Photo courtesy of Julie Vera
No, no, it’s not like that. The people at Hack Together aren’t going to hunch around a laptop, spitballing joke Facebook statuses and reading through personal files. In fact, that’s not even what hacking really means, according to Robby Grodin, Together’s technology director.
“Hacking is really re-appropriating materials—old speakers, old car parts—and building something out of it,” he says. “Re-appropriating something that was meant for a different use and turning it into art or something interactive.”
On Sunday, April 1st, up to 40 hackers working in teams will get 24 hours to design something—anything, really—for the Together Festival. A panel of judges will choose the best finished product and incorporate it into the Together stage design or headquarters.
And it’s worth noting that Casey Desmond, a Boston area musician and former contestant on NBC’s The Voice, will be one of the judges, along with members of Together and the Artisan’s Asylum.
“Judging will be based on creativity, functionality, and awesomeness—pure awesomeness,” Grodin says.
Though the judges are keeping an open mind, ideal works are roughly human size and bring something to an onstage environment. Works that react to music are preferred, whether they light up, stream video, move or do something even more creative than that. The idea is to take 24 hours, using any materials and tools available, to build the most out-there, creative structure. Contestants are encouraged to bring their own materials, and encouraged to think creatively about the definition of “material.”
The Somerville-based Artisan’s Asylum is providing the space for this event, along with the tools to do anything from kitting a sweater to building a car. With a mission statement that’s all about encouraging the re-appropriation of dead objects to make artistic life, Artisan’s Asylum has resources that allows for precision metal machining, electrical fabrication, welding, woodworking, sewing and fiber arts, robotics, and screenprinting.
“This is for people who are really interested in this stuff and live in Boston, students and professionals, folks that don’t have the space or money to rent out a warehouse spot and use these tools and materials. So we’re giving them a chance to just go crazy for a day.”
In general, the Asylum exists to give those with the will to create, but lack the funds or space to do so, a way. Together‘s partnership with Artisan’s Asylum is, in part, an attempt at connecting the artists and musicians working on Together with the DIY scene at the Asylum.
The event is the first of its kind, and in many ways it’ll serve as a test run. Though the maximum number of contestants is 40, Grodin explains that it doesn’t matter so much how many people show up, as long as the right people show up.
“We want to give them all the tools to make something really cool and bring a little art and technology into a musical performance when we put it up on stage. It’s about community, you know, and the Artisan’s Asylum is a space within this community that people can do stuff like that. We want to bring awareness to that.”