: mientras que en el software privativo una empresa desarroll un software para convertirlo en el líder en su segmento, y obviamente cualquier desconsideración de las comodidades básicas del usuario le reportan en desventajas frente a la competencia; en el desarrollo de software libre a veces el grupo de trabajo es muy pequeño y sólo busca resolver un problema puntual: si lo hace particularmente bien, ese software seguramente necesitará de la colaboración de sus usuarios y de expertos en GUI para ser usable además de funcional, seguro y estable.

¿qué usar? Diversidad versus simplificación

Otra de las dificultades para empezar a usar software libre se debe a la diversidad de opciones del software libre, que implican cierta dificultad de comprensión en un primer momento para el usuario final. En cuanto atentan contra la consistencia y la familiaridad de lo conocido, también representan una opción que desnaturaliza la percepción del OS “más usado” como “el único OS” al punto de confundirlo con la propia computadora. La diversidad se convierte en un valor en sí, que impide que una opción se presente como la única posibilidad; y a partir de ello conocer, comparar e incluso diseñar el propio “mundo” informático. Esta característica del mundo del software libre es muy estimulante para los productores culturales porque amplia el rango de opciones enormemente, permitiendo explorar desarrollos muy específicos, lúdicos, experimentales en los que los artistas podemos descubrir usos insospechados e incluso colaborar en bifurcaciones del software con los informáticos.

El software libre instala nuevamente en el escenario informático la diversidad de las primeras épocas del ordenador personal, en los años 80. En aquel entonces, la usabilidad, la simplificación y la unificación de criterios era vital para permitir el acceso a los usuarios no-informáticos, que significó la construcción de monopolios millonarios basados en la venta de los desarrollos de interfases gráficas de usuarios obtenidas en sucesivas copias (la saga Xerox-Apple-Microsoft). Hoy estos mismos usuarios, podemos elegir un modelo de desarrollo de software abierto, participativo y adaptable a nuestras necesidades, idiosincracia y presupuesto, que nos permite recordar desde sus diferencias que no se trata de un producto natural ni único sino de uno construido, histórico y en permanente avance como cualquier otra manifestación del conocimiento.

El estado experimental de estos desarrollos lo convierte en un terreno políticamente fértil, en el cual los artistas podemos contribuir efectivamente a la construcción de modos alternativos de producción y circulación cultural.

Lila Pagola

octubre 2007

Una primera versión de este texto se publicó en “Instalando: arte y cultura digital”. Editado por Troyano. Chile. 2007.

Una versión reducidad y adaptada a presentación en pantalla se encuentra en

Este texto se encuentra bajo una licencia Creative Commons Argentina Atribución-No Comercial-Compartir Obras Derivadas Igual 2.5

Puede ser copiado y modificado mientras se comparta en las mismas condiciones y se cite su origen, manteniendo visible esta licencia.

1 Vilem Flusser: Hacia una filosofía de la fotografía . Edit. Trillas. México. 1990.

2 ver Benjamin, W. El autor como productor. (1934)

REVIEW: Amsterdam Realtime, by Ludmil Trenkov

Note: Given the current popularity of GPS systems, NMF is excited to feature this brief review by Ludmil Trenkov on “Amsterdam Real Time,” one of the most important GPS projects in new media’s recent history.

Originally published on Metalocative. Republished with permission.

The introduction of Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) for non-military uses has invited practitioners of many arts to conceive and implement new and interesting ways of use. The GPS technology helps locate one’s position in the world. When that position is continuously tracked and charted digitally – a trace-map is born, which is typically a record of one’s daily special whereabouts.

Amsterdam RealTime is a trace-map concept recording the movements of volunteers who were asked to carry a GPS enabled wireless transmitter with them. The map is closer to the record of psychogeographic experience than a precise cartography. The whereabouts of users were recorded over time and compiled together on a screen.

Amsterdam RealTime was commissioned for the exhibition Maps of Amsterdam 1866-2000 at the Amsterdam City Archive and was produced by Waag Society and Esther Polak. From October 3 to December 1, 2002 all Amsterdam residents were invited to participate to create a contemporary version of a mapping experience. The premise of the piece is based on the assumption that all citizens of the city hold an invisible map in their heads. The project tracked 75 volunteers for 40 days going about their typical daily routines. All traces were generated via GPS and transmitted over GPRS (2.5G) connection to a Waag Society administered server. The traces were drawn as white lines over black background with thicker and brighter lines indicating greater frequency of travel. Naturally, all street tracings started as black screen and were illuminated by continuous tracings of real world activity. It became apparent that different residents “drew” different trace maps based on their means of transportation and purpose of travel. Once they became fully aware of their mapping outcomes some
even attempted to create artful GPS drawings. The accumulative traces of all participants overtime rendered a truly compelling map of large section of Amsterdam, where the most visited parts were shown in red. All participants received a printed copy of their trace screens. The project rose to such prominence that requests from Brussels, Lisbon and Paris were conveyed, which prompted Waag Society to consider releasing an open source version of their software. Furthermore, the project was reconstituted in Riga Latvia, as RealTime Riga in collaboration with RIXC.

