What is OSS?
Open Source Studio (OSS) is a collaborative, online software environment designed to meet the needs and dynamics of studio-based teaching in the media arts. The project is founded and directed by Associate Professor of Networked Art Randall Packer of the School of Art, Design & Media at Nanyang Technological University. OSS has been developed as a multi-site WordPress content management system situated on the University network. During the past four years, OSS has served undergraduate courses, Final Year Project (FYP) groups, graduate research, and collaborative projects offering an online social space that encourages transparency and cooperative learning. The project also incorporates live forms of remote teaching, critique, guest lectures, and online events via Webconferencing using Adobe Connect. Open Source Studio is thus a multi-faceted set of Web tools that integrates physical classroom/studio space with the online environment for critical writing, process documentation, portfolio presentation, online conferencing, asynchronous discussion, and social media. The fluid, improvisatory nature of the artistic process is integral to the design of OSS, a virtual “studio of the future” that embraces the network as a medium of creative expression and new pedagogies. It enables interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and cross-cultural opportunities for faculty to explore networked collaborative courses and special projects that dissolve distance and geography. Conceived to emphasize the spirit of experimentation in art and design, OSS is a many-to-many exchange of knowledge and information required in studio-based teaching, amplified by the possibilities inherent in the network.
History of OSS
Open Source Studio began in the fall of 2012 as a project of the Center for Integrated Media (CIM) at the California institute of the Arts. In collaboration with CIM director Tom Leeser and CalArts media designer Nathan Ruyle, the first OSS course was taught by Randall Packer from his studio in Washington, DC for CalArts graduate students from the various schools: Music, Art, Dance, Theater, and Film. Thus the platform was born: an integration of live and asynchronous online tools that provide an interdisciplinary, networked approach to creative work, research, discussion, and collaborative learning. In the spring of 2013, the project moved to the School of Art, Design, and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. OSS was substantially redesigned in the spring of 2014 in collaboration with ADM PhD student, artist and designer Juan Camilo González, to extend the versatility and scope of WordPress as a multi-site online environment. With this configuration, each student participates in a network of sites, simulating a suite of virtual studio spaces that provides students greater creative freedom and authoring capability for collaboration and aggregation of artwork. research, writing and social media.
Future of OSS
The primary aim of Open Source Studio (OSS) is to build on the project’s current development to create a sustainable software platform that can serve the full spectrum of artistic, educational, and research activity in the School of Art, Design, and Media, as well as other Schools at NTU. The next phase of the project is to establish the OSS Consortium, a global network of media arts educators and students using OSS as a shared platform for collaborative learning, research, and project-based initiatives. We are also planning the next installment of our international online symposium, The Art of the Networked Practice, for 2018.