Open Source Studio


Week 2: August 20 – 26

Open Source Studio (OSS) has been designed as an immersive experience in the use of online tools for creative work, research, learning, and collaboration. We will take a close look at the history and concept of open source thinking, and how peer-to-peer methods of collaboration, openness, and transparency can be applied to the studio arts. Of particular interest is the cultural impact of open source methods, how techniques that encourage free sharing of information and the peer-to-peer process might inform and enrich our creative practice as artists. We will also review the OSS User Manual, exploring specific techniques and strategies for online research and documentation. In order to work collectively in the OSS Website, we will cover a range of practices for working in the WordPress multi-site . Each student will learn techniques for organizing their work, designing their site, customizing the interface, and making creative use of the OSS database for the creation of collective narrative forms.



Due: August 27


Davis, D. (1991-95) “The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction”, Whitney Museum of Art

Micro-project II:  The Collective Body

We will create a “collective body” made up of all of our body parts randomly reassembled and reconfigured into a single composite body. See Micro-project II in Project Assignments for more information.

Research Post I: The Collective Artwork

You will be assigned an artwork to research for a short 400 word hyperessay about the work, the artist, and how it relates specifically to the topic of next week. Incorporate the reading (see above), as relevant, into your research post, discussing how it relates contextually to the work. Use next week’s Lecture Notes in The Collective Artwork page of the Syllabus to begin your research, where you will find documentation and links about each of the works.

Create a new post for your hyperessay on your blog using relevant hyperlinks, images, video, etc. Remember to add a featured image and to use the “Research” category. You will be expected to share your research post in next week’s class discussion. Post a comment on at least one other research post prior to the following class.

NOTE: If you missed the first class, be sure and complete last week’s assignments.


Hyperlecture Week 2: The Open Source Studio

OSS Workshop

Be sure everyone is able to navigate the class site, follow upcoming assignments, check ntu email for announcements, and reference online materials such as the OSS User Manual.

Review last week’s WordPress installation and create for any new students. This week we will go over the following:

  • Be sure and approve all comments as soon as possible.
  • You are now subscribed to the course site and will be receiving announcements.
  • Permalinks: Settings/Permalinks
  • Create blog title in the profile.
  • Add link back to Class site in WordPress menu
  • Using tags and understanding the database function of the Global Tag Widget in relation to the multi-site network. See the tag section in Creating a Post in the OSS User Manual
  • Installing Widgets in the student site: tag cloud, etc. See Widgets in the OSS User Manual
  • Signup for a Flickr account and join the OSS Flickr Group by responding to the email invitation. This will be with your ntu email account. See Using the Flickr Group at the bottom of the Media Integration section of the OSS User Manual for instructions on uploading images to a Flickr group.

Guest Speaker: Prakash Haridas, former NTU animation student


Prakash Haridas, The Subzone 2014

Prakash will discuss his two semesters in OSS, focusing on the creation of the Project Hyperessay and its relationship to the final project as documentation and research. He will demonstrate how OSS attempts to bridge each student’s artistic practice with the tools, techniques, and paradigms of the Internet.

Review Micro-project 1: Video Selfie


We will review the Video Selfies micro-project to better understand how video and social media is used as a way to share and exchange information about ourselves, our work, our artistic identities.

  • What does the selfie reveal about the author/subject?
  • What is the fascination with the selfie and why has it become so embedded in our media culture?

Discussion of Reading: “Open Source as Culture/Culture as Open Source“, Sida Vaidhyanathan


Some questions concerning open source ideology to consider:

  • Why do we think of open source as “utopian,” “free-spirited,” “anarchic,” or even “impracticable?” What is the fear of open source in an economically-driven society that values and protects proprietary methods?
  • What was the impact of Bill Gates’ decision to “sell” software in 1976, when up until that time it was strictly the domain of hackers and software enthusiasts and hobbyists who wrote software purely for purposes of sharing and trading.

“Strong intellectual property rights inefficiently shrink the universe of existing information inputs that can be subject to this [software development] process.”


“Regulators concerned with fostering innovation may better direct their efforts toward providing the institutional tools that would help thousands of people to collaborate.”

– Yochai Benkler, Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School

  • How might proprietary or “elite” control of technology be limiting or constraining to development and innovation?
  • What does the emergence of “peer-production” hardware/software such as the World Wide Web or Wikipedia or Linux tell us about the power of open source ideology? And what is meant by “peer-production?”
  • What is “open source journalism” and what are the implications of participating in the global information ecosystem?

