NZOSA Finalists Part 7: Open Source use in the Arts
Over the next two months we'll be featuring the finalists from each category in the 2021 New Zealand Open Source Awards, preceding the February 2022 gala dinner and award announcements. Congratulations to all the finalists, and we look forward to celebrating all your valuable work at the gala dinner in February 2022.
Open Source use in the Arts
Whakamahi Pūmanawa Herekore i Ngā Toi
Julian Oliver with Electromagnetic Geographies(external link)(external link)
With Electromagnetic Geographies, Julian Oliver invited artists to a one-week workshop in which he introduced open source tools to reveal the invisible electromagnetic spectrum in Wellington and guided participants through building their own devices to discover unseen infrastructure.
The workshop was followed by an exhibition in an inner-city space utilising the diverse electronic networks traversing through the city to create a wider awareness of the spectral infrastructures being used to study us, and how this domain can be employed as a material in creative and critical practices.
At the heart of the workshop and the exhibition sits the Linux-based operating system “Electromagnetic Geographies” that allowed the participants from a diversity of backgrounds to engage with highly complex material in an accessible manner, celebrating open-source technology as a means to advance artistic production and activism in the radio spectrum.
This innovation means that users can view and run example code online without copy-pasting it into the Processing IDE.
Tristan also created the first Processing Python Mode 'cheat sheet'—a printable document to assist beginner-to-intermediate users—using open-source design software and releasing the source files for anybody to modify.
Vicki Smith(external link) and Breathe, an Artist contribution to urban waterway engagement(external link)
Breathe is an art, science and technology collaboration which takes the form of a visual representation of the temperature of water along the length of Te Wairepo (York Stream), a local canalised stream, via a series of internet-connected fish replicas displayed in a public venue.
Water temperature directly relates to the amount of dissolved oxygen it carries, and to the ability for fish to breathe. The project seeks to encourage the groups involved to practise kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of their part of the waterway, taking direct action to reduce the temperature and therefore improve fish habitat. Breathe engages with a pressing issue, the health of New Zealand freshwater streams and the wellbeing of its connected ecosystems. Smith engages with this often perceived abstract topic through a combination of art and science, inviting an interested public to understand the effect of human activity on our waterways.
The project combines a participatory approach that is suitable for children, using open source software to create a networked art project that is available to be copied and further developed for other streams.