>>Please distribute widely<<


There is an exciting niche to be filled. The development of open-source
platforms, applications and methodologies mean that there are now
unprecedented options available to those working with interactive art,
media, and design. However, to make use of these tools effectively entire
skill sets often must be acquired, communities must be found and joined, and
a wide range of technical and theoretical issues must be confronted. There
is no centralized forum devoted to examining the full spectrum of issues
surrounding interactive media tools from the perspective of artists,
designers, and theorists. The tool-discuss forum seeks to fill this niche.
Currently the forum exists as a mailing list -- appropriate topics examine
issue surrounding open-source software, hardware and methodologies from
technical, artistic, critical, and sociological perspectives.

Some of the potential issues we feel worth exploring include:

Begin to question definitions. The idea of "open source" has already been
pushed itself outside the world of software. How far can it be taken?
Collage work from the early 20th century and sampling/appropriation in music
both seem to be significant precedents for a kind of open methodology.

Begin to expand the range of discussion: a huge number of interesting
software packages are out there. But what about hardware? How can we begin
to make physical things and start to interface them with computers,
software, people, institutions, stuff?

How do we choose what to work with, and how do our tools affect us?

How do people join communities of practice based around various tools, and
how can connections be made between different communities? Some resources,
like Processing, for example, have very healthy and active communities. How
does something like this evolve?

How can we begin to provide a forum for people to present and discuss their
work in interesting ways, and begin to make contact with others?
Tool-discuss is intend to be only a first step: in the summer we'll begin
work on a web-based forum. What should that forum look like?

We look forward to lively and active discussion, and further developing
tool-discuss in the near future into a robust clearinghouse devoted to the
intersection of open-source issues and media arts.

Subscription: www.beige-box.org

Liav Koren,
tool-discuss list owner,

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