Art and Tech Collide at Art Hack Day in Brooklyn [UPDATED]

An interactive digital art exhibit premieres, though not without its glitches.


What do you get when you throw programmers and artists into a room together for 48 hours of creative collaboration? A lot of potentially terrifying things but also: this weekend, East Williamsburg gallery space 319 Scholes hosted an event where hackers and artists cooperated to build digital, primarily open-source art projects.

Art Hack Day co-organizer Olof Mathé called the event “an anti-startup weekend” that seeks to prove “great art can be produced by teams and under strong time constraints.” Participation was the key theme of the hackathon, with the artists focusing on collaborating inside 319 Scholes while outside participants could view live streaming video of the event and interact with the artists through Twitter and Ustream chat. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a few technical difficulties: the live stream was offline when Betabeat logged on last night, and the thumbnails for each of the projects on the Art Hack Day website have been missing since yesterday evening. UPDATE: Mr. Mathé sent Betabeat an email late in the day. “The live stream was a 30 min tour of the hack by our friends at 319Scholes and was just ‘live.’ However we are assembling videos and pictures from the event and should have them handy by tomorrow Monday.” [Maybe the broken images were part of the art??? -ed.]

At the end of the designated 48 hours, 319 Scholes opened its doors to the public for an exhibit of the work, as well as live performances and a “massive party.”

Each of the Art Hack Day projects represents a compelling hybrid of technological innovation and artistry, ranging from the visionary (ScratchML is a new markup language for turntables with tools for “recording, analyzing, sharing, and even recreating scratch performances with robot arms”) to the just plain cool (Jello City With Earthquake applies electronic oscillators to shake a city made of Jello). And for those of you who have always wanted to play Russian Roulette but were afraid of that whole dying thing—rejoice! There’s a project for that, too.

The event included participants from across the globe, including New York, San Francisco, Vienna and Stockholm. Brooklynite Casey Pugh of focused on making GIFS from his popular crowd-sourced movie project Star Wars Uncut, while Uber engineer Conrad Whelan worked with Mr. Mathé and Swedish consultant Andrey Zhukov to create a jump rope competition where the jump rope is replaced with three iPhones. Other notable participants included CTO Timothy Fitz and SoundCloud founder Eric Wahlforss. If only we coulda seen it (without shlepping out to Brooklyn, obvs).

Art and Tech Collide at Art Hack Day in Brooklyn [UPDATED]