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read_me festival 1.2
software art / software art games

A rather problematic question regarding the relationship between artists, "hi-tech" production technologies, and production itself remains unresolved. What position should an independent artist or activist take in the face of mass produced hi-tech tools intended to serve the needs of an artist, an intellectual or an average user?
Current situations:

  • Public and personal spaces are being filled with mass produced software; it's commercial and often doesn't function properly: sometimes, open source programs work better.
  • It's been suggested that specific software working methodologies constrain people to a specific way of thinking.
  • A number of programs are regarded as artistic tools, finally giving artists an opportunity to "create" in the computer medium. But in reality they time and time again manipulate artists, limit creative freedom, and direct artistic activities into predefined sets of behaviors.
The battlefield for public attention, for cultural influence has almost completely moved into the social space of media technologies. An artist motivated exclusively by self-expression, even one who uses media technologies, has no chance to be heard. In order to stay current, an artist must acquire new methods of working in social spaces and react to the questions that concern society.
An artist immersing himself in the production and software development spheres - areas allegedly intended to facilitate our lives through "progress" - has a chance to find his audience and to actually influence culture.
An artist who parodies commercial software development is able to influence perception and the thinking of people to whom otherwise she would not have access.
An artist creating or using software "differently" is able, at least for the time being, to conquer the omnipresence of commerce and to introduce art into such spheres - spheres in which its presence wasn't previously contemplated.

The international festival read_me 1.2 is dedicated to the artistic contemplation of software: its creation, modification and deconstruction. The impact on the typical perception of a program and on what is commonly understood as media space, the demonstration of profound properties and qualities of programming, the support of open source ideology, alternative working methodologies and even artistic self-expression... continuing the list of software art ideas is up to the festival participants!

Amy Alexander
Cue P. Doll
Florian Cramer
Alexei Shulgin

Authors of the best works will be awarded special money prizes from "ROSIZO" and "Macros-center":

  • 1st prize - 500 USD
  • 2nd prize - 400 USD
  • 3rd prize - 300 USD

competition: October 2001 - January 2002
festival: 18-19 May 2002, Moscow.

Following works can be referred to as artistic software:

1. Instructions (read_me) on adjusting standart (commonly used) software, as well as patches and any kind of impact on software, whose results are not planned by producers and application of which leads to creation of an artistic product.
2. Deconstruction of existing software products, including computer games.
3. Written from scratch program with purpose differing from usual rational software purposes, i.e. refusal of the idea of a program as a purely pragmatic tool.
If you would like to take a look at artistic software works, visit our links page.

Since the curators of the festival did not consider it necessary for the framework of artistic software categories to be too narrow, it was suggested to contact the curators if authors were unsure whether their works fit the conception of read_me 1.2


1. Works for read_me 1.2 can be sent by authors or on the commission of authors. You can also suggest a work by contacting its author/s and curators of the festival.
2. Both downloadable works and serverside applications are accepted.
3. If your description size exceeds 2 kb or you would like to include images, html, ascii art etc., please post it on your server and send us a link, which will be placed on read_me 1.2 site.
4. It is impossible to cover abundant operating systems and programs working on uncommon platforms within the framework of the festival. Consequently PC and Mac projects are accepted only.
5. Works are accepted only on the festival site until the official deadline (january 31, 2002) inclusive.
6. By submitting your work, you agree to its free publication on the festival site (including downloads permission) and possible publication in the CD-rom catalog of the best read_me 1.2 works, which will be prepared and published by the time offline part of the festival starts.
7. Attention: computer viruses are not accepted on read_me 1.2 festival. It is possible, however, that this nomination will be introduced next year on read_me 2.3.

State Center for Museums and Exhibitions "ROSIZO",
media-art-center "Macros-center" (Moscow)

"Macros-center" was founded in autumn of the year 2001 in Moscow under State Center for Museums and Exhibitions "ROSIZO". It is an initiative intended to react to interesting and nontraditional phenomena in the sphere of media-art, in the area of intersection of arts, culture and new technologies. "Macros-center" is focused on art adequate to information society and new world order, on artistic and theoretic interpretation of the new reality. The activity of Media-art-center is directed toward creating the field of the working ideas on actual media-art, toward stimulating interest in new artistic strategies and projects, toward organizing space capable of supporting and initiating different artistic and critical media-activities.
"Macros-center" site

Austrian Cultural Forum (Moscow);
Embassy of Switzerland in Moscow;
Pro Helvetia (Arts Council of Switzerland);
DOM Cultural Center

MEDIA partners:
Artmanager, NCCA Ekaterinburg