Amsterdam RealTime stands out as a seminal project demonstrating keen spatial affinity between urban residents and the city they inhabit. As one of the early examples of GPS drawing concepts the trace images and their method of generating suggested a compelling new way of using readily available commercial technology such as GPS receivers and GPRS networks. On one end the project allows the tracked individuals to become more aware to their whereabouts, on the other it demonstrates visually the commonality of daily patterns, thus revealing a new form of shared experience.

TEXT: Ars Publica – Curatorial Report, March 2007, By Ana Buigues

This text is republished in collaboration with It was released on Rhizome Digest, 4/04/07, and appears here as it was originally posted.

What follows is the curator‚s report on the development of the Ars Publica project

based on the theoretical context for the ¨raison d´être¨ of this project.

The inception of the Ars Publica project started in the second half of 2005, when we, the Ars Publica team, in view of the lack of a painstaking study about the art market from the artists´ point of view, felt the need to fill this void through the realization of a study that would include art theory and case studies in a project that would be a combination between an academic article and an art project. After NKR (Norsk KulturrÃ¥d – Arts Council Norway) approved our application and granted us financial support in January 2006, via the Kunst og ny teknologi fond (Art and Technology Fund), we were able to conduct most part of the research. Bjørn Magnhildøen as net.artist and programmer established the ¨physical¨[1] point of departure – the Ars Publica web site, which includes the net art sale exhibition, the library and the museum. Thanks to Magnhildøen´s technical implementation of the dynamics of electronic commerce the Ars Publica web site is completely prepared for the interaction with the public and customers.

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INTERVIEW: Lila Pagola habla sobre las Jornadas Digitales, por Ignacio Nieto

Origen de imagen y biografia:

Biografia: Desde 1999 hasta la actualidad, coorganiza las Jornadas de artes y medios digitales en el Centro cultural España Córdoba; y en el 2004 y 2005 el Primer y Segundo Simposio de practicas de comunicación emergentes en la cultura digital, encuentros de especialistas en arte, tecnología y comunicación nacionales e internacionales. En 2005 inicia el proyecto Nómade, una iniciativa de migración a software libre orientada a artistas que usan tecnología digital.

Independiente a las críticas que un evento cultural pueda tener, es sabido lo difícil que es de producirlo mas aun cuando este se realiza en Latinoamérica y su grado de complejidad se multiplica cuando este no es realizado en la capital del país. Esta entrevista hecha el año pasado a Lila Pagola da cuenta de ello y es publicada de forma póstuma después de la resolución tomada por las organizadoras de las Jornadas Digitales.

IN: ¿A que se debe la creación de Jornadas Digitales?

LP: Las jornadas surgieron en 1999 en la intención de difundir producción y pensamiento alrededor de arte y tecnología digital, lo que en aquella época se denominaba “multimedia”. El proyecto de las Jornadas está anclado en dos hechos: la vinculación de Sergio Poblete -su mentor original- con el IUA de la Universidad Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona, y algunos intentos de colaboración entre músicos y artistas plásticos de la escuela de artes de la UNC, interesados en trabajar con medios digitales. (1)

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Creative Commons Sponsored Software ccHost Releases Version 4.0

San Francisco, USA – February 27, 2007

Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that provides flexible copyright licenses for authors and artists along with the Creative Commons Developer Community released the ccHost 4.0 today. ccHost is an Open Source web-based media sharing software. This release builds upon ccHost’s novel support of collaboration, sharing, and storage of multi-media using the different Creative Commons licenses and metadata.

These features most notably show up and are tested in Creative Commons’ project, ccMixter (, a popular on-line social network service that supports legal music sharing and remixing. ccHost is the Open Source Software engine powering and which anyone may download, install, and use to freely build media sharing communities.

This 4.0 release is a 2-3X performance boost over the last major version. This release also includes playlists/favorites, an embedded mp3 player, and a remix radio channels for audio content. A new feature that builds upon ccHost’s usage of standards is the “Publicize” feature whereby anyone can include lists of information about their profile from ccHost so that their info may be used around the web in easy-to-use formats. Also of note with this release is the inclusion of the recently released Creative Commons 3.0 Licenses, which are selectable as an administrator.

The ccHost development community encourages new developers to contribute to the project. The future of ccHost is bright with upcoming development focusing on user and admin requests for features like further generalization of media support, better tools to support social networking features, and further language support.

