A group of creative programmers gathered for a 48 hour hackathon. The idea was to take data and turn into something "magical". The event’s organisers are called , though it turns out there are four of them and only three have significant bristles.
Hacking comes in three varieties. One is an invasion of privacy practised mainly by middle-aged men on celebrities and the vulnerable; the other is carried out mainly by teenage boys on the military-industrial complex. Both are well-documented and often result in a court appearance. But there’s a third kind, a good kind, so far unfeatured on and mainly practised mainly by young men with enthusiastic smiles and creative facial hair who know their Python from their Ruby on Rails (they’re programming languages, dummy). The good kind is about taking something apart – a computer, a line of code, a set of data – and rebuilding it, hopefully making it better, giving it a new function, or just doing something surprising and disruptive. A hackathon is about much more than that. As Michael Hobson explains: “The participants get an experience which is hard to find elsewhere. It’s only in this high-pressure, time-sensitive environment that you can really come face-to-face with yourself, and see what you’re capable of.
The 3 Beards thought London hackathons concentrate on creating startups. “They are mainly focused on creating a business idea, then pitching it on the final evening, along with all the relevant trimmings – revenue plan, target market, etc,” says 3 Beards’s Michael Hobson. “We thought that by making the output purely artistic, it would foster more creativity and allow people to really run wild with their ideas.”Hence, this hack has a theme: art meets tech. The aim of the weekend is to encourage the hackers to take some of the masses of data living on the internet, or even create some of their own, and present it in new, unusual ways, to make something from it – a piece of music, an artwork, a machine, a game – something that brings the data to life. Not everyone here has a computing background: a smattering of artists, designers, musicians have signed up to collaborate.
Fifty artists-hackers and hacker-artists got together over a weekend in a big space to create an art exhibition from scratch and demonstrate the expressive potential of new technology and the power of radical collaboration in art. The digital works of art created include, but are not limited to interactive installations, visualizations, web services, small physical objects and more.
Art Hackathons are now popular throughout the world: from New York to San Francisco (SF) and from London to Berlin.
Examples of Previous Art Hackathons:
There are a number of organisations that have run Art Hackathons of different kinds. Here are a few that have been run in the past as examples:
Throughout August 2013 Hack the Barbican took over the Barbican’s cavernous foyer spaces and filled them with 100 discipline-bending installations, performances, workshops and discussions.
Art Hack Day is an event dedicated to cracking open the process of art-making, with special reverence toward open-source technologies. Over 48 hour periods, artists and collaborators inhabit a space to create and explore the participatory nature of technology. This brings together hackers whose medium is art and artists whose medium is technology.
Over one weekend a mixture of 100 people are brought together. These are artists, developers, musicians and creatives, guided by a variety of mentors, to just simply “create”. They have 2 floors – the whole conference floor and also some rooms at South Place Hotel, all dedicated to the Art Hack for the entire weekend.
Also known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Hackathon. Twenty-five digital artists and programmers descended upon the Metropolitan Museum’s Art Studio for the Museum’s first 3D scanning and printing Hackathon. The invited guests, along with staff from MakerBot Industries, spent two days photographing Museum objects and converting the images into 3D models with the help of special software.
Culture Hack has grown into a digital development programme – no longer simply about one-off hacks, each Culture Hack programme now lasts for between 6 to 12 months.
Also known as the Walters Art Museum Hackathon. This is a hackathon where technology and creative communities work together to build programs and applications inspired by art or to add to the museum experience. Attendees also visit the museum’s galleries for inspiration throughout the weekend.
Musicians, designers, programmers and makers of all kinds spent the day at , ending with a concert of what they created.
There are other digital making programmes that develop the participants knowledge of technology. Here are a few programmes that could give tips to those looking to take part in an Art Hack:
This is a digital making campaign. It lists a number of simple online tutorials that can help people get started in digital making, but who are not sure what you want to make.
Code Club is a UK-wide network of free after-school coding clubs for ages 9-11. You can learn to code and programme with lots of fun projects, showing you how to make computer games, animations and websites.
During the London Design Festival, Technology Will Save Us -London’s first haberdashery for technology and education, hosted a Global Makeathon – to help designers get away from the screen and get their hands dirty!
I think just hacking itself is very dangerous and may put one behind bars but to be able to hack into anything, that is smart. I am actually against hacking if it is for the sake of fun, to disrupt and to steal. I think it is ethically not right. Upon further research on art hackathon, I really like the idea of how art meets technology. Like for instance, the 3d printer. I think Art Hackathon is a very beneficial especially to artists because as time pass, art movement will change too over time. And to keep up, I think new media is the best way to keep the art scene alive. I just like how creativity is being combined and manipulated by technology. It may be challenging but the end result would be very pleasing. I believe art hackathon would inspire artist for a change of idea, perhaps something we have never encountered before.