User Manual

Open Source Studio (OSS)

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.

The OSS Multi-site

Open Source Studio includes an extensive Website built in WordPress that has been developed as a multi-site network to facilitate a virtual community of individual sites for artistic research and documentation. The goal of this network is to insure a seamless integration of individual student blogs, project documentation, course material, tags, and social media feeds.  All published material and discourse created within the system is archived and indexed for retrieval, as well as categorized and tagged to accommodate tracking and cataloging trending concepts. The tagging facilitates a collective cloud tag that is a power synthesis of concepts and ideas generated in the course. This WordPress system can be viewed as an extension of the studio environment, a collaborative workspace for the sharing, documentation, exhibition, and publishing of research and artistic production.

The following is an explanation of the OSS menu items:

  • User Manual: This is the document you are currently reading, with information about the OSS site and the Web tools used in the course.
  • Syllabus: This is the list of course topics on a weekly basis (each a blog post), which includes descriptions, readings, artworks for class discussion, and an extended hyperlecture detailing the weekly topic.
  • Project Assignments:  All assignments, including: micro-projects, the project hyperessay, and the final project are listed in the drop down menu. Here you can find complete project descriptions, instructions, and due dates.
  • Adobe Connect: A link to the Adobe Connect web-conferencing platform. See the section on Adobe Connect for more information.
  • Participants: This is an overview of all faculty, student, and guests participating in the course.
  • Flickr Feed: This is an aggregated Flickr group feed used throughout the course, displaying photographic images created by students in the course.

Each student has their own WordPress site within the network. All contents will be public, indexical, and accessible via the Web and accessible via the main OSS site. The result is a collaborative online studio space an archive of students’ creative work, a “data-happening” that can be accessed and analyzed for future study and publishing projects.

Overview of Class Format

Students will participate in the following:

  • Live, weekly, 3-hour class meetings are held via the Adobe Connect teleconferencing system, each student using a microphone and webcam. These sessions involve presentation, discussion, critique, visiting artists and other guest speakers.
  • Occasional individual virtual critiques via Skype, in which students will receive assistance with their projects.
  • Social Media (Twitter and Facebook) will be used for spontaneous dialogue arising from research and production. Students are encouraged to share gallery and museum visits, conferences, or any other work or socially related events that are relevant to the course.
  • Micro-projects are assigned each week during the first half of the semester to engage students in the various tools, platforms, and techniques of communication and production. These micro-projects are often collaborative in nature, giving students an opportunity to test collective processes that may be further implemented in the final project.
  • The project hyperessay is a series of postings for research and documentation, intended to guide students through the creation of the final project.
  • The completed final project and critiques.

The Workflow

Each week, students will keep up with production, readings, writing, and the study of artworks in the following workflow:

  • At the beginning of each week (Tuesday, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM) we will hold a live class meeting in Adobe Connect, when we will discuss selected artworks and a reading that was assigned the week prior. Students are required to prepare for class discussion.
  • During the first half of the semester, there will a weekly micro-project assigned to introduce students to a variety of Web tools and collaborative techniques. These are not “finished” projects, but rather sketches to familiarize students with concepts and techniques related to the net. See Project Assignments for additional information.
  • A project Hyperessay will be assigned over the course of the semester, enabling each student to develop their project according to a step by step sequence: Concept, Influences, Role of the Viewer, Technical Realization, and Conclusion. . See Project Assignments for additional information.
  • The final project will be created during the second half of the semester and is due for the final class. See Project Assignments for additional information.

Live Seminars in Adobe Connect

The live seminars in the Adobe Connect web-conferencing platform are critical to the dynamic interaction of discourse and critique in the course. Adobe Connect facilitates multi-user Webcams and audio, media presentation (slideshows, video, audio, etc.), web links, and text-based chat. Adobe Connect is a virtual space for seminars that attempts to replicate the physical interaction that takes place in a real classroom. Since it is a telematic space, it also accommodates users from anywhere in the world. The following is a set of instructions for logging in and setting user access to Adobe Connect (further details will be added later regarding uploading media and configuring a classroom):

  • Follow the URL to login screen:
  • Use your email as a login and your assigned password (do not enter as a guest)
  • You should see yourself listed in the Attendees as a “Participant”
  • The first time you enter, be sure and download and install the Connect Add-in by selecting the Help pull-down menu in the upper right corner, select “downloads,” and then click on the link to Adobe Connect Add-in > Install Macintosh or Windows according to your computer
  • Once installed, log out of Adobe Connect and click on the link above and this time the Connect Add-in should automatically launch as a stand-alone application
  • For audio issues, use the “Audio Wizard”
  • Additional use of Adobe Connect will be discussed in class
  • For additional help, access help for Adobe Connect if you need assistance


WordPress is used as a Multi-site Learning Management System (LMS), a medium for writing, production, research and sharing. Each student is assigned as an administrator of their own site within the networked system. For each class there is a home page where all student posts are aggregated in order to be accessed. The class page serves as a hub of the multi-site network, including a list of all students in the class, links to their sites, biographical information and other information determined by the course instructor. For additional information on creating a WordPress site, visit the WordPress Support page, where you can find a wealth of information, including the following Lessons for Beginners.

