Greg J. Smith
Since 2003
Works in Toronto Canada

Greg J. Smith is a Toronto-based designer and researcher with interests in media theory and digital culture. Extending from a background in architecture, his research considers how contemporary information paradigms affect representational and spatial systems. Greg is a designer at Mission Specialist and is a managing editor of the digital arts publication Vague Terrain. His writing has appeared in a variety of publications including: Creative Applications, Current Intelligence, Rhizome, Vectors and the Handbook of Research on Computational Arts and Creative Informatics.

Greg has presented work at venues and institutions including EYEO Festival (Minneapolis), the Western Front (Vancouver), DIY Citizenship (Toronto), Medialab-Prado (Madrid) and Postopolis! LA. He is an adjunct instructor in the CCIT program (University of Toronto/Sheridan College) and has taught courses for CSMM (McMaster University) and OCAD University.

The Search for a Center: Vito Campanelli's Web Aesthetics

"Why look at Gustave Courbet when you can download free porn?" is a question posed by one of the animated characters in Parker Ito's sardonic Artist Statement (2009), a piece that both mocks and celebrates a selection of trite, blanket statements regarding media art. Ito's humorous animation is one of the many projects enmeshed within the dense weave of Vito Campanelli's new book Web Aesthetics: How Digital Media Affect Culture and Society (NAi Publishers), a sprawling examination of post-web visual culture and the cultural implications of various forms of digital media. While the last decade has yielded a considerable amount of scholarship judging and qualifying online interactions, tracking the transformation of identity and contemplating the changing nature of attention, Campanelli's writing project extends beyond these stock investigations and sets out to identify how the web has altered our means of experiencing and evaluating contemporary art and media. The browser, internet mailing lists, peer-to-peer networks, spam, MP3 files, vernacular video and numerous other everyday platforms and protocols are put under the microscope in the interest of cultivating a broad aesthetics of digital media. While these topical, episodic investigations are generally quite successful, Web Aesthetics is not lacking in fundamental structural and stylistic idiosyncrasies.


Interview with Jeremy Bailey

Jeremy Bailey is a Toronto-based new media artist whose work explores custom software in a performative context. Powered by humor and computer vision, his work wryly critiques the uneasy relationship between technology and the body while playfully engaging the protocols of digital media. Over the last decade Bailey has exhibited and performed at a range of international festivals and venues including the 2010 01SJ Biennial, HTTP Gallery, Subtle Technologies and in 2001 he co-founded the (now defunct) 640 480 Video Collective. I conducted the following interview with Bailey over email and we used our conversation to delve into a number of his projects from the last five years.

Code Crossings: A Review of Form+Code: In Design, Art, and Architecture

Form+Code: In Design, Art, and Architecture is an ambitious new text that investigates the creative exploration of software across numerous disciplines. A collaborative venture between artists Casey Reas, Chandler McWilliams and the graphic design studio LUST, the book presents both a succinct history of computational design and an indexed guidebook of strategies and approaches. Form+Code fundamentally differs from more traditional, tutorial-based books on creative coding by delving into precise contextualizations of the origins of various tangents within software art. The scope of these nuanced discussions is both sweeping and extensive. For example, within the space of six pages, the authors examine the computer as a drawing instrument starting with Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad proto-CAD workflow (1963), then turn to advances within various proprietary applications, which opens up into a discussion about digital representation and fabrication. Form+Code is full of these compact histories, and each is tastefully illustrated with related contemporary projects and (sometimes surprising) precedents and predecessors. Op-artist Bridget Riley’s Polarity (1964) sits in a spread beside Martin Wattenberg’s music visualization The Shape of Song (2001), highlighting the similarities in the graphic language of luminaries from two distinct generations.

Knowledge Work(s): In Search of a Spreadsheet Aesthetics

I sympathize with the protagonist of a cartoon claiming to have transferred x amount of megabytes, physically exhausted after a day of downloading. The simple act of moving information from one place to another today constitutes a significant cultural act in and of itself. I think it's fair to say that most of us spend hours each day shifting content into different containers. Some of us call this writing.

- Kenneth Goldsmith, 2004

While Kenneth Goldsmith's wry statement about knowledge jockeying is directly discussing the plight of the contemporary author, his comments are useful for thinking about other disciplines. In editing this quote, the word "writing" could easily be replaced by any number of verbs (programming, composing, painting, storyboarding, etc.) as we undoubtedly inhabit an era where creative transposition rather than raw creativity can be enough to drive a project. The ctrl-c clipboard, the layer palette in photo editing software and the flash memory of a microcontroller are all examples of spaces that serve as staging grounds for storytelling and crafting aesthetic experiences — these are interstitial zones where art gestates. Goldsmith clearly doesn't approach the creative process with reverence, and his blasé attitude is an excellent springboard into reading contemporary artistic production in relation to knowledge work. An important question: How might we appropriate this daily activity of "shifting content between containers" as a site (rather than a means) of artistic production? This article will consider the aesthetics of the spreadsheet, and act as the first installment of a series that will engage projects that explore the documents, software, interior architecture and politics of the contemporary workplace.

