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geeking out

i know that i haven't written a whole lot of blog posts about the last 4 months - i've been erratic, sporadic thanks to being boring and having my head buried in work and writing. i promise to write a little more about what i'm up to at the moment but i've just finished up as full-time geek at CIA, so here's my last post about it for a while.

i'm going to talk less about the specifics, and more about the process - that of 'resident', 'geek' and 'collaborator'.

the resident
despite the focus on remote connections, the act of 'being there' made quite a difference on the place, according to pvi collective (chief tenants) and other regular residents. my excitement and 'doing things' energy is apparently infectious. i was 'around' a lot and participated in discussions and posted things in the facebook group and talked to people and ran up and down the stairs and made coffee and laughed. from a sound perspective, my presence resonated. i think that makes a difference.

and i enjoy being that person too. my 'geek factor' is really less tied up in the technical sharpness and more about being the chatty enthusiast (steve is the proper technical geek in this project). i'm the one who gets excited at the possibility of doing things better, faster, cheaper, collaboratively or funner (word? yes it is). and whilst the concept of 'viral' is one of art in a digital era, it's hasn't got quite the same influence as live excitement. i tell you, i do a mean happy dance.

and apart from me, as a singular person, the act of being in residence with a collaborator made a difference too - together we would work things out, discuss our projects, hypothesise about possible implications. there was a lot of show and tell - steve would show me how things worked and i would tell him how amazing it was. :) on a physical level, i would walk up and down those stairs, forget half the details of what i was discussing, but regularly end up laughing and/or being completely confused about the slightly different angle we were taking on an approach.

i think there's something necessary about the very physically human synchrosies of awkwardness, forgetfulness, laughter, confusion, boredom, procrastination, urgency and randomness. all of those things provide a noticeable difference in a building (especially in a building shared by discreet practices), that the slick, organised, efficient and logical world of digital and online-ness can gloss over. i may be talking through my arse here, but i think it's the balance between the chaos of human beings in a dynamic and the order of zeroes and ones that is going to be the sweet spot of this project.

other geeks may disagree, but i'm wonder if the great things of having geeky-nerdy-thinky-types on site would be lost if we all just organised a bunch of interactive works or applications from our behind our forums, groups, sandboxes and remote connections and just delivered them. like pizza.

to go with the metaphor, home-delivery is great, but how much more amazing is a dinner party?

the geek
there's a whole lot of fun stuff on the internet about geek culture, and the australia council go into their rationale a bit too. but want to go into why i feel the place of the geek in the arts is important. and what that place is.

one of the questions i asked of us, when we first arrived was 'why geek?': what is a geek? and how does geek thinking differ from how a philosopher, theoretician, marketing manager or mathematician might solve a problem? i think i've said before that geeks have a really strong allegiance to fun and pop culture. and collaboration and connecting between existing ideas/networks/tech. in that sense, i would argue that they are the result of post-modernism. i know, gratuitous cultural studies reference. but that's what they bring to the table. and that's the connection between tech/weirdo and art. they are absolutely interested in mashing it, fucking with it, getting excited by it and crossing barriers. whilst they may suffer in the romance department (speak for yourself - Ed), i don't know any geeks that haven't created ways that enable them to easily cross social divides.

CIA was, before the geeks arrived, a place that housed several similar, convergent and concurrent art practices, but mostly kept separate by social divides, disparate itineraries and few ways to connect easily without feeling overwhelmed.

the 'being' element of the residency, added to the action and reaction of collaboration, all under the hello kitty umbrella of geekness has started to spark and fizz in the building - residents are talking to each other, formal collaborations are happening, plans are being hatched and everyone is opening up to new and exciting possibilities of what next. i think that's pretty rockin'.

for those actually interested in how it's all going, follow #residentgeeks and @ciahq on twitter, like their facebook page.  and in a few months' time, when we open up the wiki to the general public and have a brand-new website, you'll be able to read/see more there.



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