heath bunting on Tue, 5 Nov 1996 11:23:52 +0100

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Dear friends,
after the subject came up in January, mentioned by Diana of the MRF
Budapest, as well as at our meeting in September (Vuk, show this to Mitja,
please), James Wallbank's posting might be an occasion to start thinking
practically about the possibility of finding and re-using computers and
other equipment which are being trashed by companies for arts projects. The
logistics will have to be solved locally, but maybe somebody already has
experiences with the software, data-erasing and customs problems that might
I'll be collecting the info.


RTI is an imaginative recycling project that increases access to computers
for visual artists and solves a continuing problem for businesses that use
information technology. It comprises an integrated programme of recycling,
exhibitions, publication and communication to kickstart exploration of the
creative potential inherent in technology that is currently being discarded.


-=> Many businesses find that, as they upgrade their information technology,
    the most cost-effective way to dispose of their old, redundant computers
    is simply to throw them away.

-=> Outside educational institutions many young artists have great difficulty
    gaining access to computers for creative projects.

-=> RTI believes that information technology is too valuable an asset to

RTI collects businesses' redundant computers and redistributes them to two
principal categories of creative people:

        (1) Young artists unable to gain access to such equipment.
        (2) Established art professionals challenging the idea that outdated
            computers cannot be used creatively.


As the Arts count down to the next millennium, 1998 sees Yorkshire host the
UK Year of Photography & the Electronic Image. Based in Sheffield's Cultural
Industries Quarter, RTI is organising exhibitions of art made with redundant
technology which will take place across the region in conjunction with this
festival year.


The Initiative will publish a magazine which will highlight the work of
project artists and share creative ideas and technical solutions with
participants and a wider audience.


Intelligent use of the internet linked with focussed communication through
conventional media enable RTI to provide information for its participants and
publicity for their creative work and the donors that have made it possible.

RTI will serve as an information resource to help participating artists find
technical support and advice, and actively encourages collaborations between
artists and technical experts.

             For more information about RTI contact James Wallbank ---
                 Phone:  0114  2589962 (+fax)  /  0191  5152896
                    E-Mail:  james.wallbank@sunderland.ac.uk
*  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission

In a recent message, James adds:

In general, I have found that many companies make decisions about redundant
computers very quickly. They will allocate maybe only a few hours or even
minutes of staff time to getting rid of their old equipment. For a scheme
to be successful, I think it will have to have very good publicity and a
telephone hotline, so that companies can phone the scheme and get their
problem solved immediately. Any process which is more time-consuming will
be ignored by companies, who will simply use their existing solution: the
garbage truck!

As to getting stuff across international boundaries, I suspect that it
would be a nightmare! I have had complex problems dealing with commercially
sensitive information on old hard disks (which has to be erased) and
software that may or may not be transferrable to a new owner (I've been
trying to do thinks 100% legitimately, because I'm asking for public funds
to support RTI.)

I think that the biggest problem will be the data stored on redundant
computers' hard disks. Many companies will insist that the disks are all
formatted, in which case they would have to be shipped with no software or
operating system - not very useful!

I am very interested in hearing from you, or from anyone else who is using
old technology in a creative manner. At the moment the RTI project has very
little funding, so I am investigating each of the aspects of the project
(exhibitions, the magazine, internet, distribution of redundant computers)
individually. I want to set up (or discover) a network of creative people
who use 'outdated' technology. If your own activities fall into this area,
please tell me about what you do. If you know of anyone else who is being
creative with old computers, please tell me about them (or them about me)
as well - thanks.

Thanks for your interest, and I hope to hear from you soon.


+44 114 2589962 (home -- Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK)
+44 191 5152896 (work -- Sunderland University, Resident Digital Artist)

======= james.wallbank@drugnet.co.uk =======