International Art and Technology Festival & Symposium
3 - 9 November 2000 Athens, Greece
Home > Open Source Lounge

This multi-disciplinary project/event creates a physical environment - an open source lounge - which takes place at the Hellenic-American Union, Athens, Greece during the Medi@terra 2000 Festival from November 4 to 9, 2000.

The open source lounge is a “breathing space” which moves between the zone of being an art production, an art event and a social space.


"Game Patching and Hacking Sublime" organized by Jenny Marketou • new media artist • (USA/ GREECE)

"Outsourcing Creativity? The Audience as Artist" organized by Steve Dietz • Director, New Media Initiatives • Walker Art Center • (USA)

Daily selected game patching/net art/hacking/open source online projects will be projected on the wall, as well as a series of videos dealing with gaming and hacking. Computer stations will be available to the audience for interaction with the projects. It will also be a designated discussion space where the Open Source Forum will take place.

On opening night, Alexei Shulgin’s Open Source performance, 386DX, will be featured as well as other artistic interventions and an OPEN SOURCE /OPEN FORUM DISCUSSION.

The open forum discussions will be open to all and will serve as a platform for the participating artists, activists, curators, theorists, journalists, musicians, etc. to discuss models, ideas and aims of parasitic interventions on the internet, focusing on the question of how “open source” can operate as an agency and aesthetic practice. How can art subvert and reappropriate given esthetics and technologies and what does this mean in culture, in art , in education, in general? What sort of magic do these artistic practices have to offer? How can the mechanisms of free software be applied to other creative media and sources of knowledge?

“Game Patching and Hacking Sublime”

The “Open Source “ definition - to make copies of the programs, to have access to the software source code and to make improvements, modifications and changes- is a bill of rights for computer users. In its original technological sense, the word “hacker” coined at MIT in the 1960’s simply connoted a computer virtuoso. That’s still the meaning enshrined in the 1994 edition of the New Hacker’s dictionary, which defines such a person as someone ‘who enjoys exploring details of programmable systems and how manipulates those systems to his own ends, for his own purposes.

The word “Hack” according to Paul Taylor(1) has acquired an extremely subtle profound one which defies articulation. Hacking might be characterized as ‘an appropriate application of ingenuity”, whether the result is a quick and dirty patchwork job or a carefully crafted work of art. Finally a hacker at the most commonly accepted sense,is someone who illicitly intrudes into a computer system by stealth.

The key social significance of hackers lies in the way in which they embody in techno-culture and over the implications of our interaction with the rapidly changing and evolving information technologies. Setting the original ethics of hacking morality within culture of hacking according to Levy,(2) it can redescribed with the following points.

1 All information should be free.
2 Mistrust Authority - Promote Decentralization
3 You can create art and beauty on a computer

We have been always fascinated by the “black box” and the technical virtuosity of hackers who manipulate them but at the same time we are fearful of their lack of transparency and the fact that our conventional concept of technological experts may be fatally undermined by largely anonymous, uncountable and potentially subversive technological whiz-kids. The perennial nature of techno-anxiety is illustrated by historical range of cultural expressions that give it voice. It is present in the fate of such Greek mythological figures as Prometheus and Icarus; it is vividly portrayed in Mary Shelley’s gothic classic Frankenstein. The Zeitgeist that hackers personify has been vividly expressed in the fictional genre of cyberpunk novel Neuromaster and science fiction films such as Blade Runner ,Terminator and Matrix.

In accordance with modern cybernetics and informatics, information law recognizes information as a third fundamental factor in addition to matter and energy. Based upon empirical analysis, this concept evaluates information both as a new economic, cultural and political asset as being specifically vulnerable to unique form a of crime.
(United Nations, International Review of Criminal policy: par: 85)

One of the glories of the internet is that it can nurture new forms of discourse and production. The cyborg economy of the Internet is based on the access to information. Hacker culture and the “open sourcing” of gaming are thriving online where gift economy of computer game add-ons exchange is flourishing.

“Game Patching and Hacking Sublime” will present net based projects interventions, videos and performances by artists who use hacking methods and open source strategies on line to address “hacking” and “hacktivism" both as an important phenomenon and as a metaphor for how we digitally manipulate narrative and perception through the electronic culture that enfolds around us and how this skillful virtuosity can be addressed in the arena of cultural politics and esthetics in real time. Through “game patching “ and “hacking,” both artists and viewers can participate, allowing for a wide discourse on how to engage action and thought as an “open source”.

