Creating with computers means you are reliant on platforms. Artists working with computers often use proprietary software as tools to create new kinds of art. Such tools are vulnerable, however, as companies evolve and change priorities. Entire genres of art can disappear if their tools and platforms are no longer profitable for their parent company.   

Many people use computers and the internet to interact on platforms such as social media and video sharing sites. These platforms also change as they try to compete for audience attention. What are the risks for artists and audiences when using platforms? Artists, curators, and scholars discuss the risks and rewards of creating on platforms in the programs below.  

Videos

Dragan Espenscheid, Jonas Richner, and Cyril Chen for Gone in a Flash

Gone in a Flash was a digital programs series focusing on the 2020 dissolution of the Adobe Flash medium. Since 1996, Adobe Flash introduced artists and audiences to interactive, animated, and web-based work. Why did Adobe dissolve this tool, and what is its legacy? In this panel, Dragan Espenscheid, Jonas Richner, and Cyril Chen discuss digital art archiving from their areas of expertise. Live-streamed November 28, 2020.

Paolo Pedercini (Molleindustria) for Gone in a Flash

Paolo Pedercini joins us to discuss his practice as an artist and educator and their intersections with the Adobe Flash software. Working under the project name “Molleindustria,” he produces videogames addressing social issues including environmental justice, religion, and labour and alienation. Many of his projects, including the viral 2006 “McDonald’s videogame” were built using Flash and are at risk through the software’s dissolution. In this program, Pedercini presents his work through a lens of culture and access, and reflects on historical precedents. Live-streamed November 19, 2020.

Nathalie Lawhead (alienmelon) for Gone in a Flash

Nathalie Lawhead is a net-artist and award-winning game designer that has been creating experimental digital art since the late 90’s. They have been creating Flash work since its inception, including their IGF winning Tetrageddon Games. Lawhead presents their practice and its growth alongside the evolution of the Flash software, and considers how Flash experimentation paved the way for the popular independent game developers of today. Live-streamed December 3, 2020.

Cyril Chen: Saving your Flash Art from the Grave

In this livestreamed workshop, digital archivist and artist Cyril Chen demonstrates how to preserve your favourite Flash works. Using Rhizome’s free, open-source software Conifer, Chen demonstrates how to archive Flash pages for future audiences to continue accessing their favourite animations, artworks, and games beyond the December 31, 2020 expiry date. Live-streamed December 10, 2020.

What do we mean when we say content moderation?

In this video, Pegah Vaezi and Connor Turland discuss the expanded influence of content moderation through digital platforms. Focusing on how the use of common platforms narrows artists agency as creators, Vaezi and Turland explain what alternatives exists for empowering artists in the digital sphere. Live-streamed July 9, 2020.

Ender Gallery

Ender Gallery is an artist residency and exhibition series that occurs entirely on the video game Minecraft. In its inaugural year, the program hosted four artists who explored the platform’s potential for artistic expression. Over four exhibitions and more than a dozen events, these artists consider the affordances, expectations, and limitations of the Minecraft platform.  Exhibitions and programs ran March 8, 2021 – January 2022, 2022.

Cat Haines, Huidi Xiang, and Ender Gallery at A MAZE. 2021

Ender Gallery’s first and third artists in residence join co-curators Sarah Friend, Cat Bluemke and Jonathan Carroll for a panel discussion for A MAZE. Games and Playful Media festival. In the context A MAZE.’s hybrid media arts festival, the group considers Ender Gallery’s own practices for virtual programming and how artist projects can inform online spaces.  Live-streamed July 24, 2021.

Animation with After Effects

Want to get started animating, but don’t know where to start? This live workshop demonstrations basic motion graphics techniques using Adobe After Effects. Live-streamed April 16, 2020.

Livestreaming for Artists

Digital artists Erin Gee, Dianna Lynn VanderMeulen and Maya Ben David learn how to use the livestreaming software Open Broadcast System (OBS) in this live workshop. Follow along to discover the ways that this program can be of use to artists working in performance, sound, and new media. Live-streamed April 2, 2020.

Resources

Things to think about

  • What digital platforms have you used before?
  • What digital platforms would you like to try?
  • Pick one platform. Make a list of pros and cons for using it to create a specific art project.
  • If you could invent your own digital art platform, what features would it have? What would it let you do? What kind of art would it make?