Open Source Life Opening

March 27th, 2003 - March 30th, 2003

Categories: MFA Thesis


In conjunction with the 2003 three day digital arts convergence Version>03 at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the theme of technology and nature “Utopia versus Dystopia” will be explored by the artists collective Nomads & Homesteaders. Moving beyond the walls of the MCA, Nomads & Homesteaders will explore satellite venues to help spread awareness throughout the Chicago community.

The Open Source Life Project is designed to attract audiences and engage them in an interactive experience in the hopes of allowing them to draw parallels between current practices in community based technologies, such as Open-Source distribution, and traditional farming and plant cultivation techniques.

The exhibition at 1926 will revolve around a central installation / kiosk where visitors will be invited to create virtual artificially intelligent plants (VAIP) whose care they will be responsible for during the duration of the plant’s life. Participants will be able to create their very own VAIP and design it to adapt with life in a range of virtually created environments. Once a VAIP has been created it will be the responsibility of the guardian to care and tend to its needs by visiting it in its virtual environment through the World Wide Web. The entire event will be connected to the MCA via Web cameras linking 1926 to audiences there and around the world.

Nomads & Homesteaders is a graduate student collective who promote and produce innovative new media programming under the umbrella of the Department of Film, Video and New Media at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Opening Reception: Thursday, March 27, 7:00-10:00pm
Online Exhibition @

1926 Exhibition Studies Space
1926 North Halsted Street
(One Block South of Armitage)

Gallery Hours: W-F 3:00-7:00pm, Sa-Su 1:00-6:00pm

Related Events:
Thursday, March 27, 12:00pm
Panel Discussion: OpenSource Life @ Version>03, Museum of Contemporary Art
Adderssing concerns about technology and its relationship to the environment, agriculture, and culture.

Support provided by the departments Film Video New Media and Art & Technology at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Program support is provided by the Interdisciplinary Area of Exhibition Studies.