VisitorsStudio is a real-time, multi-user, online arena for creative 'many to many' dialogue, interviews, networked performance and collaborative polemic.
Visitorsstudio is a Furtherfield.org project. Through simple and accessible facilities, the VisitorsStudio web-based interface allows users to upload, manipulate and collage their own audio-visual files with others', to remix existing media. VisitorsStudio provides a platform for the exploration of collective creativity for both emergent and established artists from a diverse array of geographical locations and social contexts.
Participants upload sound files and still/moving images (jpg, png, mp3, flv, swf) to a shared database, mixing and responding to each other's compositions in real-time. Individuals can also chat with each other and are located in the interface by their own dancing-cursors.
VisitorsStudio Version2, incorporates new artistic tools and community building facilities. Users are able to schedule and promote their own networked performance programmes. These can be recorded, archived, rated, downloaded and redistributed as screensavers to users' own desktops.
Informal, impromptu and ad hoc collaborations form the mainstay of VisitorsStudio activities. Debates and conversations that start in forums and mailing lists decamp to VisitorsStudio where dialogue is extended beyond text into a rich audio-visual medium. Larger events are also organised that can showcase artists work and/or focus on shared human, political and global concerns. By projecting VisitorsStudio into public spaces: community centres, cafes, bars, galleries, these events can connect communities of people in public spaces around the world.
VisitorsStudio events and projects are devised and promoted by individuals or groups from around the world, providing a platform for both established media artists and first timers.
Visitors can now automatically record and distribute their mixes.
Please visit the VisitorsStudio Archive to replay a selection of sessions that were archived manually in 2004 - 05. They show a number of ways in which VistorsStudio Version1 was used by different groups of people.
VisitorsStudio was first developed by furtherfield.org in 2003 in parallel with furtherstudio.org a real-time, online, artists' residency programme. The idea was to encourage audiences new to media arts to get actively involved in the creative process by providing an easy-to-use, experimental production space live online, which was also a playful social space. Since this time VisitorsStudio has been collaboratively developed by artists, programmers, critics and curators, under the creative direction of Furtherfield.org, with significant contributions by artists and audiences, experienced and new to networked art. This platform continues to grow organically in response to participation and feedback.
...When placing Furtherfield.org's VisitorsStudio in the context of a 'work' (sic) in the traditional sense, one might have a problem with definitions. For example, VS, an interesting acronym upon reflection, is formally a 'stone soup' model. That is, VS acts as a container, connector, and root node for artists and performers wishing to virtually get together and 'jam' online. This is a brilliant metaphor for an artspace informed by elements of rave culture, where in many cases, the participants network, do their own performances, like fire-dancing, trade 'props', and share one another's presence. In many ways, it almost creates a networked 'Temporary Autonomous Zone'1 in which the participants freely trade media, perform, and chat under the loose rules of behaviour established upon entering the VS.
...The mail art projects of the 70s and 80s demonstrated Fluxus artists’ common disregard for the distinctions of ‘high’ and ‘low’ art, and a disdain for what they saw as the elitist gate-keeping of the ‘high’ art world. They often took the form of themed, ‘open calls’, in which all submissions were exhibited and catalogued. Like mail art, VisitorsStudio is concerned with open communication, between artists “trying to develop within an ever increasing and complex cultural milieu...”
VisitorsStudio requires an Internet connection and web browser with Flash Plugin (v8+). The studio is also available as DesktopVS, a stand alone application for Windows or Mac. The studio is accessible over a 56k modem connection although a DSL or faster connection is preferred for synchronous viewing.
VisitorsStudio is a networked application comprising of two main parts. The user interface was designed and programmed as a series of modules, using Flash v8. The backend is written in Perl, using a MySQL database and a socket server to enable live interaction.
VisitorsStudio is a furtherfield.org project and has been developed under the creative direction of Neil Jenkins, Marc Garrett and Ruth Catlow. The VisitorsStudio interface and backend is programmed by Neil Jenkins and the calendar by Atty (Andy Forbes). Special thanks must also go to Roger Mills of furthernoise.org who has organised many of the live AV sessions with international sonic artists and musicians, Chris Webb who created the orginal VisitorsStudio manual, Sim (soy.de) a regular visitor, promoter and bug tester and the many artists who have contributed to the creative programme.
VisitorsStudio was initially partially funded by the Regional Arts Lottery Programme as part of Furtherstudio.org. It is currently being further developed with support from Arts Council England and Awards For All Big Lottery Fund.
Furtherfield is dedicated to the creation, promotion, and criticism of adventurous digital/net art and networked media art work for public viewing, experience and participation to support networked and distributed creativity.
Furtherfield's core activities of review, criticism and discussion are currently sustained and driven by the research, skills and energy of the Furtherfield team, its diverse, international artist membership and audience on a mainly voluntary basis. Furtherfield contributors are employed in the fields of education, arts, technology, psychology and science as well as facilitating creative projects in community contexts.
Furtherfield focuses on network related projects that explore new social contexts that transcend the digital, or offer a subjective voice that communicates beyond the medium. Furtherfield is the collaborative work of artists, programmers, writers, activists, musicians and thinkers who explore beyond traditional remits.
Furtherfield is a non-profit organisation who have been online since 1997. In recent years public funding (Arts Council, BBC, and RALP) has facilitated an in-depth collaboration between programmers, artists, and artist-programmers on specific projects such as FurtherStudio and VisitorsStudio. This has led to more intuitive participation and accessibility for our online real-time collaborative projects. Since 2005 Furtherfield has received funding from Arts Council England to consolidate and develop the sustainability of its activities.