Chat with other developers on channel #cc on, join the project mailing list (, and edit the project wiki page to help shape this project’s future direction (

Project Website

ccHost Download

Feature Requests

Bug Reports

Roadmap (Project Timeline)

About ccHost

The goal of this project is to spread media content that is licensed under Creative Commons throughout the web in much the same way that weblogs spread CC licensed text. ccHost is web-based infrastructure that may be used to host and allow for commenting, remixing, and distribution globally. The more installations of ccHost and its variations, the more content there will be available for enjoyment and artistic re-use in a sane and legal setting. ccHost is what is used for the infamous Creative Commons ccMixter project, which supports legal media sharing and remixing.

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works – whether owned or in the public domain. Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms that build upon the “all rights reserved” concept of traditional copyright to offer a voluntary “some rights reserved” approach. Creative Commons is sustained by the generous support of various foundations including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Omidyar Network Fund, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, as well as members of the public.

For general information, visit


Jon Phillips
Community Developer

Press Kit

Artists and Developers Ally to Boost Open Source Graphics Software. Libre Graphics Meeting 2007 in Montreal, Announced

12 February, 2007 – Building on the overwhelming success of last year’s Libre Graphics Meeting in Lyon, France, key Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) graphics projects are pleased to announce the second Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM), to be held in Montréal, Québec, Canada, May 6, 2007 at Ã≈cole Polytechnique de Montréal.

This year’s LGM provides a venue where FLOSS graphics application developers, users and professional artists from all over the world meet to discuss collaboration, outline the future of the projects together, with the goal of increasing interaction between developers, professional graphics artists and print professionals to improve the steadily expanding FLOSS graphics’ application ecosystem.

This ecosystem consists of open source projects such as Blender –
a 3D creation application, Scribus – a professional grade page layout application, GIMP – a versatile and mature image editor, Inkscape – a user friendly, yet powerful vector drawing application for SVG, Krita – a rapidly maturing “natural” painting application, Open Clip Art Library – a large public domain collection of freely available artwork, and many other projects focussed on graphics creation and editing.

According to Louis Desjardins, a 20 year veteran of pre-press and print production and organiser of the conference: “LGM is a sure demonstration of the maturity of free and open source applications – even at a professional level. Not only that, never before have I seen such a close and amicable working relationship between the users of this kind of software and those who create it.”

Having experienced the whole evolution from camera ready galleys and manual stripping to the advent and evolution of DTP, he states: “We are now seeing Free Software emerge in a domain which was more or less closed before.”

Numerous companies and organisations are showing their support of LGM by means of sponsorship. They are convinced that LGM has a clear positive impact on the evolution of the projects present at the conference. LGM audience is increasing rapidly as we gather momentum. Sponsors have the opportunity to show their support to the community and get appropriate web and media exposure. This year they also have the opportunity to advertise in the LGM Brochure which will be entirely done using FLOSS.

The conference offers presentations of various Free/Libre Open Source graphics projects, technology previews and talks on general issues such as open file formats. There will be informal brainstorming sessions and time for artists and developers to meet face to face and to work on common goals, which is a characteristic of the FLOSS world.

LGM 2007 is putting out a call for participation, sponsorship, and discussion. The call for participation includes the submission of at most 2 paragraph presentation abstracts by interested projects and individuals. All types of presentations will be considered, including topics as diverse as collaboration, power-user art techniques, engineering talks, graphics business best practices, and other relevant topics.

Official website


LGM 2007 organisation

Press Contact

Louis Desjardins

Inkscape Announces 0.45 Release :: :: Draw Freely

Draw Freely: Inkscape Announces 0.45 Release

February 5, 2007 – The Inkscape community today announced the newest version of its cross-platform open source vector graphic drawing software, Inkscape. Inkscape 0.45 features a new Gaussian Blur SVG filter. Sponsored by Google’s Summer of Code program, Gaussian Blur allows you to softly and naturally blur any Inkscape objects, including shapes, text, and images. This enables a wide range of photorealistic effects: arbitrarily shaped shades and lights, depth of field, drop shadows, glows, etc. Also, blurred objects can be used as masks for other objects to achieve the “feathered mask” effect.

Numerous other new features, enhancements to existing features, and bug fixes have been included. A history dialog allows you to browse your change history. Many new extension effects are added including Pattern along Path and Color Effects. There are performance improvements to rendering speed, on the order of 2-3% in general, and up to 5-10% for drawings using heavy transparency and/or radial gradients. Compositing quality is also improved through the removal of banding seen in gradients.

