Begun in the fall of 2012 at the California Institute of the Arts, Open Source Studio (OSS) is an entirely new approach to studio practice and online education. The course is intended as a kind of “data-happening,” in which students are invited to participate in an online class designed as a virtual studio, collective artwork, dynamic publishing project, or as Roy Ascott might describe: a gesamtdatenwerk (total data work).

In the telematic culture, pluralism and relativism shape the configuration of ideas – of image, music, and text – that circulate in the system. – Roy Ascott

OSS had been conceived to emphasize the spirit of experimentation to push the boundaries of discipline and the creative process. Unlike the traditional, hierarchical relationship between faculty and student, Open Source Studio is intended as a many-to-many exchange of knowledge and information amplified by the possibilities inherent in the network. The software environment, customized specifically for this course, has been designed to record, document, archive, and index the intricate and complex process of engaging in critical dialogue and creating new work. It is a truly open system that enables students to collaborate in an unusually transparent and fluid process that is rich in possibilities for research, publishing, and artistic production.

Open Source Studio (OSS) Multi-Site Project

in collaboration with Juan Gonzalez & Kristy Kang

During the spring of 2014 in the School of Art, Design & Media (ADM) at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the focus of the OSS project is the development of The Open Source Studio (OSS) Multi-Site. This configuration of WordPress is designed for multiple classes of students to collectively work across a network of WordPress Websites. As applied to art and design, OSS essentially functions as an online virtual studio environment for creative work. OSS builds on the model of the suite of studios, in which artists and designers are exposed to the work of other students, encouraging the cross-pollination of ideas and inspiration.

Utilizing the open source content management system (CMS) WordPress, along with customized software specific to the project, OSS is intended to provide collective workspace that takes its inspiration from the power of a CMS database, allowing students to easily share, document, retrieve, and distribute their work and ideas across the network to enhance the artistic and educational process. Furthermore, by aggregating and displaying student work in creative ways, both students and instructor can participate in the creation of a vital online workspace that encourages collaboration and cooperative learning through shared research and artistic production.

During the second semester of 2013/2014 at ADM, visiting artist Randall Packer, along with PhD student Juan Camilo Gonzalez Jimenez and Visiting Assistant Professor Kristy Kang are developing a prototype multi-site system that is being used by three different classes at ADM. The goal of the project is to create a proof of concept that demonstrates the successful implementation of technical goals to achieve smooth operation for students and faculty. At the conclusion of the semester, documentation will provide critical assessment of the project’s outcome, along with instructions for future implementation, including how it could be used for the Final Year Project (FYP). It is hoped that the Open Source Studio Multi-Site Project will yield a compelling model that encourages the University to further explore these innovative online educational techniques for broader adoption at NTU.

Randall Packer, Visiting Artist

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