Artist in Residence / spring_alpha / DRU /

Posted by tom holley | Fri Apr 15th 2005 8:02 a.m.

DRU {40} / 15.04.05 /
AiR / spring_alpha / April - July 2005 /
Simon Yuill, Ricardo Creemers and Stefan Gartner

spring_alpha is an exploration of software and
social governance in relation to Free Software
and Open Source practice. The project combines
the development of an open software system along
with workshop events that seek to broaden Free
Software and Open Source development principles
into areas outside of programming.

The software system is a networked computer
game/simulation environment based on Chad
McCail's drawing, 'Spring', and the series of
paintings, 'Evolution is Not Over Yet'. The
narrative within the work recounts the attempts
of a small urban community to create its own
'utopian' society. The narrative is used as a
metaphor for the real-world issues the project
explores, and as a focus around which workshop
ideas can develop. The game environment serves
as a 'sketch pad' for testing out ideas for
alternative forms of social practice at both
the 'narrative' level, in terms of the game
story, and at a 'code' level, in terms of working
with the actual data and communication
structures that support the game.

spring_alpha will be released as an Open Source
fully functioning 3D computer game. All the
necessary code, supported by a developer kit and
website, will be available to download to
enable other users to implement versions of the

The project is being developed through a series
of 'modules'. Previous modules have included the
creation of a graphical prototype and an
entirely new kind of 'live coding' framework
that supports the possibility of creating new
game content and hacking and re-programming the
game as it runs. During their Media Centre
residency, Simon, Ricardo and Stefan will
combine these into a 'release version' of the
spring_alpha game.

This residency will be followed by an exhibition
of spring_alpha in the Medialounge at The Media
Centre in July 2005, alongside an exhibition of
Chad McCail's artwork at Huddersfield Art
Gallery, and a series of public workshops with local
community groups exploring related social themes,
hosted by the Culture Company.

Simon will lead a Creative Lab event at the
University of Huddersfield exploring how code
and game systems operate as representational
mechanisms, providing a hands-on introduction
to the media and tools used in spring_alpha's

Documentation and further information on the
project is available at the spring_alpha website.

The development of spring_alpha has been
supported by: the Alt-W Digital Media Fund
[Scotland], the Netherlands Media Art Institute
[Amsterdam], and the Piet Zwart Institute

+ If you are interested in attending the Creative
Lab workshop please contact:


Tom Holley | Creative Director | Media Centre Network |
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