omg sometimes u just need an IRL book! my fav creative tool this month is the copy of Miscelánea that I finally got around to picking up in a local bookstore. it’s basically a Busytown book of the downtown here, where you can look up just about anything you would want to buy in the index and find the exact shop where you can get it.
I have been working on a lot more sculptural/tactile/hardware-type projects, and I much prefer getting to see and touch my materials IRL before buying as well as enjoying having a kind of improvisational approach to fabrication. this is a dream come true! it feels like a buckwild shortcut to the kind of knowledge it took me about 10 years in NYC to acquire, while still encouraging a lot of legwork and real human interaction. My Saturday morning was coffee + this book, followed by a Saturday afternoon of hoofing it around town to buy all kinds of exciting materials.
what tools and resources are your unexpected delights this week??? and how are you bringing your practice into the meatspace?
soft robotics are fascinating, but a little hard to delve into as a tinkerer, particularly because the materials aren’t as readily buyable as, say, Arduinos. as such it’s interesting to see Arnav Wagh’s various approaches via Hackaday, particularly his experiments using his home 3D printer!
while you’re at it, Instructables has some great tutorials on casting and mold-making that might be useful if you’re looking to go for a more analog approach to making silicone parts.
I feel like every time I dig back in to hardware I have to relearn how to read resistor values. so why do they even use those little colored stripes? this article is a nice lil history of the practice that will maybe help the logic of it to stick in your head a lil better as well.
did u resolve to submit to more conferences this year? I came across this post by Dormain Drewitz while preparing my own abstract for Theorizing the Web (😹) at the literal last minute yesterday and found it quite helpful. if you haven’t written an essay since undergrad/have never written a real talk abstract in your life, check it out! I also always recommend 750 Words if you’re trying to build more of a writing practice in general - it’s well worth the subscription price to just have a simple way to hold yourself accountable to a “morning pages” goal.
I bookmarked this shared doc by Alissa Chan ages ago, but finally took some time to poke thru. it’s a big ol’ list of typography and graphic design resources that are mostly free! if you’re looking to start tinkering with UI stuff or just want some new fonts or icons to use in a project, this is a nice place to start.
Phoenix, Leicester’s center for independent cinema, art, and digital culture, is seeking proposals for new web-based artworks exploring the theme of idleness in online space:
What does it mean to be idle in this post-post-internet world?
How does our time occupy today’s digital space?
Are we being productive during screen time?
they encourage an open interpretation of the theme so long as the work is primarily accessed via a website. submissions are due by February 20, so get cracking! you can learn more here.
applications are open until January 31 for the Artificial Intelligence and Music PhD at Queen Mary University of London. this is a fully-funded program, and I hear consistently great things from friend-of-the-newsletter Lia Mice about her own experiences there. if this feels relevant to your practice, take some time to apply, and I’m happy to connect you with anyone I can as best as I can. you can learn more here.
speaking of Lia, she’s currently recruiting musicians to participate in a 1-hour study that involves performing a new musical instrument. if you’re London-based and musically-inclined, why not help out her research! you can sign up here.
The Strange’s Decelerator is back with a spring program centered around the theme of Earth 1.0:
For the Spring 2020 Decelerator, we seek applicants who are championing and protecting Earth 1.0 through direct action, awareness campaigns, journalism, entrepreneurial ventures, and other creative tactics. Priority will be given to those who can demonstrate the impact of their work, and whose projects would greatly benefit from what the Decelerator program offers: a week of uninterrupted alone time, clarifying mentorship, and an immersive natural setting.
past participants have raved about this program, so if this season’s theme feels relevant to your practice, take some time to apply by February 6. you can learn more here.
Artefact has an open call for their festival of experimental sound, Ten Acres of Sound. they’re looking for noise-makers of all kinds to produce centerpieces for their unusual mix of concert series, site-specific exhibition, and village fete. the 6 selected artists will receive £900 to produce and oversee the installation of the work. proposals ideally will explore locality and community, and should in some way be site-responsive. you can learn more and apply here by January 24.
early program and scholarship applications for School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe are open! the programming for 2020 is a mix of one-, two-, and four-week programs all thoughtfully designed around prioritizing human experience in technology. take some time this week to read more here and consider applying before January 26!
Stochastic Labs in SF is accepting applications for their residency program! residents receive a private apartment, dedicated work space, shop access, a $1k monthly stipend, and a budget for materials. damn! projects can be in any medium, though for-profit ventures are preferred. you can learn more in their faq, and can apply here.
this is for all u code poets out there: if ur new years resolution is to finally finish that book you’ve been tinkering with, brokenenglish.lol has an open call for books longer than 20 pages. it’s worth checking out their site for a vibe check, as well as their current roster of books. send an email to email@example.com by January 23 to be considered.
do you have a fresh game ur ready to share with the world?? do u have a WIP game that u can get out the door by Feb 2? submit your works for the A MAZE. / Berlin 2020 festival! you can learn more here.
📅 upcoming events!
Tues Jan 21! the Institute for Biotechnology/ Bioprocess Engineering! Berlin, Germany: how interested in mushrooms are you??? Mind the Fungi is a cooperation between the Institute for Biotechnology at the TU Berlin and Art Laboratory Berlin and is dedicated to the research of local fungi and lichens. this is an open lab night that will include some short presentations followed by an opportunity for hands-on experiences with production tools. super neat! you can learn more here.
also Tues Jan 21! Bao Hiroo! Los Angeles, CA USA: it’s the inaugural meetup for the Los Angeles Hardware Happy Hour! bring along a project to share, or just a curiosity to see what others are working on. Rheingold Heavy will be sponsoring the event with some giveaways, and you’re welcome to bring your own swag to share. learn more and RSVP here.
also also Tues Jan 21! Roter Salon, Volksbühne! Berlin, Germany: technology researcher and writer Maya Indira Ganesh and artist and researcher Sougwen Chung will be in conversation about their overlapping interests and work on human/nonhuman intra-actions, AI and much more! you can learn more here.
Weds Jan 22! The Lion & Lamb! London, UK: if u got as addicted to Netil Radio as I did last week, u can check out Introspective Electronics IRL in the first 2020 gathering of this platform for deep listening meditations and adventurous dance rituals. sounds like a sonic safe space to center your creative energy for the year ahead! learn more here.
Sat Feb 8! MotionLab.Berlin! Berlin, Germany: bring your pet projects, favorite electronics, equipment, microbial friends, specialist knowledge and imagination to this monthly hack lab from Berlin Science Hacking! all are welcome, especially beginners. the group is also seeking requests for specialized workshops, so if there’s something you’re hoping to learn in the new year, you can leave a comment in their discussion forum. learn more here.
just for lulz!
if you have anything in the works that you are excited about (an event, a workshop, a new project), please send me all the details. the next newsletter will cover the week of January 27 - February 2, but I’m happy to promote events further in the future as well and keep them on the calendar.