Miss Despoinas – Hobart's critical-engineering-space-cum-virtual-hack-space – is preparing to host a satellite event as part of the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art.
Networked Art Forms: Tactical Magick Faerie Circuits is a two-part project co-curated by Miss Despoinas' Nancy Mauro-Flude. The first part will be a series of workshops and talks taking place from May 31 to 2 June at Hobart's CAST Gallery. The product of these workshops will then be exhibited at CAST until the end of June.
Miss Despoinas was founded in 2009 by Mauro-Flude with the aim of exploring the intersection of contemporary and performance art with technology.
"It was influenced by living in Amsterdam and being involved with and setting up hack spaces in Amsterdam for about 10 years," Mauro-Flude said.
"We are interested in supporting artists and their projects, their technical infrastructure needs, and expanding the discourse on tools and the inherent politics that come with them. We observe the space between the production and consumption of technology."
"It's a knowledge-sharing centre as much as a skills-sharing centre," Mauro-Flude said.
In addition to producing art installations and performances, Miss Despoinas exists to educate artists about alternatives to commercial off-the-shelf software, and promotes the use of open source technology. "Otherwise your work gets inscribed by the software that you're using," Mauro-Flude said.
"In the '90s that was really prevalent, with everyone using Photoshop – you could see what filter they were using and things like that. When you're using something [open source] you can literally open up and mangle, you're opening yourself up as an artist to much more wild configurations and really extending [your work].
"You're seeing yourself in a sense in the hardware or the software, because you can imbue it more with your ideas."
The gap between the world of technology and the art world is bigger in Australia than in Europe. "It's massive," Mauro-Flude said.
When Mauro-Flude first gave a talk at Linux.conf.au in 2009 – about her Baglady 2.0 project – "it was like I was an alien who had come from outer space, someone asked me how many of you are likley to come up through the ranks?".
"It's very different languages you're talking; you're not making, say, an application that is going [be] good for the enterprise, but for an art work."
A satellite event of the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art takes place on 7-16 June in Sydney. Networked Art Forms: Tactical Magick Faerie Circuits takes place 31 May-30 June in Tasmania.