From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

the digital handmade

curated by Steve Anderson

Skepticism about the consumerist frenzy in the technology industries has led some practitioners to work with low-tech or outdated equipment, deliberately refusing the allure of commercial polish in favor of handmade aesthetics. Many of these self-styled creators deliberately turn to low-tech production platforms in order to make work that is accessible, inexpensive and often innovative in unexpected ways. Each of the practitioners included in this program has developed a unique style that merges the possibilities of conventional art or media practice with a handmade sensibility, resulting in art works that cause us to question the fetishization of high-tech, commercial production.


Jason Wishnow New Venue
In 1996, Jason Wishnow founded New Venue, one of the first non-commercial exhibition sites for online videos devoted to exploring ways that limitations of size and format could prompt new forms of creativity. Since then, Wishnow has been a leading advocate for small-format video using portable devices such as the Palm Pilot. Most recently, Wishnow taught himself to do stop-motion animation using digital still cameras to create an 8 minute version of Oedipus Rex with all characters played by vegetables.


Zadi Diaz Karmagrrrl vlog
Zadi Diaz is an LA-based video blogger (aka Karmagrrrl) and correspondent for Rocketboom, who creates videos about events and people around the country. Her reports range from personal, essayistic profiles of family members to highly politicized citizen-journalism devoted to current events.


Maya Churi Forest Grove
Following her web-distributed interactive documentary about notes passed by girls in high school, Letters From Homeroom, Maya Churi used hand-painted miniatures to construct the interactive story world for Forest Grove. This deceptively simple narrative uses the visual metaphor of a slide show to tell the story of “Charlie” a small boy struggling with painful memories inside a too-carefully planned community.


Alex Itin It In Place
Using low-tech animated gifs and audio mash-ups to create online collages, Alex Itin posts his eclectic works on the Institute for the Future of the Book blog, where visitors can create their own combinations of image and sound by selecting one or more audio tracks to accompany his hand-painted images.


Jimpunk – Pulp
The French net artist, Jimpunk has been finding creative ways to post and combine media online using simple ASCI images, HTML and Javascript. His latest project is a DIY video collage space where users select their own media to create simultaneous and reconfigurable narratives.


Liam Lynch
Perhaps best known for his 1990s sock-puppet talk show Sifl and Olly, Liam Lynch has continued to create a unique brand of handmade media, in which he writes, acts, sings, performs and animates to create children’s stories, music videos, and other forms of genuinely bizarre, low-tech media. 


Redundant Technology Initiative
Members of the London-based Redundant Technology Initiative insist that artistic practices that require fast machines and high-bandwidth network connections simply play into the hands of the high-tech industries as they attempt to create an ideology of need for continual upgrades and planned obsolescence of equipment. Instead, RTI salvages old computers and uses open source or out-of-date software to create and exhibit artwork that is cheap and accessible.


Geoff Lillemon – Oculart
Canadian Flash artist Geoff Lillemon has been posting his surreal art works online for the past five years. He creates richly textured environments of sound and image that are part photographic, part computational, part hand-drawn collages that conjure dark and often disturbing fantasy worlds.


Virgil Widrich Fast Film
Austrian filmmaker Virgil Widrich’s Fast Film is based on an extraordinarily labor-intensive method of hand-made production in which thousands of digital video frames are printed on paper, folded, torn, and then re-animated. The resulting images of rough, crinkly paper-based images contrast sharply with the high-gloss Hollywood films that provide Widrich’s raw materials.


Miranda July Joanie 4 Jackie & Learning to Love You More
Although perhaps best known as the director of the feature film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July has been involved for more than a decade in orchestrating various kinds of amateur art projects and non-commercial distribution networks, beginning with the Big Miss Moviola video chain letter in the 1990s. Her most recent online project, Learning to Love You More (with Harrell Fletcher), provides an exhibition space where anyone can create and post responses to a series of "assignments" such as "Make a documentary about a small child."

Submitted by kvarnelis on April 19, 2006 - 7:28pm

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