The Hyperessay

The hyperessay is a mode of on-line writing that integrates text, interactivity, hyperlinks, imagery, video, sound, etc. The hyperessay is a shift from traditional writing by giving equal weight to all the media, in other words, the idea is to not be text-centric but rather communicate through the combination of words, linked references, video, sound and graphics. In the hyperessay, media that is stored in the repositories of Vimeo, YouTube, Soundcloud, etc., can easily be embedded in WordPress for purposes of documentation and archiving. The hyperessay also takes into consideration the design sensibility, layout, and readability of the post. The hyperessays are intentionally less wordy than traditional academic essays with emphasis placed on the choice of illustrative graphics, video and hyperlinks to communicate ideas, document research, and develop creative work. The hyperessays are authored as blog posts within each student’s site. At the end of the semester, if you choose, your posts can be exported from the course site and imported into your own personal WordPress site, so that all material can be individually archived. However, it is the intent of the project to preserve and archive all hyperessays and work created within the OSS multi-site network.

Here are examples of hyperessays written by former ADM students:

The Clash of the Avatars

NG Shin Luey

The Virtual Studio

The artist’s studio is a creative environment central to the process of experimentation and creating new work. In Open Source Studio, the studio is viewed as a distributed space, unconstrained by physical boundaries. The following media hardware and software tools will be used during the course of the semester for the purpose of production, research, and dialogue:


  • Computer: Each student will have access to a computer for production and research. A laptop is recommended for purposes of mobility.
  • Headset: For all Skype and Adobe Connect sessions, a headset is recommended for audio transmission and to eliminate feedback.
  • Webcam: built-in or external for video transmission in Skype and Adobe Connect.
  • Smart phone: Each student is encouraged to have access to an iPhone or phone with Android OS, with a minimum 720p video camera.
  • Digital photo camera
  • iPad (optional)

Communications Software:

  • Skype: an individual account is required and it is recommended to use the latest version. Be sure you are able to switch between live camera and desktop, in order to facilitate virtual critiques with faculty, visiting artists, and special guests. Skype can also be used for inter-studio communication, and for projects that require live transmission. The iPhone, Android or iPad OS Skype app is useful for remote or distributed performance projects.
  • Adobe Connect: Live, weekly sessions on Tuesday from 7:30 – 10:30 PM will be held in Adobe Connect, as well as special sessions with visiting artists and other guests. See above for instructions on logging in and setting up. Access help for Adobe Connect if you need additional assistance.
  • WordPress: This is the heart of Open Source Studio, a medium for writing, production, research and sharing. Each student will be provided their own site within what is called a multi-site network, which allows them to design their own workspace with any theme they choose.
  • Facebook: The OSS NTU Group page has been setup as a private space for students to share ideas, events, and to organize its own gatherings. Facebook will be used as a medium for discussion that extends the beyond current students, involving other NTU students who have taken the course in previous semesters. Be sure you have a personal Facebook accounts before receiving an invitation to join the group page.

Media Repositories:

  • Vimeo: Each student will setup a Vimeo account to store, organize, and embed video media in WordPress throughout the course. Although Vimeo Plus is recommended for typical usage, the free version is sufficient for the course. Vimeo has advanced features for organizing media into channels, albums, and groups, and the quality of its encoding is superior to YouTube. Vimeo is also used extensively for social media sharing and Web embedding.
  • Soundcloud: This is the de facto standard for storing, organizing and distributing audio media. Soundcloud has a waveform interface and player widgets for embedding into WordPress and Web pages. The free version of Soundcloud is sufficient for the project. One of the key attributes of Soundcloud is its integration with social media, and there is an extensive community of audio artists in the Soundcloud community. Soundcloud also integrates with the iPhone or Android OS phone for remote, distributed audio recording. Everyone will have their own Soundcloud account.
  • Flickr: This popular image database will be used as a central media repository for storing and cataloging images. Flickr is particularly useful because it can be used to stream images into WordPress, to facilitate a real-time display, useful for both research and artistic projects. We will use the Open Source Studio NTU Flickr account for the course. At the beginning of the semester, each student will establish a Flickr account and join the OSS NTU group.
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