The time has come to shut the doors on Upgrade Vancouver.
Upgrade Vancouver launched in 2003 with a program of discussions and presentations at the intersection of art, technology, and culture. Our mandate has been to facilitate discourse and exchange, to create opportunities for presentation, dialogue and collaboration, and to embrace a fluid model of engagement with evolving local communities.
Specifically, we have operated in these directions:
* To support creative activity at the intersection of art, technology and culture
* To articulate and support an active cultural space in Vancouver where practitioners in media arts, design, new media art, and hybrid and interdisciplinary projects relating to interactive and participatory contemporary art practices can connect
* To reflect the activity of local creative communities and to extend and support this activity through the development of new programs, fora, and conversations
* To span across, draw from, and re-frame the activity happening at artist run centres, festivals, associations, galleries and universities, and to work in innovative partnerships to interweave and re-engage audiences from a variety of disciplines and organizations in an ongoing way
* To enable meaningful dialogue and presentation opportunities locally and internationally
* To facilitate connection of Vancouver artists internationally, and international artists locally
* To be active agents for connecting people interested in, working with, or engaged with issues relating to art and technology, both locally and internationally
Upgrade Vancouver was one of the first initiatives in Vancouver to work specifically at the intersection between art and technology. We were also the first satellite node of Upgrade, joining with Upgrade New York to launch the Upgrade International network, which now collaborates to produce publications, exhibitions and innovative processes of exchange between 30 cities.
Over the years we have held over 80 gatherings in Vancouver, and have facilitated informal introductions as well as formal partnerships, internships and exchange between local and international artists and institutions. Upgrade Vancouver has participated in the production of 3 international exhibitions (New York, Oklahoma, and Skopje, Macedonia), curated 2 original programmes of art videos that included the work of over 30 Vancouver artists (P2P Outdoor Art Videos, Vancouver Fraction) which have been shown in 12 countries at institutions including the ZKMax in Munich and the Tate Modern. We produced Pre/Amble: A 2 Day Festival of Art and Psychogeography, which in 2003 brought together 18 international artists and researchers investigating emergent themes of psychogeography and locative media to present a broad array of works. In 2007 we worked with Upgrade International partners to design a rotating international screening initiative to show videos in outdoor environments. Throughout, we've run an active mailing list with 1400 subscribers. We partnered with the New Forms Festival in 2006, 2007, and 2008 to produce ArtCamp, which was one of the first explorations into the unconference format in Vancouver, and was the first to apply the format to an applied art context. In 2009 Upgrade Vancouver produced an experiment in collaborative design in which a manifesto was written by 20 people in the course of one day.
Our local partners over the years have included the Western Front, Emily Carr University and Intersections Digital Studios, the New Forms Festival, Great Northern Way Campus, VIVO/Video Out, Open Studios, The Capilano Review, and Helen Pitt, among many others.
Our international partners have included Eyebeam Atelier (New York), Art Centre Nabi (Seoul, Korea), Art Interactive (Boston), Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporānea (Lisbon), Public Art Lab (Berlin), SAT (Montreal), Melkweg (Amsterdam), Nomad (Istanbul), LINE initiative and Movement (Skopje, Macedonia), Emergent Art Centre (Eindhoven), Interspace (Bulgaria), Turbulence,org, and New Media Scotland, among many others. A full list of the amazing and continuing Upgrade nodes is available at www.theupgrade.net.
Special thanks to Yael Kanarek, Michelle Kasprzak, Peter Courtemanche, Susan Clements-Vivian, Josh Tanenbaum, Sarah Kim, Malcolm Levy, Babak Golkar, Andrew Klobucar, Basak Senova, Dawn Whitworth, Michael Tippett, Jesse Scott, Maria Lantin, Simon Overstall, and especially Sean Arden. I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to and been supportive of Upgrade Vancouver over these fruitful years of experimentation, community, and dialogue. I am sad to close Upgrade Vancouver but happy to continue my involvement with Upgrade International.
Founder and Director, Upgrade Vancouver (2003-2010)