On the final day of Winter Camp Upgrade! coordinator Kyd Campbell ‘released’ the outcome of three days of hard labor, during which I both heard and witnessed that some moments of crisis were overcome. Kyd clarified a point-to-point summary posted on the Upgrade! Wiki, which is showing some concrete progress made during the Winter Camp get together. Signaling the becoming of a proper organized network that aims at the unification of art and technology, and the bridging of cultural divides.
Before presenting the points made, it’s Kyd’s first remark that deserves to be highlighted. It brings out an important strength as well as weakness of the Upgrade! Network, certain qualities realized by the group during Winter Camp activity. Namely, that it’s the collaboration within the local nodes that forms the strongest part of the network, harboring most of the activity, while communication about local activities on the International level of the network often is lacking, signaling a crisis in both local and international network identity. But now this network ‘error’ is detected, time has come to strengthen the local to the international, and vice versa. It’s time for interaction and the Wiki summary indicates it’s happening! And as the Wiki pretty much speaks for itself, I have been so free to re-map these outcomes, listing the concrete practices of Upgrade! during Winter Camp successively as; considerations, realizations, initiations, collaborations and decisions.
- Consider giving the option for people (organizers/participants) to make their own profiles etc. to dialog online (visibility)
- Considered voting systems, did not like them (central structure and decision making)
- Wanted to be more open, not to feel just like a network of organizers. (opening up)
- Important to share info about our collaborative activities with each other in order to avoid frustrations that the network is not working. Helps with motivation. (invisible networks)
- Realized we must better use our own local/personal network resources to make our international projects visible (visibility). Realized we have many resources of connections to universities (education)
- (Not yet realized) Planned to but did not manage to rewrite our mandate/list of core values (central structure and decision making)
- Started an open mailing list http://open.theupgrade.net (opening up)
- Made some progress on web presence (each node has an aggregated WordPress blog) (visibility)
- Will create a resource list of artists residency and exchange possibilities that exist already in the network (exchange of artists/cultural actors)
- Exchanging and disseminating art works through collaborative curatorial projects (exchange of artists/cultural actors)
- Encountered FreeDimensional, discussed many possible collaborations, especially in Sao Paulo
- Met Genderchangers, possibility for upcoming collaboration in Istanbul
- Attended the FLOSS manual writing workshop (useful for our bi-annual publications?? or more opensource oriented contents)
- Connected with EduFactory + Creative Labour
- South network: as a problematical etiquette, breaking the cliche; making bridges between isolated communities, upgrade concrete projects to link Latin America/Africa by actions, events, network… project on mapping digital art productions and diffusion ‘tools’, networks and cultural actions in under-represented regions, find more other synergies through the network.
- Decided to focus on educational projects using this opportunity (education)
- Decided to form small committees when projects arise (central structure and decision making)
- Decided to leave each city’s ‘main goal’ up to them to decide freely (central structure and decision making)
Although a debate regarding the realization of a central decision making structure is still in process, and definite conclusions still have to be drawn, progress has certainly been made. For the next Sao Paulo event in 2010 separate Upgrade! committees have already been formed, with their own responsibilities, and mandates to make decisions.