The Inkscape community invites anyone to contribute to the project. The project is now working on the upcoming 0.46 release which will focus on the initial stages of adding SVG animation support, increasing the apps PDF functionality, and other refactoring tasks. On a global scale, Inkscape is pushing for version 0.50 to have full compatibility with SVG Mobile/Tiny. Then, the ultimate large goal is to get to Inkscape 1.0 which will be a fully W3C SVG 1.1 compliant application. The more help the project receives, the faster the aforementioned goals will be accomplished.

Download Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X packages:

For many more details, see the complete Release Notes for 0.45:

Community submitted screenshots:

About Inkscape

Inkscape is an open source drawing tool that uses the World Wide Web Consortium’s ([[W3C]]) scalable vector graphics format (SVG). Some supported SVG features include basic shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, and grouping. In addition, Inkscape supports Creative Commons’ metadata, node-editing, layers, complex path operations, text-on-path, text-in-shape, and SVG XML editing. It can also import EPS, PostScript, and most bitmap formats, and exports PNG, PS, PDF and various vector formats.

Inkscape’s main motivation is to provide the Open Source community with a fully [[W3C]] compliant XML, SVG, and CSS2 drawing tool. Additional work includes conversion of the codebase from C/Gtk to C++/Gtkmm, emphasizing a lightweight core with powerful features added through an extension mechanism, and maintaining a friendly, open, community-oriented development process.

Press Contact

Jon Phillips
+1 510.499.0894

Festival of Creativity and Free Culture 2006

Ljudmila – Ljubljana Digital Media Lab invites you to participate at the second Festival of Creativity and Free Culture, annual showcase of the Slovenian Creative Commons community.

The event will take place on Tuesday, December 5th at the Cyberpipe in Ljubljana and will combine an extraordinary mix of talks, presentations and critical debates with screenings, readings and audio performances.

Festival will present a selection of this year’s production published under the CC licence and other open content. This invitation is open to all the authors, producers, curators, publishers, consumers and other people supporting the idea of free culture. You may also send in applications for works that provoked your interest and you know very well, but were not created by you.

The only condition for all participating works is that they are freely available on the web in digital form under an open licence – CC or similar.

A reader with essays, interviews, critical notes and featured works will be compiled for the occasion, hoping to generate further studies and discussions on the topic of copyright in the digital realm and its impact on the concept of free culture. The Reader will be published online (pdf, CC).

Suggestions and applications can be sent to Please include some basic data on the work: its title, URL, author(s), medium, and the most important bit: your explanation of why you think “this work is interesting”. And, please hurry, because the deadline for your application is on Sunday, November 26, 2006.

Festival is organized by Ljudmila – Ljubljana Digital Media Lab and CyberPipe. Program will be prepared by the following group of participants in the Slovenian CC community: Luka Frelih, Dejan Habicht, Å pela Kučan, Dunja Kukovec, Alenka Pirman, Luka Prinčič, Domen Savič, Igor Å panjol and Jaka Železnikar.

Creative Commons Slovenia is a joint project of Ljudmila and the Institute for Intelectual Property.

Contact: Ljudmila, Rimska cesta 8, Ljubljana, t. +3861-4269530, f.

New Potlatch release is Available Now

John Butcher – Christof Kurzmann
The Big Misunderstanding between Hertz and MegaHertz (Potlatch P106)

John Butcher (saxophones ténor et soprano) et Christof Kurzmann (lloopp et pickup). Lloop est un logiciel libre développé à partir de max/masp et dédié à l’improvisation. Le pickup est utilisé pour échantillonner le saxophone en temps réel. Enregistré en avril 2003 et en septembre 2002.

La démarche de ce duo est singulière. Il s’agit bien de musique improvisée qui ne renie pas ses acquis historiques : l’aventure du jeu interactif et la recherche de textures sonores inhabituelles. Mais avec cette heureuse surprise d’une approche innovante des formes mélodiques et rythmiques. Au long de leurs nombreuses boucles qui s’entrecroisent, John Butcher et Christof Kurzmann réussissent à montrer que l’alliance de l’acoustique et de l’électronique est toujours riche de voies nouvelles.

John Butcher – Christof Kurzmann
The Big Misunderstanding between Hertz and MegaHertz (Potlatch P106)

John Butcher (tenor and soprano saxophones), and Christof Kurzmann (lloopp and pickup). Lloop is a free software written in max/masp designed for live-improvising. The pickup is used to sample what the sax is doing in real time. Recorded in april 2003 and september 2002.

Improvised music with all its historical ingredients and expertise : adventurous interplay between the musicians and unusual sound textures. But the good surprise rests with an innovative approach of melodic and rhytmic patterns. While they interlace their multiple loops, John Butcher and Christof Kurzmann manage to prove that interaction between acoustic and electronics opens new musical paths.