The Share Festival Artmaker Bag Number Four
by Bruce Sterling
With our fourth consecutive Share Festival Artmaker Bag, we can boast of establishing our own tool tradition, and even venture toward the avant-garde.
Our purpose with this portable tool-set remains simple. We want to encourage creative work in technology art. Share Festival is a festival of interactive art, kinetic art, net.art, installations, device art and new-media interventions. Our city of Torino is also a center of industrial production. So the Share Festival Artmaker Bag is our Festival’s gift to inspire, encourage and, also, equip our guests and artists.
The Share Festival Artmaker Bag is never sold commercially, because it is our festival’s gesture of moral and practical support to creative figures we admire.
Like our Festival, our Artmaker Bag has evolved with the times. Our first bag was heavily loaded with heavy, sturdy general-purpose craft and industrial hand-tools. It was almost a workshop on the shoulder.
The second Artmaker bag was more mobile, intended for on-the-road art-repair and maintenance work.
The third bag was our most Turinese bag, local, elegant, rather cerebral, from a city that prides itself on its official support of every known form of modern artistic practice.
To date, our Artmaker bags have featured tweezers, nippers, soldering irons, measuring tapes, diodes, multimeters, actuator boards, hammers, pliers, wrenches, knives, razors, screwdrivers, thread, scissors, clips…. There are always tools for thought included, too: pens, paper, a notebook, a thumb drive and room for a laptop. The Artmaker Bag is a traveler’s bag, intended for a working artist’s life on the road, at sister festivals like our own.
Share Festival staffers assemble these kits with care and much internal debate. Our curation of tools is part of our effort to understand how the technical artworks we prize are created, constructed, displayed and maintained. We have seen our Artmaker bags used to make art, and we listen to those who use them. We learn about tech-art through involving ourselves in its production, and we believe that a good tool kit can inspire and motivate the artist. Traditional craft tools, well understood and dependable, are of great artistic value. New tools offer new affordances, opening pathways of novel and inventive thinking and doing.
Our latest Artmaker Bag has been informed by science — by instruments designed for inquiry and experimentation. We understand that experimental scientists often struggle, hands-on, at their laboratory benches, in very much the way that other creatives will struggle in their maker-spaces, fab labs, ateliers, design studios, factories and workshops.
At Share Festival, the forms of art we champion are improvisational rather than classical. They are not formalized, they are riotous. They are radical, exploratory and experimental. In turbulent times, we declare our solidarity with investigation, experimentation, scientific research and development, and the search for verifiable truth. Our Artmaker Bag is prepared to meet the needs of the day.