#twig: the first Sydney digital arts tweetup experiment
What is a “tweetup”?
Tweetups are where people who hang out in digital spaces like Twitter also meet up in the physical world. These gatherings fly in the face of diatribes from digital naysayers like Sherry Turklewho tragically misinform society that technology pushes people away from each other*.
As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing more normal in the 21st century than people using technology to augment communication, regardless whether that happens face to face or online (or both at the same time!). Tweetups, blogmeets, etc are just a natural, fun way of networking in an extremely relaxed and ad-hoc environment. They build friendships, share news and sometimes even make deals.
I’ve been going to some of the tweetups in Sydney since I moved here a couple of years ago. Most gatherings are populated by SEO, marketing and other more commercial digital agency types, but to the best of my knowledge there aren’t any arts ones**.
So, it’s time to run an experiment.
As a part of genart_sys | a window on digital culture, artist Julia Burns (pictured; @msjuliaburns if you want to follow her) is performing in the window of the Australia Council. The exhibition explores the generative nature of digital culture and how the creative process evolves in response to audience engagement. Julia’s performance takes the role of an artist in residence (in this case in Australia Council’s front window) where she spends her time arranging her artistic practice, watching TV, browsing the internet, tweeting, following friends on facebook and of course applying for grants from the Australia Council. We can watch her day to day activities through the window, with a live data feed from her laptop visible from the plasma screen behind her, and engage with her through the social media spaces (and some sign language and mime for the hardy!).
On Valentines Day, for example, she decorated her space with love hearts and set up a Skype online number so that prospective dates could call and talk to her about their potential match. In true “genart_sys” manner, these recordings are now becoming material for Julia’s next project…
So what’s the experiment?
I have been wondering for a while now, If i set up a digital arts tweetup in Sydney, would anyone come? So last night, I (@artsdigitalera) tweeted that. Within a matter of minutes I had my first positive reply which resulted in selecting the hashtag #twig *** “Because it references twigs and twigging to something and contains tw & ig so is still slightly pun like” – thanks @tenderosa! A few hours later, we had a second punter, @s_diplomatiKa.
So far, so good. Now to propose an actual tweetup date/location to see if anyone turns up!
The first Sydney digital arts tweetup experiment!
Date: Thursday 10 March 2011
Time: 6pm – 8pm (and possibly onwards…)
Venue: Evening Star Hotel, Cnr Elizabeth & Cooper Streets. 360 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia. Google Map.
Activity: Since tweetups tend to revolve around a bar, we will congregate at the Evening Star, the “legendary watering hole” which recently reopened just opposite the Australia Council’s offices. (Yes it does has wifi). From there we will follow Julia’s performance via twitter, a live webcast and by strolling across the road to engage face to face. Afterwards we shall drink beer and discuss… well… anything you like!
Who should come: Digital artists, people who like digital artists, people who like digital art, in fact… anyone (we’re not fussy).
How to register: Sign up to the eventbrite listing for this free event.
See you there!
Photo credit: Fee’s snap of Julia setting up dating profiles on valentines day.
* I am reliably informed (thanks Twitter!) that she should be filed with Zadie Smith and Baroness Susan Greenfield in the “people who should read Douglas Adam’s blog” category. sigh.
** feel free to tell me if I’m wrong!
*** #TWiG is actually being used somewhere else, so let’s maybe rethink this – ?