you can relax and be free


I am back! wow! I was never really gone, but I was extremely offline for a few weeks, partly because I had a lot of IRL running around to do and partly because I just kind of wanted to be. as I’m typing this I’m interrogating why I should feel guilty from taking a break from a thing that is a volunteer/donation-based project, along with being behind on other things that I want to do but not right now, so much so that I almost wrote “needed” instead of “wanted” in the last sentence. I didn’t really need to be watching a lot of episodes of Taskmaster on the actual TV in my apartment instead of sitting at my desk with my laptop, but it sure felt nice!

for someone who writes a newsletter about art and technology I have an extremely *~no thx~* relationship with a lot of tech stuff. I have never been a smartphone devotee, and I am still running on an iPhone 7 I bought used 4 (???) years ago. it’s basically just a music/podcast machine for when I am working out and, very occasionally, a map when I get totally disoriented. for years I’ve had this screenshot as my lock screen:

as best as I can tell it’s a game over screen from some version of Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move that is doing the opposite of what that kind of screen should do. you’re out of credits, but Bub is saying that you can just walk away without dumping in more quarters. you can, in fact, relax and be free.

I’ve been trying to use a matrix that is something like “how does it make me feel?” x “what can I do about it?” when it comes to media consumption, and honestly, all of social media, and most of the news media fails with a rating of “terrible” multiplied by “absolutely nothing.” that’s not to say there isn’t news that is important, or that feeling bad is bad, or that I’m advocating ignoring shit. but if consumption only results in hopelessness or fatigue or apathy, that’s worth interrogating a bit.

if you can forgive me for dipping for a few weeks because, well, I was really stressed about some legit things, but I also wanted to sit in a park and eat an ice cream and not look at a screen, you can forgive yourself for not constantly being connected, for not constantly being helplessly outraged, for not being tired of looking at bad screen just because you think you should be. we can relax and be free! Bub says so!

resource roundup!

I’m pretty sure I’ve shared this before, but this short read by Freya Holmér on Bézier Curve is full of delightful looping animations that will help you understand the math behind Béziers as much as they will serve as a nice little focal point to calm urself in these dark times.

I haven’t listened yet, but the new Artists and Hackers podcast has a truly weird website, which has already earned my favor. episode 1 focuses on artists who create their own programming languages. let’s all listen this week and chat about it the next, ok?

here’s some more soothing content – a documentary about the origins of The Oregon Trail. don’t we all need a feel good story about a small team making something unexpectedly iconic? it’s a nice lil 23 minutes, perfect for a lunch break watch:

I love this interactive zine by Jackie Liu on building an under construction mini site. it’s an extremely cute intro to HTML that will actually give you some code that is ready to live on the internets! check it out!

do you want a rainbow-colored terminal logout that will also remind you daily that it’s time for your annual Cowboy Bebop rewatch? here u go.

open calls!

submissions are due by Nov 2 for Diseña’s open call for papers on visual methods for online images:

The 19th edition of Diseña will look into ways of interfacing online visual culture. It will shed light on different ways of reorganizing, reshaping, and republishing visual materials shared online, and prepare them for further analysis and interpretation. It will also focus on the role that algorithmic practices can play in such research efforts: which kinds of collaborations between humans and machines can we envision to better grasp the dynamics of today’s visual culture?

learn more here.

Data & Society has an open call until Nov 30 for mid-career or senior scholars re: defining and shaping a field of inquiry related to new perspectives on algorithmic governance. it’s open to academic and non-academic scholars and will involve commissioning or curating a body of work as a full time role for 18-24 months. learn more here.

MITdesignX, an academic program in the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, has an open call until November 6, for “creative innovators dedicated to improving the quality of life in cities and the human environment.” learn more here.

Hackaday is hosting another Circuit Sculpture Challenge! entries are due by November 10. learn more here.

education opportunities!

sound artist Sam Topley will be giving a workshop on using e-textiles to make an instrument via Music Hackspace on Nov 7! the workshop cost includes a kit with everything you need to make your noisy pompom creation, so register ASAP to get your materials on time. learn more here.

School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe always has exciting programming, but their upcoming 5-week workshop on algorithmic poetry looks especially suited to some of u out there on this mailing list. if you want to dive in with some creative literary uses of Machine Learning, give this a try. the course begins on Nov 9, so hop to it!

also starting next month on Nov 12, CUNA is hosting a 5 session series on the art market in a post-COVID world, as an opportunity for innovation. if you’re looking to dig deep en español on how we might take this as an exciting pivot for the market, learn more here.

? upcoming events!

tomorrow, Oct 28, 6:00PM UTC+1! check out a digital demon summoning tomorrow via Heads Radio in Berlin! spoopy!!! even if you can’t make it to the live stream, the promo site for the event is worth checking out if you need some digital weirdness in your day.

Thurs, Oct 29, 5:30PM UTC-7! everyone is talking about Sara Hendren’s book What Can a Body Do? but wouldn’t you like to hear her talk about it herself? she’ll be in conversation with disability activist Rosemarie Garland-Thomson this week in an event presented by Mechanics’ Institute, Gray Area and Goethe-Institut SF. learn more and register here.

also Thurs, Oct 29, 4:30PM UTC-4! are you maybe a lil intimidate by the command line? now’s your chance to break through that frustration with the help of Tech Learning Collective. they have a workshop this week designed to help you dive into this powerful tool. learn more and get tix here.

Fri, Oct 30! 10:30AM UTC-5! Nina Zakharenko will be giving a free, all-day workshop on getting started in Python, where you’ll walk away with a fully-functioning web application. it’s free! learn more and RSVP here.

Tues, Nov 10! 11:50PM UTC-5! ok ok this event isn’t until December but u need to register NOW bc, guess what, it takes some time to send out scratch and sniff cards to all the attendees! you’ll get to enjoy the first scented animation along with a panel discussion on olfactory art! register for this free event here!

just for lulz!

sad skeleton in a zoom meeting papel picado wins the season:


if you have anything in the works that you are excited about (an event, a workshop, a new project), please send me all the details. if you wanna share links or chat, there is now a Discord server that you can use here.

I am also reviving a very old tinyletter so that I can share more of my personal work, now that I am making personal work again. if u want more Martha ramblings + self-promo, you can sign up here. I am working on some cool new stuff that I want to share w/ u all, but I also wanna keep this space * ~ pure ~ *.

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