2009 Good Stuff

In January the sources for Goto 10’s "Floss+Art" book were released, which feature the expanded version of my essay "Open Source Art Again".

In March I went to the FSF’s "Libre Planet" conference, which was great. Thanks to Mako for the sofa!

In December I went to Goto 10’s "Make Art" conference to talk about Foocorp’s project, which went live in April.

Furtherfield continued to publish my reviews. I find writing reviews very hard, and it’s always good when I get feedback, I think my most popular review on that basis was the one of Pall Thayer’s excellent Microcodes.

CIAC published some different reviews, which gave me a good chance to review work I wouldn’t have had a chance to otherwise.

And I finished a good number of projects, including The Cybernetic Artworld, The Colour Of News, The Colour Of, the code for the Demo Graphic Replicators, and Random Aesthetics.

A big thank you to everyone whose material and moral support made this all possible. I feel very lucky to have got to do so much good stuff this year. I hope to do even more next year.

Free Culture Personal

LP – Libre Planet 2009

Libre Planet was great.

The FSF extended their annual get-together to two days this year and discussed free network services and their high priority projects as well as free software activism. It was held at Harward’s science centre building, which was a great setting for rooms and for wifi but not so hot on food. 😉

I met lots of cool people, and I’m going to blog about what I learnt over the next few days. Before that I need to say a massive thank you to Benjamin Mako Hill for letting me sleep on one of his sofas, to Matt Lee for suggesting I attend the convention, and to the rest of the FSF staff for running such a well-planned and successful event.

Free Culture Personal Projects

Boston, and Libre Planet 2009

Due to an unlikely series of events I’m going to be in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts from Friday 20th to Monday 23rd of March. Amongst other things I’ll be at the FSF’s Libre Planet conference.

If you’ll be in the area or at the convention you can contact me using the comments here,, twitter, facebook or email where I am always “robmyers”, although for email you need to add rob@ … .org .

And if you won’t be in the area but you’ve any questions regarding network service freedom or the FSF’s high priority projects add them in the comments.

Personal Satire

Snow Fail

As Canada points and laughs, another bit of England succumbs to a few centimetres of snow. The bit I’m in, as it happens. Brrr.


Everything Seems To Be In Order

I’ve changed hosts again and swapped this weblog back to WordPress because Matt said to.

Comments have been kept and the archives should be the same as before.

Hopefully a nippier system will encourage me to post more.


Busy, Busy

Would you like to be a GNU webmaster? Let me know if you would. I’m now the chief GNU webmaster. We need more webmasters.

I’ve been coding for various art projects, writing and drawing (yay!) furiously and reviewing books for Furtherfield. The drawings are mostly for a project of imagined Rothko paintings inspired by recent reports that some of his work was hung the wrong way up at the Tate…

I had a great time at a party at the HTTP gallery on Saturday, talking to lots of interesting people about art, games, new media and old television shows. I don’t know how the old television shows got in there.

But all of this leaves very little time for blogging…


Busy, Busy

I’m doing GNU webmaster work, writing reviews for Furtherfield, trying to gather unfinished art projects together for presentation, and enjoying “Adam Adamant Lives” on DVD.

So I’m not blogging much at the moment.


Site Moved Again

A big thank you to Matt for hosting this site for the last few months.

If anything on this blog or the site is broken do let me know.

It should be easier to comment here now, you can comment anonymously again.

Aesthetics Culture Personal

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mac Operator

The way artists make art often reflect the means of production of their age. The artist of feudalism was an artisan or alchemist, the Renaissance artist was adept at mathematics and geometry inspired by trade and war, and Andy Warhol’s factory embodied the spirit of mass production.

If you looked in the jobs pages in the early 1990s, you’d see adverts for “Mac Operators”. A Mac Operator would use the only Apple Macintosh in the company to do design work using Illustrator, Photoshop and Quark at a low rate of pay.

When I got to art school at around that time I begged and borrowed access to Macs to make art using Photoshop and Illustrator. I acted out the role of the Mac Operator (rather than alchemist, merchant or factory worker) without realising it to make art.

The Mac Operator is a kind of knowledge worker. Knowledge work is post-industrial work. Another example of post-industrialism is brand-based outsourcing. The production of Jeff Koon’s artistic brand is outsourced. But Koons is a manager rather than a worker.

Mac Operators were representative producers of mass culture at that time. But Web 2.0 means that everyone can now use a computer to produce culture as part of the crowd. Outsourcing has become crowdsourcing. Mac Operators, like sign painters, are not now a contemporary phenomenon.

I started out remixing images, and I continue to do so, aided now by the Creative Commons licences so beloved of Web 2.0. I am still sat at a computer producing art as an individual, rather than using the crowd to do so. But I am using a GNU laptop rather than a Power Mac desktop system.

The laptop-based knowledge work figure is the “laptop warrior” or the Bay-area coffee-shop wifi leeching “bedouin”. These are the people who start the Web 2.0 companies and web applications that the crowd use to produce their culture.

So I haven’t ended up as far from the contemporary creative practice of computing as I’d feared. And I’m not criticising artists who mimic Web 2.0 strategies without adding anything to them, when I do criticise them, from a position of historical irrelevance. I’m just reflecting a different aspect of current computer-based production.


Back Again

Thanks to Matt for getting the web site back up.