We are pleased to announce four recipients in the inaugural Are.na Grants program, a new initiative to support research, writing, and other creative projects being developed and built on Are.na. We selected one winner for the individual and group categories and selected two winners for the API category. Each winner will receive $500 towards the development of their proposal.
The goal of this program is to highlight some of the many other people in technology, the humanities, the arts, and other disciplines that share our vision for self-directed learning and collaborative community on the web. We know that Are.na is just the framework for an incredibly diverse group of practices that together represent a healthier kind of digital public space than we have today.
The following projects were selected from among 86 submissions representing a cross-section of the Are.na community from around the world. Submissions included essays, exhibitions, browser extensions, films, publications, collaborative artworks, syllabi, conferences, residencies, digital archives, and several forms of activism — a humbling demonstration of the Are.na community’s creativity and cooperative spirit.
API Category: Berkeley Residency Website Project by Lydia Glenn-Murray
Artist Lydia Glenn-Murray is using Are.na as a collaborative content management system for the public website of a new residency program and multidisciplinary art space in Berkeley, CA. This grant will support the construction and maintenance of the site.
The background of the website will be a streaming video of the space, and residents will be encouraged to use Are.na to organize and share documents of their fieldwork and web-based research live. Individuals’ projects will remain active on the site alongside new forms of documentation and ongoing research about more general related topics, facilitating discourse between past and present residents and building a discursive, resourceful community over time.
“I like how Lydia is conceiving the lifespan of her physical residency program through Are.na’s tools that evolve over time,” said jury member Laurel Schwulst. “Using Are.na as a CMS makes the making process transparent and inclusive, which will be further reflected physically through the site’s live webcam as background.”
Lydia Glenn-Murray is an artist and the founder of Chin’s Push, an experimental arts space in Los Angeles.
API Category: Are.na Toolkit by Sam Hart
The Are.na Toolkit will be an open source browser extension will allow others to develop new tools for the Are.na web app. The extension will wrap a set of useful modules, including a graph query engine, UI library, and management console, which together operate as an extensible development environment for community projects that might map, search, and explore Are.na in new ways.
Inspired by the Reddit Enhancement Suite, the Are.na toolkit aims to provide a focal point for community-driven tool design, opening the Are.na platform to new avenues of research and discovery.
“This project has the most potential for new, useful tools for the community,” said jury member John Michael Boling. “The extensibility of Are.na to function more effectively for use cases not originally intended is one of its greatest potential strengths. This process being led – at least in part – by Are.na’s user base in a hands-on way is not only really cool, but is a perfect example of the agency that the platform allows its community to harness with their information.”
Sam Hart is a scientist, publisher, and artist living in New York. As a bioinformatician at the Sloan Kettering Institute, Sam works across cancer genomics and cellular engineering. He is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Avant.org, a distributed project space for research and practice, and curator of the online technical catalog, Research Tactics.
Individual Category: The Oroborus in the Cul-de-sac by Alex Turgeon
The Oroborus in the Cul-de-sac will be an essay exploring concepts of facsimile and queer domesticity in relation to capitalism and gentrification. This work builds on a previous essay, “A Little House,” which was included the 15th Istanbul Biennial catalogue and explored the author’s relationship to domestic space, facsimile, alchemy and queer domesticity and architecture. Turgeon has assembled references and research for his new essay in channels like Better Homes & Gardens, The Asshole as the Origin of the World, and Love in a Dangerous Time.
“Looking through Alex’s channels, he’s taken advantage of the timelessness of Are.na by building up something really strong and interesting over time,” said jury member Dena Yago. “I can tell that this is a long term project that he is using the power of Are.na to build on. It’s a great mix of expressive and academic research, mixing mediums and pulling from the community as well as his personal archive.”
Alex Turgeon is a Canadian artist based in Berlin. He received his BFA from Emily Carr University in 2010. His work has been exhibited and performed at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Trans Art Triennial, Exile Gallery, Center, Spike Art, Import Projects (Berlin), Proxy Gallery and Brown University (Rhode Island), as part of Poetry as Practice online exhibition hosted by Rhizome and the New Museum (New York), Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius), French Riviera (London), Toves (Copenhagen), the AIRBNB Pavilion for the 2014 Architecture Biennale (Venice). Upcoming presentations include Franz Kaka (Toronto), Tunnel Tunnel (Lausanne) and Tate (Liverpool).
Group Category: Grassroots Activism X Are.na by Rad Chinese
Rad Chinese is a new grassroots organization of Chinese folk fighting for the liberation of all oppressed people through self-education and action. The organizers will use their Are.na Grant to develop educational materials and a shared infrastructure that members can use to build self-knowledge and exchange perspectives. These tools will be available to more and more members as Rad Chinese expands its network of self-organizing discussion groups.
“Although Rad Chinese is young as an organization, we were excited by their approach to social activism,” said Are.na co-founder Cab Broskoski. “Their focus on grassroots, community-led political education is centered on mobilizing their members to create pathways to a new understanding. By using Are.na to collect stories and perspectives, they will be creating a collective memory of a community that can be continually iterated upon and drawn from.”
Rad Chinese organizes bi-weekly meetings for political education and yummy Chinese dinners. Members lead discussions in groups of 10-15 people, which are recorded and broadcast online. The group is working to create a replicable process that people in any town can use to create communities of action, center folks on the margin, and gather folks at diverse intersections of solidarity. The group’s vision is for a politically engaged Chinese community that works together with other oppressed groups to replace capitalist white supremacy with systems of inclusion.
Are.na is also pleased to announce two finalists in the grants competition:
Lately by Tamar Nachmany
Lately is a satirical novel in progress by Tamar Nachmany, which follows one journalist’s attempt to fight climate change by founding a fake news publication reporting on climate change. She is gathering references in a channel called The Smells, Sounds, and Tastes of Future Cities.
Silicon Plateau by Marialaura Ghidini and Tara Kelton
Silicon Plateau is a publication series which explores technology, culture and society in the Indian city of Bangalore. The series’ artistic and anthropological research focuses on technological vernacular; the editors use Are.na’s framework supports the cultivation of a transdisciplinary community—spread across the Indian subcontinent—and the nurturing of a transnational discussion, free of local censorship.
The first edition of Silicon Plateau is available here.
Marialaura Ghidini is a curator, facilitator, researcher, and writer based in Bangalore, India. She is faculty at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and she directed or-bits.com, a web-based curatorial platform, from 2009 to 2015.
We look forward to following these projects in the coming months as the winning entrants work towards completing or implementing their projects. We will be highlighting their progress on the Are.na Blog and exploring some of the ways their ideas are sure to influence our own thinking about how the community can grow and evolve in the future.
Our team is deeply grateful to everyone who submitted a proposal and we’ll do our best to feature the many worthy projects we couldn’t support financially, which represent an impressive group of unique perspectives, ideas, and projects on digital culture, creativity, labor, learning, and connection in a networked world. We’ve created an open channel where you can view proposals whose creators have chosen to make them public.
We also want to emphasize that is only our first experiment in support of new thinking within and beyond the Are.na community. We look forward to presenting another, more community-driven iteration of the Are.na Grants program in a new format in 2018. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with any ideas in the meantime.
As always, thank you for reading and for being part of Are.na. We deeply appreciate your time and attention.