volume 1, issue 2
with Peter Fend
Appendix #5 Brainstorm Cluster, 2002. By Jonathan Phillips, Matt Hope, Nathaniel Clark, Neil Stuber.
The Brainstorm Cluster is an open public effort to build and establish an experimental computational network that catalyzes the theoretical and aesthetic infra-structure and discourse embedded within this technology. While the initial Brainstorm Cluster is composed of a patchwork of "recycled" computers in a resource-sharing network, the intent is to encourage community support and application of shared resources for current and unforeseen cultural research and problem solving.
Once, while walking around the San Diego Super- computer Center it occurred to me - what could an artist, or any experimental creative practitioner, use a supercomputer to compute? How could a super-computer be used to further research into disparate cultural and social interests. Thus, in a true open source recursively asking GNU fashion, it was decided that a supercomputer should be designed that would allow people to mine the "answer" to the aforementioned question. It is a hope that the infrastructure provided by a Linux Computing Cluster, both in terms of computing power and as its existence in research and experimental communities, would begin the discussion and application of new uses of ‘the most powerful’ computers. While this might seem like another example of applying technology to social woes, it is actually of much interest how to conserve seemingly obsolete computers (recycling) and how to use computational units for cultural and social research.
- Jonathan Phillips
Appendix #6 The Los Angeles Art and
Technology Hackers Club
I started the Hacker club this year. The idea is that if you bring together people who are interested in the same thing, they’ll teach each other, especially if you provide cookies and/or beer. I thought it would be a good way to provide support to what I saw as a growing subset of artists who wanted to use technology in their work, and I wanted the pleasure of a meeting people in person instead of over email.
The meetings are very casual; my friend
Tom Jennings and I run them - typically we’ll have a couple
of people demonstrate projects they are working on, the rest of the
time is dedicated to impromptu problem solving, napkin scribbling,
and idle chit-chat.
Corporations posses an ever growing array of legal tools (DMCA etc) that are continually being used to dictate how people are allowed to use the technology they’ve purchased. Modifying technology to serve your needs becomes forbidden. Laws against reverse engineering make this stricture explicit. When power is controlled through the application and access to technology, it’s critical that people not be cowed by the complexities of electronics. In the hacker club, we’re attempting to reassert our right to understand the underlying technical forces of a communication and information based economy.