Friday 12 November 2010


A little belated perhaps, but I wanted to note Bronwyn Holloway-Smith's win at the New Zealand Open Source Awards on Tuesday night.

The Open Source Awards recognise New Zealanders' contributions to open source projects, use of open source products, and promotion of the free and open philosophy.

2010 was the first year that an Open Source in the Arts category was run, and the finalists were:
  • Bronwyn Holloway-Smith for Ghosts in the Form of Gifts
  • Douglas Bagnall for Libsparrow, an installation piece entirely based on open source software that was shown at the Dowse.
  • Joel Pitt and Will Marshall for Speed of Sound, a music visualiser used in live environments
Bronwyn describes her project in this way:
These objects are replicas of artifacts imagined as lost, hidden or misregistered during the Museum of New Zealand's tenure in the former Museum Building on Buckle St, now occupied by Massey University's College of Creative Arts. The objects have been created through a process of drawing, digital 3D rendering, and finally printing with an Open Source 3-dimensional printer – the RepRap.
To my mind, one of the most significant things about Bronwyn's project is that the works are released under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license and the design files can be downloaded from her website.

At the awards, I asked Bronwyn whether students at art school were being taught about copyright and licencing - their rights over their work, and the tools (like CC licences) available to them to give people access to view, re-present or remix their works. It's a topic I'm quite interested in, as is Bronwyn, as one of the founders of the Creative Freedom Foundation.

Bronwyn said that the topic didn't seem well-covered. I think that's a real pity. If art schools are training/nurturing/whatever-the-preferred-verb artists, they should be (IMHO) educating them about the profession, and copyright (as well as dealer galleries and auction houses and commissioning) are all part of the apparatus.

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