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14.5.11

geek in residence, west side.


so, i'm in perth.

i'm working at cia studios, with a bunch of amazing people, as one of their inaugural thinkers in residence supported by the geek in residence program. and yes, for those who have been paying attention, that means that i have been lucky enough to have two bites at the geek cherry. it's a bit embarrassing in a way - there are loads of amazingly smart, techy, fun, enthusiastic tech/geek-types out there who are also ripe for a job like this. but i'm grateful that it has been an excellent fit for me to be here.

usually the first thing i do on a project is blog about it. writing, as a mode of language, defines it for me and i can then, seemingly, get my head around it. thanks to a long time of it being a bit hush hush, and a few weeks of intense working, i haven't and now it's 3 weeks on and i'm writing my first post about it. i kind of don't know where to start now.

so i guess i introduce the band, first:

cia studios is a bunch of people working in interdisciplinary arts practice - performance, video, interaction, sound, online, intervention/live-art, gaming. the works. everyone is super smart, super lovely and pretty keen on doing amazing things with their practice. it's a great place to be.

it's a project of pvi collective, who are stand-out political/public/tech infiltrators with a super-cheeky spirit. hopefully i'm not being too mean to be honest and say that it was only because of their presence in the program that i was willing to put in another application. i've always been a big fan of their work and already it has been a great fit.

i'm sharing the geek thing with steve berrick, who really is the brains and awesomeness behind the whole ship. i'm just the chatty bird who wants to make a stairwell cam. he's super-smart, super chilled and been working with the ololo kids doing some great interaction design, public intervention, cheeky-making stuff for years. it could have gone either way, but as it turns out, steve and i are a killer team [this is where i should link to his post that competely discredits that, right].


where we're headed: testing testing

cia have really encouraged us to think broadly and wackily, but gave us a great structure in the beginning with some clear goals (which we've called the six pillars of awesomeness). i spent the first week without steve, getting my head around the place, introducing myself to residents, asking questions, playing with coloured foam and planning a strategy session with the board (those things were not mutually exclusive).

i think i came up with 50 possible things to do in that time. i may have dug us a grave.

in the last two weeks we've done some pinning down and some knitting together. i put my best matrix/spreadsheet knickers on and set about categorising and sorting and fleshing out all the ideas, how they fit into cia goals, our goals, financial holes and measuring possibilities.

we've started testing types of channels, ways of connection, different tools and reasons for living. we're starting groups to test administrator models, sending out hashtags to see what comes back and what cross-references, we started new weird accounts searched with some painful keywords (i put 'random tv' into google. not a good idea before 10am). so now i'm planning some wacky chat roulette art night, just to see if that works too. we're playing with different colours, wires and lights and observing behaviour in the building.

new online accounts/action this week alone include facebook, twitter, soundcloud, vimeo, flickr, wordpress, instagram, listgeeks, github, delicious and words with friends (that's internal comms only, right).

and for a digital project, we've done a fair amount of paper-based muckin' around and planning face-to-face contact. we've started an afternoon tea, i've made a paper meter diagram, we're planning a bangin' house party. and we're going to run a couple of cool workshops - which i'll post about closer to the date and once we've got some rad flyer.

next: setting the clock

the next task will also be about giving ourselves some key dates to work towards and a nice calendar because i head off at the beginning of august, leaving steve with a pile of half-finished projects and a newborn.

- -  er. maybe i should rephrase that - steve and his partner are having a baby, which will be born very soon, and by the time i leave, he will be focusing on being a new dad. and some of our projects to deal with.
i'm not going to be starting projects, getting pregnant and leaving steve with my baby. that would be weird. and wrong.

our aim and approach

it's still open, but our little internal slogan for the project is building each other the world. it is actually three areas of focus for our project, strung together in a lovely sentence that underlies our desire for technology to help everyone help everyone make interdisciplinary arts practice great and amazing and reachable.

and probably because we are geeks with a healthy level of gen x/y nostalgia, and not business consultants with intense degrees in economics, our approach to the project is firmly rooted in fun and barrier-reduction.
we know it's kind of the 'cool' thing to do in certain circles but we don't care. we're working on fun and cute and totally bodacious ways to cross some of those boring and complacent barriers to time, money and cynicism. and hell, if you can't have fun at the cia, where in hell can you have fun?

until next week..

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*cross-posted at http://www.residentgeeks.net/

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