“Creativity as a social process is the common denominator… the act of creation is a social act… a node in a network of relations.” – Vladimir Hafstein, associate professor of folkloristics and ethnology at the University of Iceland

  • How do the concepts and ideologies of open source thinking impact and shape our study and creation of art?
  • How might OSS serve as a platform for peer production that will help catalyze our work, both collectively and individually?

OSS Concepts of Collective Research


The Collective Body micro-project from Media & Performance, documented in the OSS Flickr group.

Open source thinking is critical to the OSS networked practice of art, research, and pedagogy. For many, “open source” is a challenge to proprietary forms of thinking, an activist position, situating creativity and innovation ahead of exclusivity. Open source depends on the ideology of the “common good,” that we are in it together, that we are not out solely for our own individual gain. Collaborative thinking is fundamental to a productive social environment, and in the context of arts education, it underscores the interdisciplinary nature of the media culture we participate in today. With OSS, the open source approach is a commitment to using online technologies to publish in new forms, to develop modes of artistic creation inconceivable without the Internet, and the notion that an educational community can only benefit when the collective process is open and transparent.

No one works in a vacuum: the reciprocal nature of the artistic process, of collective research and collaborative creative activity is essential to OSS. Methods of online writing have been developed to incorporate essential techniques of hyperlinking and media archiving to support forms of online documentation that can be accessed via the network. When the artistic process is approached in this way, each participant has more exposure to the work of others, a dynamic that is fundamental in the studio process. Regularly published updates of project work keep the artist in a fluid mode of writing, creating, and exchanging ideas. Each participant provides a window into their process, which tends to inform and activate the work of others. Rather than the studio being a solitary environment for private reflection, the virtual studios of OSS support forms of peer-to-peer practices that create a more transparent and open space for exchange, dialogue, and critique.

Open Source Culture


The NTU Hackathon brings together students and faculty in the creation of collective engineering and software projects.

The evolution of technological development is the story of open source vs proprietary thinking. It is the struggle between those technologists who are committed to the free sharing of information, and those who sought to make their fortune from new technologies. It is the confrontation between the hacker ethic, those who invent new technologies in the spirit of open cooperation, and the corporate approach, those who work in secret to protect their interests. While early development in technology, particularly surrounding the network (Internet and the World Wide Web), was rooted in open source, non-proprietary thinking, the shift occurred in the 1970s and 1980s when the personal computer industry emerged: led by Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Today there is a growing interest in open source through the emerging DIY movement. This can be seen in the Hackathons, science fairs, and Stem projects that are gaining interest throughout the world.

DIY / Collaborative Art Practices

01_Theremidi Orchestra_U3_23.8.2013_01-photo-by-Ales-Rosa

Sound Happens in The Group! a workshop with Theremidi Orchestra at Eyebeam Center for Art & Technology in New York City. 

Cultural organizations, museums, and contemporary art spaces, have been shifting away from the collection of objects, to the creation of an environment for projects, residencies, and artworks that involve social interaction, that engage the viewer as an active participant, in which participants work collaboratively with other visitors and with artists. This is the art of the social practice, what is referred to as “relational aesthetics.” This DIY, open source way of thinking is becoming more prevalent because it encourages the spirit of sharing and collective action, rather than traditional, hierarchical systems of knowledge distribution prevalent in larger museums. This is a shift of knowledge as proprietary to one that is collectively, peer produced by viewer participants.

Introduction to the OSS Virtual Studio



In OSS, Open Source  concepts, methodologies, and technologies have been applied to our online approach to learning, research and artistic production, as seen in the WordPress multi-site. This Web-based network of sites promotes the ideas of the student as author, collective research, and substantial documentation of the creative process. These concepts are described in detail in the Introduction to the Virtual Studio from the OSS User Manual.

Review of Course Topics

Review the Internet Art & Culture topics with a presentation of highlights of works to be studied.

Final Project and the Project Hyperessay

Review of the Final Project, the stages of the Project Hyperessay, and the process of using OSS online tools for conceptual and technincal development.

Assignments for Next Week

Review assignments for the following week, including readings, micro-project, and research post involving the study/critique of one of the works for next week. Be sure to note your assigned project for the research post.