wow I don’t even try to think, “this is the craziest things will get,” anymore because, clearly it never stops! somehow, we all just gotta keep chugging along. well, at least a new seasonal concept is upon us, so we have a new aesthetic with which to comfort ourselves. usually I never get tired of the classics of spoopy and creppy, but this week I am particularly enchanted with this guinea pig named Bumbles who is also a witch:
not everything on the internet is terrible!
so I will personally watch any old horror movie as like, background noise while I’m mopping, but one of my recent favs is the Shudder Original™️ “Host.”
I am VERY skeptical (or maybe just disinterested?) in anyone making narrative work about our current hellscape (I already have to live in it!!!!), but I’m also a sucker for anything with ghosts and found footage. and it was surprisingly clever! it’s also pretty short, so you never really get time to tire of the premise, which is basically that Zoom sux. no rly! the best horror movies are always metaphors for the true horror of existence, and this one is about Zoom literally destroying ur body and soul. it does have a bit of violence/gore so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re not into that kind of thing, but it was a decent way to spend 45 min with a glass of wine. it’s available on Shudder and now is a great time to do a free trial and then cancel just in time for Halloween. ;)
ok, so honestly I am like, not won over by the new Quest 2? nice price point, but tied to Facebook? no thx. if u wanna go HAM tho, here’s a open-source headset you can build for about $200 with a soldering iron and a 3D printer. it looks like it’s compatible with SteamVR, so even if you’re just looking to play Beat Saber, this might be a nice DIY project to keep you occupied for the next phase of lockdown. and if you’re looking to have a lot more control over your VR experience in general, this kind of solution might be more up your alley than an out-of-the-box Facebook product.
Clayxels, a volumetric toolkit, has a new v1.2 for $28.99 on the Unity asset store and looks cute as hell. the general idea is that it seems to make it easier to sculpt assets in a more intuitive way, and keep them interactive. or you can just scroll endlessly thru their twitter for all the kewt things people have made with it. you do u.
Valerie Fuchs of Code Cuisine (see below) has pulled together a list of female freelance developers available for work - bookmark this shit! or add yourself to it!! no more excuses plz.
here’s a deep dive into a process for improving strength in 3D prints by annealing them in plaster. this is the kind of wild materials stuff that I luv to put on in the background while I am puttering and will secretly aspire to do by making a massive mess on my work bench. mostly I just make messes! but this process is still rad and is inspiring me to be a lil more procedural with my own materials tests.
can’t get enough Conway’s Game of Life? (looking at u Matthew) check out this new lil documentary by Alan Zucconi:
the AI Lab, led by Ars Electronica, has an open call for a residency on the theme of “SETI x AI”:
Mid-career artists working in the following fields, though not limited to these, will be considered equally: robotics, rocketry, electronic music, theater and dance, bio-arts, digital and data-arts, computational arts, climate-based works, film and photography, philosophy, poetry, kinetic or land-based sculpture, geophysical and geological based works, planetary or astronomical based works, and drawing.
the winning artist will be funded, incl. a production budget, accommodation and travel for the 4-6 week residency. learn more here.
MITdesignX, an academic program in the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, has an open call until November 6, for “creative innovators dedicated to improving the quality of life in cities and the human environment.” ok, that’s a lil vague but it seems like they’re looking for teams looking to develop a venture solution to some problem to do with the future of cities in an incubator-ish environment that is likely a bit more research-focused and academically rigorous than, say, ur Y Combinators and what have you. learn more here.
do you want to get spoopy but like, not too spoopy for Halloween this year? Fantastic Arcade, MoHA, Babycastles, and ATX Game Makers are hosting a Halloween Media Jam on the theme of “Shock & Awwww.” they’re open to any kind of time based media that “elicits a complicated mix of tenderness and terror, adoration and alarm, dread and disarmament.” sounds like a fun challenge! submissions are due by October 25. learn more here.
Hackaday is hosting another Circuit Sculpture Challenge! entries are due by November 10. learn more here.
CUNA here in Mexico has a bunch more offerings for the month of October (Acercamientos a la Razón Científica y la Verdad en Tiempos de COVID-19 sounds… particularly timely), and they’ve also rolled out learning packages where you can pay for multiple classes of your choosing and also get discounts on future purchases and VIP invitations to their events. a nice way to beef up your calendar and an interesting model for bundling classes! learn more here.
📅 upcoming events!
today! 10AM UTC-4! Theorizing the Web is back with “Diminishing Returns,” a discussion on how wealth is created in digital economies:
In “Software, Scanners, and Sharecroppers,” Alif Ibrahim considers workers at the very bottom of the digital production chain. Although their work is deemed “essential for human culture,” the workers themselves are largely hidden and poorly paid. In “Ambient Accumulation,” Rob Arcand uses one band’s lucrative prank album on Spotify as an opportunity to rethink forms of wealth creation that stem from the commodification of digital assets. This episode is moderated by Dr. Britney Gil.
learn more and check it out here.
this week! 7x7 Stavanger is on all this week, thru Oct 11, with daily live streams at 2PM UTC-4. the first 2 sessions are also available via the event page, so you can catch up if u (like me) were doing something else at 2PM. idk what I was even doing at 2PM the past 2 days but I’m happy to have a 2nd chance. check it out here.
also all this week! 12PM UTC-4! Eyebeam is offering multiple sessions this week where you can learn more about the 30 participating artists in their Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future fellowship program. in the final session, they’ll announce the eight artists selected to move onto Phase 2. learn more and register for sessions here. (pro-tip: going to stuff like this is a great way to get a sense of the kinds of projects a particular org is looking for when they have an open call. if u someday aspire to be an Eyebeam fellow, check this one out.)
Thurs Oct 8! 4PM UTC-4! this week, Tech Learning Collective is hosting a workshop on how torrenting actually works, and how you can use it for more than just skipping out on paying for an HBO subscription:
You’ll see how next generation “decentralized” Web applications are making use of the technology, how companies like Facebook and Blizzard, Inc. use it every day, how to make your own “torrents” to share files of your own, and how and why some people take protective measures to torrent more privately.
learn more and register here. as always, TLC is offering reduced price admission for queer-identified, femme, and BIPOC people.
Oct 17-18! Powrplnt is presenting a free festival of artist-led engagement with technology, hosted by the prodigious Olivia McKayla Ross for 16-22 year olds. the lineup of workshops looks great, so share this with the young people in your life (or, just go if ur an actual young person and not just posing as one like me). learn more here.
Tues, Nov 10! 11:50PM UTC-5! ok ok this event isn’t until December but u need to register NOW bc, guess what, it takes some time to send out scratch and sniff cards to all the attendees! thx to friend-of-the-newsletter Jas Brooks for sharing this unique event in the Discord server this week. (p.s., if ur not in the server, ur missing out on some neat events that don’t make it into the newsletter bc sometimes it comes out after they happen). you’ll get to enjoy the first scented animation along with a panel discussion on olfactory art! register for this free event 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. if you wanna share links or chat, there is now a Discord server that you can use here.