Wed 24 Aug 2016 9:50AM

OS//OS 2016 | Open Session Notes | Art + Design: Creative Content in an Open World

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I hosted an Open Session at OS//OS 2016 with the topic Art + Design: Creative Content in an Open / OS//OS / Digital World. This followed on from the OS//OS 2015 Open Session I co-hosted with @alijacs (notes here).

We were a group of 8-10 people with backgrounds in graphic design, web dev, theatre, music, illustration, electronic sound composition, therapy and more...

The notes below are taken from the mind map that we created. It is not reflective of the entirety of the conversation, but hopefully covers off the big ideas and themes.


'Copy and paste' is OK in open source.

What are the boundaries, possibilities, considerations and impacts of sampling and remixing others' works into your own?

Creators of original works can be hurt by being taken for granted.

Licences for use/re-use (e.g. Creative Commons) need to be respected.

Where does cultural appropriation come in? That is, do values of openness and the processes of sampling and remixing lead to cultural appropriation in some cases?

You have to be able to criticise ideas. Satire is culturally valuable.

How many artists/designers are stunted before they grow because they are criticised relentlessly and unconstructively?

You have to expect other people to be honest with you (you can't improve without honest feedback).

You have to learn how to take advice.

But, freedom of speech includes responsibility. Criticism and advice are ideally constructive and oriented towards making better outcomes possible.


We don't need $Billions to feel complete.

The cult of extreme individualism needs to be questioned. We don't succeed entirely on our own.

If we earn from our art/design we can pursue the values we care about, such as putting the surplus back into the creative community commons.

We need and want more collaborative creation.

We want more opportunities to pursue interdisciplinary works and conversations.

We have different gifts and strengths we can share. We are stronger when we share them.


Art/design work that doesn't pay the bills becomes a heart and soul side-project that competes for time with paying work.

What are the issues for and with collectives and ownership?

Discipline and sub-discipline silos prevent opportunities to connect, communicate and collaborate. STOP THE SILOS!

We need our own conference: participation oriented, co-working opportunities, keynote dancing (not all presentations have to be verbal), interdisciplinary focus, use a space like the Michael Fowler Centre.


'Traditional' web publishing/sharing platforms:

  • Content creators are on the outside looking in
  • We're using the black box of others' technology
  • We do not having a seat at the table
  • We are not stakeholders
  • We have limited input regarding the functionality/usability of the platform
  • We provide the content that creates monetary/reputation value for platforms without having much, if any, say in the distribution or leveraging of that value.

Some platforms mentioned by participants for their potential to enable/support artists and designers:

www.patreon.com - crowd-funding for content creators
www.itsnoon.net - concept: get inspired and give money to the posts you like
www.hitrecord.org - online, collaborative production company

These platforms don't provide all the solutions, but are attempting artist-positive approaches.

Are we satisfied with the current platforms and what they do?

  • What do the current platforms do?
  • What don't the current platforms do?
  • What do we want a platform to do?

What about the idea of co-ownership of platforms by those who create the value? A touchstone was Douglas Rushkoff (@rushkoff on twitter) mentioning this very matter during his keynote interview in the morning.

I (Monica) admitted that this - a co-owned, open source digital platform for content creators - was the crux of why I hosted the event. It's something I really want and have done for a long time. I want to build it.


  • Co-ownership
  • Control/stakeholder rights
  • Financial viability
  • Get together and make it work
  • Working with coders/tech people
  • Documentation and APIs
  • Incorporate open source, virtual reality tech
  • Where/how is it hosted/served/mirrored?
  • Make sure it works for many disciplines/places
  • It is an offline/online network
  • Connect it to the real world (e.g. geo-tagged art supplies shop)
  • Collate the massive amount of legacy materials that are currently stored in physical/digital silos
  • Materials in the public domain - we have to be caretakers/stewards of our inheritance
  • Copyright, licencing, fair use and re-use
  • Collaborating online
  • Talent filtration
  • Discoverability (finding what we didn't know was there)
  • Searchability (finding what we're looking for)
  • Browsability (navigating directories of content/data)
  • Who wants this? We do!

Build It!

Half a dozen people put down their contact details to take the idea of building a co-owned digital platform further.

Monica offered/agreed to create a Loomio group as a new gathering place to make this possible.

The group is here: CONTENTED.


Camia Young Thu 25 Aug 2016 6:18AM

Wow, this is a great idea! and Id love to see this happen as well!

@mecw have you heard of XCHC (Exchange Christchurch)? xchc.co.nz
This is a space we set up in CHCH and are looking to expand to wider NZ. We recently established Exchange Foundation with the aim to further expand our purpose to 'cultivate a creative ecology'. It would be amazing to collaborate with you on this in some way. If you would like, we could have a Skype session just to see if there is some alignment and how we might be able to work with one another. My skype name is camia_young. And my email is [email protected]


[deactivated account] Thu 25 Aug 2016 7:08AM

Brilliant, thanks Camia! I'll be in touch. :)


Greg Cassel Thu 25 Aug 2016 5:51PM

I love all of these ideas. The concept sync closely with one I first developed (my own version of) last year, but didn't directly pursue for various reasons, including my lack of resources to focus on it.

I'm not focused on platforms per se now, but I still think there's huge opportunity to create an inclusively owned and managed co-creativity platform which prioritizes open licenses and public domain materials. Please feel free @mecw to check this doc out for some historic reference, bearing in mind that it's badly outdated in some ways.

Thanks for sharing, and I'll ask to join the CONTENTED group. :)


[deactivated account] Fri 26 Aug 2016 7:03AM

Thanks Greg! I've got the doc open to look at later tonight. And, thanks for joining CONTENTED. :)