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still/open Emerging Technology Lab


ANAT’s still/open Emerging Technology Lab travelled across Australia in pursuit of open access to knowledge.

The Thinkers: Alessandro Ludovico (Italy), Beatriz da Costa (USA), Andy Nicholson (Aust) and Elliot Bledsoe (Aust) stopped in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth (where it opened the BEAP festival); each location began with a free public forum initiating dialogue that was developed in the following two-day workshop. All presenters reflected on open source ideology in respect to their specialised field. Under the banner of Andre Breton’s famous words, ‘one publishes to find comrades’, Alessandro Ludovico introduced participants to modes of collaboration and networking in respect to independent and online publishing.

Alessandro drew on the invaluable experience of 14 years independent publishing of Neural: hactivism, digital culture and media arts, encouraging participants to workshop an open source magazine including questioning production models and distribution. Alessandro also discussed printed verses online publication. From pollution sensors to RFID tagged cockroaches, Beatriz da Costa is best known for her work with groups Pre-emptive media and Critical Art Ensemble.

Beatriz invited still/open workshop participants to take part in AIR (a pre-emptive media project) involving the building of pollution-sensing devices that interact with online mapping programs to describe pollution levels in respect to time and place. Beatriz is well known for enlisting the assistance of plants and animals in environmental feedback systems, her recent work, pigeon blog, fitted pigeons with pollution sensors; blogging in real-time the readings of pollution from their environment. In a pilot for a new work, Beatriz enlisted still/open participants to grow and document ozone sensitive crops. Further details about Beatriz’s workshops can be viewed at

Andy Nicholson, one of the architects behind the open source programming supporting the global independent media network, spoke about his use of open source software to provide an open platform for political discussion and documentation. Andy introduced workshop participants to the newly developed user generated content sharing site software and spoke about his involvement with the Engage Media Collective.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for the creative industries and innovation and the Queensland University of Technology in conjunction with Creative Commons Australia were major partners of the still/open program. Elliot Bledsoe toured with the program, explaining the Creative Commons Australia licensing models and facilitating discussion around the uses and pitfalls of copyright in relation to creative objects. A special issue of Filter magazine to continue the dialogues and debates initiated at still/open was also released.

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