The Share Festival Artmaker Bag 2.0. (2018) by Bruce Sterling

The Share Festival Artmaker Bag 2.0

by Bruce Sterling

Share Festival is our beloved Turinese cultural event, where we of the Share Project display technology art to the public in our city. We also take action to encourage the global tech-art community.

Therefore, for Share Festival 2018: “Fr@nkenstein: Il Moderno Prometeo,” we are, once again, releasing our curated artistic tool kit: the “Share Festival Artmaker Bag” in the new “Version 2.0.”

One might presume from this year’s “Frankenstein” theme that our tools exist for raising angry monsters from the dead. That is almost true. However, we always have broader, deeper priorities at Share Project. As Share Festival’s Art Director for 2018, I must explain our reasoning in our curation and distribution of these tools for technology art.

To create our ensemble of tools, we sought advice from technical creatives all over the world. They had a lot to say to us. No technology artist ever lacks tools. They have heaps of fascinating, specialized, arcane, high-tech tools. They possess entire racks of dedicated implements, often unique ones, which densely crowd their studios, ateliers, garages and fabrication labs.

We listened to their counsel with grave respect, because at “Share Project,” a cultural enterprise located in the regional capital of Torino, it is our task to curate globally and display locally. So, we have assembled a unique tool-set for the global tech-artist who arrives, from our planet’s many roads, to meet the need in some local situation.

Our Share Festival Artmaker reflects the demanding lifestyle of the dynamic people who create, interactive art, device art, electronic art and kinetic art. It is a global tool-set for local festivals, designed to be slung onto trains, taxis and ferries, and deployed at exhibits, wherever the artist may go.

This bag carries our Share Festival name, so it should reflect our region’s character. We chose to include some handsome tools from the Italian craft tradition, and especially, from Turin’s long industrial tradition.

Our first Artmaker Bag, from last year, was a chic Italian shoulder-bag, suitable for software artists. This new 2.0 version is a full-scale, analog, engineer’s backpack. Since our theme for 2018 is “Frankenstein,” we choose to err on the side of the rugged and heavy-duty.

Our Artmaker 2.0 serves the global artist on the move. Whenever your large, delicate, complex art-device or installation snaps, breaks, shorts out, malfunctions or simply goes berserk in public, the Share Festival Artmaker backpack will have your back.

After 13 years of hosting machine art here in the venues of Turin, we understand the mortal frailty of these particular creations. Our Artmaker is a portable Frankenstein clinic with specialized resuscitation instruments scaling from tweezers to claw-hammers. In skilled hands, it should bring the deadest work of tech-art back to life in a jiffy.

After much debate, we have decided to give artists long-lasting tools, rather than ephemeral art supplies. We adore electronics at Share Festival, so our Artmaker contains long-lasting, fully-functional tools for manipulating electronics, such as a multimeter, a soldering iron and a small yet potent multi-limbed assembly station.

We have deliberately chosen not to offer any disposable electronic components, such as a stock of capacitors, switches or LED strips. Our Artmaker is not an educational kit. Our Artmaker serves the real-world needs of seasoned veterans, world-class creatives who are already on the road to carry the torch for their personal Frankenstein.

With that declared, we believe that artist’s proper tool set should have an aesthetic framework. A well-chosen toolkit should inspire a mood of confident creativity.

With its widely variant affordances for many practical technical actions, a tool-kit should invoke a sense of opportunity, and free the human imagination. At Share Project, we believe in the maker ethic, the hacker imperative and the radical hands-on spirit of “Proviamo.” We, as a community-of-practice, should arrange matters so that we can allow ourselves to give fine things a good try.

Finally, and most importantly, our Share Festival Artmaker is a gift. It is not a commercial tool-set, and is never offered for public sale. It is a gesture of public respect, from us, to our artists, and our guests, whose work we appreciate.

As a technology art festival with local roots and global implications, we will continue to assemble new and improved versions of these tool-sets.

These Share Festival Artmaker Bags are the souvenirs of a particular time and place. They are distributed in a chosen moment and in a specific location.

Their contents will vary, year by year, as technology and culture develop, just as our festival varies. However, by offering these creative tools to our artists, rather than static mementos, medals and awards, we choose, strategically, to look toward futurity, and toward artworks as yet un-built. Because, along with our public in Turin, we are curious people; we are enduring; we are inquiring.

What will emerge from our ardently making community and its locus of possibilities? Proviamo!

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