about a million years ago I got a nominal amount of money to do a very facetious art project that I then decided to take reasonably seriously, including doing some real reading of actual books. books! someone, I cannot remember who, recommended Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, but I never finished it because I got super turned off by an anecdote about some MIT undergrads goofing up the research of a grad student because they wanted to play asteroids or something. it was played for lulz in the book, very “ain’t I a stinker?” and not, “wow how shitty that they disrupted the work of a pioneering woman in the field for literally no reason.” they were the hackers, the heroes of the book.
since then, “hacker” has been on my red flag list. there are self-identified hackers who I know and love, who I think are legit and awesome people doing wild and fun work (some of them are pioneering women in the field!!! some of them are subscribed to this newsletter!!!!!!!), but there are also a helluva lot of people who use “hacker” in the same breath as “rockstar,” “jedi,” “unicorn,” etc. either to be generally annoying on the internet or talk about making task manager apps in React. it takes a lightsaber to organize some modules, apparently.
I had a chat recently about a potential project, where I caught myself saying the word “product,” another of my red flags, and apologized to the client. the word feels similarly caught between complicated origins and a total dilution of meaning thx to corporate tech. the person I was chatting with, not a tech person, had a much more optimistic view. “if you’re making it, it is a product. what’s so wrong with that word? it means you put labor and intention into it. it doesn’t have to feel nasty. you can use the word to say what the thing is.”
I guess the thing speaks for itself in the end. some people make a task manager app in React and others put people on the moon.
I am a big proponent of letting constraints guide creativity, so this thread of PICO-8 remakes is a treat. take some time and get inspired by seeing some gaming classics reimagined with a very limited toolset. while you’re at it, if you’re looking for something to binge over the holiday weekend, I got a kick out of Netflix’s High Score docuseries about gaming history. it is very un-stressful and cute!
Paul Ford is the only Paul in computing & technology whose essays I read religiously (sorry not sorry Paul Graham, u fukkin suk!!!!). this one is a lovely meditation on retro computing and friendship and grief. read it! I promise!
it’s ur last chance to check out Olia Lialina’s False Memories, an online work available until Nov 30. after u spend some time in Internet Explorer nostalgia, spend some time in her Vernacular Web. it’s the perfect internet aesthetics deep dive to keep u warm this winter.
prompt generate is a web based application that generates prompts for creative coding using the command line. cute! check it out if u have a lil coder’s block this week.
Advent of Code 2020 begins on Dec 1! unlike a regular advent calendar, which is full of chocolates that u have to wait to eat day by day, this one is full of code puzzles that are way cuter than just like, idk, doing code test drills. I have literally never completed Advent of Code but maybe this is the year! check it out here.
Die Gute Fabrik in Copenhagen has an open call for a remote Writing & Narrative Design Internship. this is a paid, part-time position. you do not need to be based in Denmark, and you do not need to have previous experience in games writing! learn more and apply here.
Meedan is seeking diverse candidates for a senior frontend developer position. I hear that the team is full of thoughtful and kind people who care about access to information, equity in tech, and giving people tools and education for using tech in cool things. what a find! if you’re interested, you can learn more here. if you want an insider scoop, come over to the Discord where u can chat with a current member of the team!
applications are open until December 7 for Collide, a 3-month residency for artists interested in interacting with fundamental research and the CERN community in Geneva and Barcelona. learn more here.
applications are due December 16 for Data & Society’s 2021 fellowship. this cohort will focus on the role of race in the theory, practice, and study of data-centric technologies. learn more here.
goodbye 2020! or good riddance! Hackaday has partnered with Digi-Key to challenge you to show them your New Year’s mood. learn more here.
registration is open for a three-day online workshop introducing the basics of coding through creating visual media, presented by Anderson Ranch Arts Center and taught by Ari Melenciano. all examples and projects will be created with p5.js, a free, open-source coding environment created for visual artists. there’s a reduced tuition option for COVID-19 artist relief, as well as additional need-based scholarships. the series will take place from January 11-13. learn more and register here.
📅 upcoming events!
Weds, Nov 25! 5:00PM UTC-8! the Gray Area Incubator program will be holding an artist salon next week to showcase how artists from their 2020.2 cohort are exploring social critique through art and creative media. learn more here.
Thurs, Dec 3! 4:00PM UTC-5! Eyebeam is celebrating the launch of a new website and workbook for Alt Text as Poetry, a multi-year exploration of the poetic potential of image description by Bojana Coklyat and Eyebeam alum Shannon Finnegan. attendees are invited to bring a favorite piece of alt-text or image description to the event as their contribution to the “potluck.” check it out and RSVP here.
Sat, Dec 5! 1:00PM UTC-5! EdgeCut Performance Series has partnered with New York Live Arts to present the second of three showcases exploring our complex relationship to the digital and how "liveness" is defined during this current moment. this intimate 3D event is centered around the theme of SANITY, and features an array of artists selected from their open call: Malena Dayen, Karen Lancel + Hermen Maat, Caitlin + Misha, Katelyn Halpern + Paul Pinto, and divinebrick + Chris Soohoo. learn more and get tix here! (if money is tight right now, they are offering a waitlist for free access.)
also Sat, Dec 5! 2:00PM UTC -5! the Algorithmic Sound Series will continue with a masterclass with RJ Clark on action based sequencing with Max for Live and Ableton. Clark is the creator of Smartphones, a collection of Max for Live devices that bring new workflow and performance capabilities to Ableton Live. neat! you can learn more and register here.
just for lulz!
workers of the world unite!
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.
I have revived a very old tinyletter so that I can share more of my personal work, now that I am making personal work again. if u want more martha ramblings + self-promo, you can sign up here. I am working on some cool new shit that will be dropping soon so plz sign up!!