Upgrade! Boston is a monthly gathering of artists, curators and the public that fosters dialogue and creates opportunities for collaboration within the new media community. Each meeting consists of one or two hour-long presentations interspersed with questions and comments from the audience. Theme-based panel discussions are organized once or twice a year. The events are informal, free, and open to all. Founded by Jo-Anne Green for Turbulence.org in January 2005, Upgrade! Boston continues to grow as a local node within the global Upgrade! International (UI!) network.
Upgrade! International is an international, emerging network of autonomous nodes united by art, technology, and a commitment to bridging cultural divides. Its decentralized, non-hierarchical structure ensures that Upgrade! (i) operates according to local interests and their available resources; and (ii) reflects current creative engagement with cutting edge technologies. While individual nodes present new media projects, engage in informal critique, and foster dialogue and collaboration between individual artists, Upgrade! International functions as an online, global network that gathers in different cities to meet one another, showcase local art, and work on the agenda for the following year.
Four gatherings have taken place so far: New York, United States – September 2005; Oklahoma City, United States – November 2006; Skopje, Macedonia – September 2008; and São Paulo, Brazil – October 2010.
Upgrade! International was invited to participate in Network Cultures Winter Camp, an event organized by the Institute of Network Cultures that took place from March 3-7, 2009 in Amsterdam. The other participants were Blender Foundation, Bricolabs, Dyne.org, Edufactory, Floss Manuals, freeDimensional network, Genderchangers, MyCreativity, Microvoluteerism and GOTO10.
Current Nodes: Athens (Greece), Belgrade (Serbia), Berlin (Germany), Boston (United States), Brussels/Ghent (Belgium), Chicago (United States), Dakar (Senegal), East Midlands (United Kingdom), Eindhoven (The Netherlands), Indiana (United States), Istanbul (Turkey), Johannesburg (South Africa), Milwaukee (United States), Munich (Germany), New York (United States), Östersund-Stockholm (Sweden), Paris (France), Salvador (Brazil), San Francisco (United States), São Paulo (Brazil), Second Life, Singapore, Tel Aviv-Jerusalem (Israel), Tennessee (United States), Tijuana (Mexico), Warsaw (Poland), Zagreb (Croatia).
Coming Soon: Oklahoma (United States), San Diego (United States)
Organizations: Eyebeam, Turbulence.org, i-camp, DCA, CCA,rg.net, NOMAD /santralistanbul, program angels/lothringer13, Line Initiative and Movement, Open-Node.com, t-u-b-e, C-M.TV, AT.joburg, University of the Witwatersrand, Ars Longa, BitFactory (Second Life), Melkweg, New Media Developers, I Love People, Vooruit, Okno, Emergent Art Center, Dream Addictive.
Upgrade! Background: Since April 1999, a group of new media artists and curators have gathered in New York City. The first meeting took place at a bar in the east village with Tim Whidden & Mark River [MTAA], Mark Napier and founder Yael Kanarek. Upgrade! New York partnered with Eyebeam in March 2000.
–Jo-Anne Green, May 2011