Thursday, October 11, 2012


I was in Vancouver, BC September 28-30. I had been invited to participate in the Speed Show called Ping!, hosted by Aaron Chan, Maggie McGee and Aureliano Segundo. Since several of my close Internet friends live in Vancouver (Maggie, Chris Shier, Stage Baker) and I had never been to Canada before, I decided to go and see what I could learn.

Maggie and Aureliano did an excellent job coordinating the setup for Ping!. The Nicola Cafe is a venue that caters more to gaming than email, so all of the computers had large screens and decent graphics cards. Western Front (more on them in a minute) provided ample funds for nameplates and free booze. It was a very good Speed Show.

crappy photo - I really didn't get many good photos, sorry.
About 25 artists participated in Ping!. The Speed Show took a slightly different approach from its predecessors - each individual or group showing work was given two computers to use, in order to better explore the theme of "waiting alone in the darkness and hoping (believing) that someone will reply..." With this in mind, I developed a site for the show called "Internet High Five." My two computers displayed left and right hands, and when visitors clicked and held on the page, the hands would high five in a rainbow explosion.

Thanks to ohahalicia and Lindsey for their arms
Technical details: the site is two HTML pages that use jQuery to make calls to two PHP scripts that modify a text file. One script reads the content of a text file (the status of the hands) and returns it, the other writes to the text file based on its contents. The pages respond in realtime, so it's very rudimentary Ajax. Depending on how many people access the hand pages at once, some phantom high-fiving might occur. It's a website best seen in a physical location.

Some of us tried to go to lunch here. they didn't serve us.
There were also some panels and performances under the title "Pro-Am," that were hosted by Western Front, the sponsoring art institution. To be honest, I did not care for them. I was more interested in attending to make friends and "test the waters," anyway. I enjoyed BC and meeting the dump crew very much, and will return again if I have the opportunity. Thanks again especially to Chris, who was my Virgil in downtown (though the 'Couve is anything but Hell).

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