Imperfect Sound Forever

Many scholars within the field of media archaeology opt to focus on the backstory behind an influential medium or technology and map out how its inception and organizational logic (re)shaped the world. An alternative approach is the excavation and arrangement of fringe/forgotten prototypes into an array to problematize dominant historical narratives regarding technological progress. Caleb Kelly's recent text Cracked Media: The Sound of Malfunction uses two consumer technologies, the phonograph and the compact disc, to survey 20th century musical and artistic production. The book catalogs a broad range of experimentation with these playback technologies to create detailed timelines of misuse and critical engagement. In bracketing this realm of sound-producing practice, Kelly proposes "cracked media," a subversion of technological devices whereby " of media playback are expanded beyond their original function as a simple playback device for prerecorded sound or image." Given the prominence of the glitch and lo-fi malformed digital artifacts everywhere from media art to pop music to web video, it is easy to take the aesthetics of failure for granted. The investigation executed within Cracked Media prefigures many of the discussions that underpin generative and glitch aesthetics by focusing on work that foregrounds and interrogates the materiality of two specific mediums. Kelly methodically tracks projects that subvert the CD and phonograph over the entire 20th century and in doing so he builds a fascinating discourse about musical performance and reproduction that is equally comfortable referencing Friedrich Kittler as DJ Qbert.

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mutek 2006 lineup/details

Wed May 31, 2006 00:00 - Wed Apr 26, 2006

For anybody in the Northeast in North America, I highly recommend
checking out Mutek. The festival features Fantastic musical programming
with stronger multimedia content every year.


greg smith




/Press Release/

Montreal, Tuesday, April 25, 2006


2006 mutek festival prelim lineup/details (Montreal, Canada)

Wed May 31, 2006 00:00 - Fri Mar 24, 2006

Montreal, Canada / May 31 to June 4
Presented in collaboration with EX-CENTRIS

For the 7th Edition of its Montreal Festival, MUTEK is preparing a
hearty stew of content comprising many familiar faces and up and coming
names! Like every year, expect more new discoveries, with a host of
artists garnering attention on the international scene who will be
making their North American debut at this year's Festival.
MUTEK 2006 will explore the similitudes and the links that can be
established between Berlin and Montreal, through a collaboration with
Berlin-based Club TransMediale (CTM) - Festival for Adventurous Music
and Related Visual Arts.

Berlin and Montreal are two cultural metropolises that share several
things in common. Notably, the two are both creative hubs within their
regional and even continental contexts. This is analogous to the Club
TransMediale / MUTEK relationship, exemplified in the last edition of
the CTM Festival: last February, MUTEK was invited to participate in a
full day's activities and gatherings under the banner INTERLACE,
dedicated specifically to the interweaving of the networks associated
with our respective events.

MUTEK chose the notions of interlacing and networking as a source of
inspiration for its 2006 edition. This focus will help illuminate and
solidify the rapport between Berlin and Montreal. Ultimately, we aim to
collectively thrive off the ramifications of our mutual events and the
networks that define us. Many elements of MUTEK 2006 will thus revolve
around this dimension.

The first wave of confirmed performers include:


announcing vague terrain 02:digital landscape

Wed Mar 01, 2006 00:00 - Tue Feb 28, 2006

announcing vague terrain 02:digital landscape the Toronto-based digital arts quarterly, has just
released its second issue: vague terrain 02: digital landscape. This
issue is dedicated to and exploration of the landscape as read, written,
and reconfigured by contemporary tools and discourse.

This diverse body of work contains contributions across multiple mediums
by: akumu, andra mccartney, dominique pepin, frank lemire, gavin
mcmurray, greg smith, melanie kramer, michael sargent, nathan mcninch,
neil wiernik, nokami, patricia rodriguez, sans soleil, sarah mooney, tim
hecker, and tinkertoy.

For more information please visit


greg smith


vague terrain - dec. 30 w/ tomas jirku

Fri Dec 30, 2005 00:00 - Mon Dec 05, 2005

friday december 30th...

tomas jirku vs. naw
live - dj / the killer vs. task
dj / ether.mann
video / serial consign

art bar.gladstone hotel
$5 / 9pm - 3am

On Friday Dec. 30th vague terrain is back at the Gladstone Hotel with another night of techno with a special pre-new year’s event with a pair of top-notch collaborations. We are very excited to play host to a rare Toronto appearance by Vancouver based Onitor & Traum recording artist Tomas Jirku. Tomas will be playing alongside long time collaborator and vague terrain resident naw to deliver a joint live performance. In keeping with this spirit of collaboration we will also be featuring a live/DJ set between Adam "the killer" (aka Adam Marshall) and DJ Task. Vague Terrain resident ether.mann will be opening the night up with a DJ set and animation and flash video will be provided by serial consign. Extensive artist information and MP3's are available on our events page at

It's also worth mentioning that Tomas Jirku contributed an EP worth of material to the first issue of our new digital arts quarterly - this material can be downloaded at


vague terrain - 11/26 toronto

Sat Nov 26, 2005 00:00 - Thu Nov 17, 2005

saturday november 26th...

tractile - sarnia / year of the machine
intercom- montreal / leson666
dj / ether.mann - vague terrain
video / neil wiernik - vague terrain

art bar.gladstone hotel
$5 / 9pm - 2am

Our next event will take place on Saturday November 26th and will feature live performances from the Sarnia based minimal techno outfit Tractile and Intercom from Montreal. Tractile produce deep minimal techno in line with the sounds being released on m_nus & ghostly international right now. Intercom are a wild 3-piece glitch funk band from Montreal that reference experimental electronic mainstays like Autechre & Mouse on Mars but are far from derivative. Supporting these acts will be a DJ set by ether.mann, and video by Neil Wiernik. Full details, artist information & MP3's are available at