As Director at Eyebeam art + technology center, building on the work of the Open Lab and its predecessor the R&D Lab, we established an Open Culture Research Group in 2008 to explore the history of craft traditions, free software, open source, creative commons, and other models of shared, open culture.
Part of an Open Culture, is the culture of sharing, so we regularly organized skillshares about a range of issues: from how to share your wifi safely, to how to best advocate for open licensing among artists and visual makers.
Projects developed by Fellows ranged from Ayah Bdeir‘s littleBits, which has gone on to be a major successful open hardware business, Limor Fried research which led her to establish the highly successful Adafruit Industries, and Zach Lieberman and Theo Watson‘s work further developing Open Frameworks, a c++ library designed to assist the creative process by providing a simple and intuitive framework for experimentation, with the OF community.
Resident artist Dustyn Roberts published Making Things Move: DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists, published by McGraw-Hill in 2010. Fellow Michael Mandiberg and artist xtine burrough published Digital Foundations: an Intro to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Suite with AIGA Design Press/New Riders under a CC license (a first for the publisher.) Mandiberg was also a lead artist on writing Collaborative Futures, a book first created by 6 core collaborators, as an experimental five day Book Sprint in January 2010.
Resident artist Tahir Hemphill developed Hip Hop Word Count, a project which he used as a tool to establish the The Rap Research Lab as a place for teaching art, design, data analysis and data visualization to students using a project based curriculum that visualizes Hip Hop as a cultural indicator.
Exhibitions that explored Open Culture included: Open City: Tools for Public Action – a glimpse into the current media and tactics of artists who take their practices into the street,conceived and developed by Eyebeam Fellows Evan Roth and James Powderly of Graffiti Research Lab; and Re:Group: Beyond Models of Consensus, an exhibition which examined models of participation and participation as a model in art and activism, developed in collaboration with Not An Alternative, and Upgrade! NY.
Significant partnerships included: Open(Art) was a joint initiative launched by Eyebeam and Mozilla to support creativity at the intersection of art and the open web; The Data Viz Challenge, a call to designers and developers to visualize how our federal income taxes are spent, created by Eyebeam and Google; and events such as Data After Dark, with O’Reilly Media to share innovative ideas in a visualization showcase.
Following an Opening Hardware Workshop hosted by Ayah Bdeir, the purpose of which was to create a direct dialogue between Creative Commons and key players in the Open Source Hardware Community, the group went on to draft a public definition of Open Hardware, and to establish the annual Open Hardware Summit as a venue to discuss and draw attention to the vibrant open source hardware movement. Founding partners were Buglabs, MakerFaire, Creative Commons, littleBits, Eyebeam, Htink.