cloud factory: notes

cloud factory


Your feedback is always welcome.


The tenets of universal design are synergistic with the original dreams of a free and open, accessible web. I choose the accessible, affordable, community-driven tools of the web with purpose. Code is a human-readable text ::: a literature, a score, a script. The dream of the early internet was similar to the vision of radio, cable-access television, video. It promised an accessible, affordable medium for community-driven transmission of culture. It is difficult to remember that vision in today's landscape of profit-driven, commerce-mediated web silos. We produce content for free. Our creativity is shaped by opaque, proprietary tools.

Old-school codework is becoming a folk art as the mainstream technology world is subsumed by proprietary platforms. Generative, networked, "ecological" work has a materiality I am interested in bringing to the surface. It is important to preserve not only the experience of the living work itself but also its working levers and gears :::: its language of motion and change ::: the machine and networked environment in which it was conceived and presented.

access: intent

cloud work

This gathering of cloud work was funded by the MN State Arts Board in 2022. This aspect of the work presented here had a R&D goal.

I met weekly with a collaborator with knowledge of web useability for informal code review and discussion. We began by working on an accessibility study for a more conventional arts learning use case. This resulted in the website: This gave us the opportunity to explore things like closed-captioning for teaching videos but also gave us an opportunity to think about making a volume of archival materials accessible in an easy to navigate, crosssensory way: to allow visitors with multiple objectives and learning styles ways to enter and interact with information.

From this experience, we moved on to think about cross-sensory translation of my more abstract, conceptual artistic work. I am still exploring this aspect of the project. We went through a series of prototypes that included sound, moving images (web art drawn live), and text. We kept returning to the concept of legibility and the cross-sensory possibilities of multi-modal work. My work plays with legibility / abstraction ::: the unspoken, underlayments of human-to-human and human-to-machine relationships. I wanted to think about accessibility in ways that felt organically related to the work itself. When the work is abstract in one sensory dimension, it should retain its character in another dimension. Multi-modal work creates this dimensionality organically. Is this enough? I am still trying to understand accessibility in a deep, integrated way.

Perhaps this was just an exercise in cross-sensory erasure ... dissolution ... fragmentation ... it felt like this:

Legibility of form is obfuscated by commercial, black-box, mediated platforms. Providing opensource access to the codebase behind my explorations is also part of my goal. All code is available through my github account (such a shoebox of stuff ... sorry)

I started to consider access in terms of live, internet-based work vs. fixed formats that are more easily passed along to venues to support (mp3, mp4, print). New media remains challenging for presentation by small, traditional gallery spaces and film festivals. People are much more familiar with fixed-format art. I wanted to expand the accessibility of my creative artifacts to support venues and individuals that feel intimidated by web-based, new media. I wanted to create old-school, fixed-format "objects" that were more than a poor-resolution screen capture of my living, algorithmic, generative practice. I developed code to take a central algorithmic seed and produce mp3s, mp4s, print books, pdf files, and web animations::: to expand the form and accessibility of my endpoints. This work was presented in installations, artist talks, and at a film festival. You can view some of this exploration at:

access dashboard