Jenny Marketou

1 Paul A Taylor, Hackers, Routeledge Press, 1999
2 Cf Levy’s, Hackers, 1984


“Game Patching and Hacking Sublime”

Participating On-line Artists, Activists, and Curators:

Heath Bunting (UK), Ricardo Dominguez / The Electronic Disturbance Theater (Mexico/UK), La Fiambreras (Spain), Bit Fiddlers (USA), Elias Marmaras (Greece), Simon Poulter (UK), RTMARK (USA), Anne - Marie Schleiner (USA), Alexei Shulgin (Russia), Cornelia Sollfrank (Germany), Eddo Stern (Israel/USA), Superbunker (Mexico), Mongrel (UK), Mathew Fuller (UK), Eric Zimmerman in collaboration with Patrick Heilman, John Sharp, Peter Berry (USA)


“Outsourcing Creativity?
The Audience as Artist”

Organized by Steve Dietz for the Open Source Lounge • Medi@terra 2000

“Technological innovation can not be independent of rethinking social roles and reconsideration of our models. New technologies present an opportunity for change whether we plan for it or not.”

Medi@terra 2000 announcement

If game patches and other hacks are like parasites that attach to the larger Internet/entertainment industry and transform them in the process, many net artists are experimenting with open-ended, yet structured works that invite the user-audience-visitor-interfacer-mingler-surfer-browser to create their own art - and institutions, in a sense - transforming traditional roles in the process. Outsourcing Control presents projects by 7 of these artists, who are creating, in essence, software.

“The avant-garde becomes software. This statement should be understood in two ways. On the one hand, software codifies and naturalizes the techniques of the old avant-garde. On the other hand, software’s new techniques of working with media represent the new avant-garde of the meta-media society”

In his important essay “Avant-garde as Software”, media theorist Lev Manovich argues that the concerns of the new media avant-garde have shifted from (fixed) representation to “new ways of accessing and manipulating information.” It is about process, and the way this process is instantiated is in what might be called “algorithmic interactivty.” In other words, software, which, as often as not, allows the user to do the manipulating and dynamically access a result, the specifics of which are not known in advance, although the process by which it is arrived at is highly codified by the programmer-artist.

Software, of course, has a wide variety of meanings from, arguably, the protocols underlying the World Wide Web to HTML tools such as HomeSite to Web browsers such as Netscape. Artists’ interventions range equally widely. Amy Alexander’s Multicultural Recycler or Mark Napier’s Shredder use - or misuse - WWW network protocols to dynamically collage web pages different from the intent of their original creators and unknowable in advance by either the artist or the user of the work. The artist group Mongrel created the National Heritage Photoshop plug-in to magnify issues of identity and race and representation, while their “Linker” tool is intended for the self-creation of multimedia hypertext by so-called naive users. Netomat by Maciej Wisniewski and I/O/D’s Webstalker are both alternative Web browsers that raise the possibility of a different world view by providing a different way to view the World Wide Web.

So we must abandon the traditional conception of an art world populated by stable, enduring, finished works and replace it with one that recognizes continual mutation and proliferation of variants -much as with oral epic poetry. Notions of individual authorial responsibility for image content, authorial determination of meaning, and authorial prestige are correspondingly diminished.

William Mitchell, "The Reconfigured Eye"


Paralleling this new media avant-garde work in software has been a 40 year, if not longer, history of the “death of the author.” Hypertextual narratives are the most obvious products of this history, where every reading “authors” a different version of the story. At the other end of the spectrum, with projects such as Douglas Davis’s early The World’s First Collaborative Sentence, the authorship is subsumed in a collective process. here is no single author of the text. And with Lisa Jevbratt’s A Stillman Project for the Walker Art Center, the notion of intentionality is subverted, and authorship is transmogrified into a mapping of collective navigation (what is read). In essence, the software-author reads the user.

The artists in Outsourcing Control do not give up the possibility of a “result” that is aesthetically pleasing, intellectually challenging, and emotionally stimulating. Nor do they renounce the idea of authorship, collaborative or otherwise. They simply shift their focus. They use the computability of the medium to fix parameters, which allow the results to be unfixed. They reach out through the network to create their own context - their own space - for their work. And they require the participation of someone else to activate the mute code of their art. Whether, in the end, this attitude and process constitutes “outsourcing control” or controlling one’s art outside of traditional roles is not as important as recognizing the change and being open to the opportunities it presents.



Essay links


386 DX is the world’s first Cyberpunk Rock Band.

It was invented and developed by Alexei Shulgin in 1998-99. 386 DX consists of one (!) 386 DX PC that performs LIVE with some assistance of a human operator. The band’s vocalists sings with text-to-speech voice while guitars and drums are result of FM midi synthesis. The music is accompanied with generative computer animations that are synchronized with the sound. Over 30 concerts were played in different locations in Europe and the USA with great success. Every 386 DX’s concert questions the current historical paradigm (replacement humans with machines) and always gives positive answers. The band also performs in public spaces as street musician (without operator, in pre-programmed mode)


The band:

  • CPU: Intel 40 MHz
  • Ram: 4 Mb
  • Hard drive: 40 Mb
  • Operating System: Windows 3.1
  • Software: Creative TextAssist
  • MidiArt Live Operator: Alexei Shulgin