The Pool is one of the software packages showcased in Trebor Scholz’s 2011 anthology Learning Through Digital Media: Experiments in Technology and Pedagogy, along with Facebook, Tumblr, and Second Life. Available as a printed or eBook, the text surveys “how both ready-at-hand proprietary platforms and open-source tools can be used to create situations in which all learners actively engage each other and the teacher to become more proficient, think in more complex ways, gain better judgment, become more principled and curious, and lead distinctive and productive lives.”
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According to Colin Kloecker at the Walker Art Center, ThoughtMesh and The Pool are good tools for a healthy commons. He profiled these two open-source Still Water networks in a post leading up to the kickoff of the Walker’s Open Field initiative last June.
Still Water’s John Bell and Jon Ippolito presented good news for underdogs everywhere at the NetSci 2010 conference, held last May at Northeastern University. Bell and Ippolito argued that the dynamics of creative networks may work to lessen inequalities that first appear when leaders in social networks receive high ratings. The findings are based on a study of student use of The Pool, a collaborative network where success is an emergent property of feedback from one’s peers.
A network analysis of The Pool will be featured at the Leonardo satellite symposium on Arts | Humanities | Complex Networks at the NetSci2010 conference on 10 May in Boston. This conference, held at the lab founded by renowned network theorist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, brings together a cross-disciplinary group of scientists, artists, and scholars to examine old and new media through the lens of network theory.
Now that we have over 250 students using The Pool regularly this term, Still Water senior researcher John Bell and co-director Jon Ippolito are happy to announce two improvements to accommodate the increased number of projects visible at any given time:
1. “Jump to subject” feature
Now when you visit the Pool home page and choose Jump In > Art Pool, you’ll be invited to choose a theme to filter by–such as audio or nmd205-2009–before you continue. This should make it easier for students working in particular classes to find each other’s work quickly.
Of course, you can still use the filters at the top of The Pool to refine your search, and bookmark the page so you easily return to the same set of filters.
2. Safari compatibility
The Pool is now compatible with Safari version 4 and above, so that users can use it with any of the three major browsers.
We welcome additional suggestions or comments on The Pool–please visit The Pool and select Learn More > Contact.
A variable media class in the New Media Department at the University of Maine this term introduces undergraduates to concepts of new media preservation and gives them hands-on experience with some of its tools.
The NMD205 syllabus includes a range of preservation strategies such as emulation, migration, and reinterpretation. As part of their coursework, students study technical vulnerabilities in well known new media artworks, resurrect an obsolete game using an emulator, and create new works based on reinterpreting or remixing works by other students in the class.
NMD205 students use The Pool to find works to remix and establish relationships among related works that can be tracked long after the course is over. This term U-Me students are joined in The Pool by students from UC-Santa Cruz, opening up their work to feedback from a wider range of participants.
ABOVE: Joe Raymond’s Linux Wars, a remix of the vintage game Space Invaders from NMD 205.
The Pool, an online collaborative environment created by Still Water, has earned a headline story in Wired magazine, a feature in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and a demonstration at Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet and Society. Yet with the exception of a semester-long experiment with students from UC-Berkeley in 2003, until this year The Pool’s audience has been almost exclusively students at the University of Maine.
This term, however, The Pool has become a lot more crowded, as students from two classes at the University of California at Santa Cruz join three U-Me classes in using this unusual software to bounce ideas off each other and receive feedback across the two campuses.
Athough divided across the east and west coast, the 250 students will be united by a common interface and timeline as they contribute intents, sketch approaches, build approaches, and offer feedback across classes and time zones. University of Maine professors Joline Blais and Jon Ippolito will present a preliminary report of the testbed’s results at a conference organized by UC-Santa Cruz, The Art of Collaboration, on 23 October 2009.
More on the U-Me New Media Web site.
“Think like a Network,” a remote presentation by Jon Ippolito at The Art of With conference, argued for expanding the participatory possibilities of arts institutions to an audience of art enthusiasts and professionals gathered at Cornerhouse in Manchester, UK, on 24 June 2009. “Think like a Network” argued that museums reinforce boundaries for rare experiences discovered by instruction, while networks pierce boundaries for ubiquitous experiences discovered by extraction.
The presentation went further by examining three paradigm-shifting tools to help break the old model and usher in the new: ThoughtMesh, which pierces interdisciplinary boundaries; Forging the Future’s Metaserver, which aims to make artifacts ubiquitous; and The Pool, which encourages discovery of creative projects by collaborative filtering.
You can read a summary of all the presentations in “The Art of With” report.