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Supporting Frankfurt’s festival “NODE Forum for Digital Arts”

MESO has taken a significant role in supporting NODE Forum for Digital Arts since its founding. Over the past decade, a dynamic bond has grown that goes beyond a conventional sponsorship: from the involved wo/manpower, infrastructural and technical support, to curatorial impulses from individual members of the MESO team. With our origins in vvvv, shared fields of interest and questions concerning of the role of technology in society, a mutually rewarding dialogue was kicked off in 2008 that still continues to this day.

Contributing to a platform for exchange

NODE Founder David Brüll inaugurates NODE at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm © Jessica Schäfer

Back in 2008, a team gathering around MESO employee David Brüll felt the urge to bring together the vvvv software community. The users of vvvv and its developers, formerly based at MESO, had spread out internationally but until then had mostly interacted online. From the very beginning, MESO supported the newly formed group that realized the first edition of NODE Forum for Digital Arts. Organized as a media artist meet-up, the week-long program was curated with a focus on vvvv workshops. David Brüll was the director of NODE Forum for Digital Arts from 2008 to 2015.

NODE Forum borrows its name from the idea to create a forum, a “node” for connecting people and disciplines. Since 2008, designers, technologists, thinkers, creative coders, scientists, and curious people of all ages join the discussion.

Early core developers of vvvv at NODE 2008: Joreg, Sebastian Oschatz, Sebastian Gregor and Max Wolf
NODE08: gathering the international vvvv community for the first time
Hackspace at NODE17: a playground for tinkerers and coders alike. © Eda Temucin

Furthering NODE’s growth

To date, NODE Forum has grown into a successful platform which attracts more than 8,000 international visitors per edition exchanging practical know-how and theoretical insight in more than 150 events. The biannual festival is organized by the non-profit organization NODE Verein zur Förderung Digitaler Kultur e.V of which MESO partner Sebastian Oschatz forms the board together with founder David Brüll and Jeanne Charlotte Vogt.

NODE15 Symposium: Interdisciplinary thinkers and makers coming together. © Nemanja Knežević
vvvv for beginners hosted by the MESO team at NODE15. © Nemanja Knežević
Workshop ‘100 Oscillators’ on electronics for sound synthesis at NODE15. © Nemanja Knežević

Along with educational creative coding workshops for professionals and aspiring coders, NODE Forum also hosts a kids program. The program includes introductory creative technology workshops, Jugend Hackt (“the youth hacks”) for young coders, guided tours through the festival, and other activities.

The program is always complemented by nightly media art performances and an exhibition that encourages visitors to reflect on the edition’s leitmotif by offering an extensive mediation program. The mediation program is designed to stimulate an open exchange and enable visitors of all ages to take part.

Performance “Lumière II” by Robert Henke at NODE15. © Woeishi Lean
The NODE15 exhibition was curated by Alexandra Waligorski & Jeanne Charlotte Vogt.
Choreographic Coding Lab Nairobi getting ready for their performance. © Sebastian Kujas
Presenting intersections of design, architecture and computation. © Nemanja Knežević

Each NODE edition aims at broadening and further stimulating current discussions on the use of digital media and attracts a diverse crowd. Creative technologists, curious makers, and thinkers from design, architecture, philosophy, science, and the arts take part, contribute to the community and interact with each other.

MESO’s contributions

Providing a home

The permanent headquarters of NODE are located at our MESO office in Frankfurt, Germany. We provide infrastructure, resources, as well as technical expertise. With a strong overlap of interests in interdisciplinary topics, our team welcomes all NODE activities. Large parts of the team regularly work as volunteers for NODE and profit from the exchange with international coders.

NODE team meeting at MESO’s kitchen in 2017
Symposium “Designing Hope” in 2017
Introduction to “Wrapped in Code” by Sebastian at NODE Symposium 2015 © Nemanja Knežević
The symposium

In 2015 and 2017 MESO partner Sebastian Oschatz personally took over the curation of the symposium as a volunteer. His focus is addressing the relevance of code and design for the general public in a participatory format.

Max moderating Patcher Kucha at NODE13 © Johannes Scherg
Opening NODE Designing Hope at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt. © Eda Temucin
Community talks

One of the most popular events within the NODE week is curated and moderated by MESO partner Max Wolf. The Patcher Kucha, a modified version of the well-received Japanese “pitch format”, invites the audience to present and debate their ideas, whether they’re already successfully implemented, or just a prototype for a crazy idea. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the international scene of creative technologists.

2015: Johannes (MESO) producing documentary interviews with participants © Laura Nickel
Johanna and Jeanne Charlotte rolling up their sleeves at MESO before NODE17 kicks off.
Workshops

Johannes Scherg of MESO and Joreg and Rosi Grillmair curated the educational program comprising more than 60 workshops in 2017.

Direction

For NODE17, Johanna Teresa Wallenborn directed the festival edition NODE Designing Hope together with Jeanne Charlotte Vogt. Shortly after, she joined the MESO team.

Sharing knowledge

Over the years, our team has contributed to many creative coding workshops, such as “Programming Industrial Robots” or “3D Rendering in Real-time”.

The educational program provides a fertile bed for our transdisciplinary roots and ambitions. The learned skills are in turn then reapplied in commercial projects.

Workshop on electronics by Theron Burger (MESO) in 2017
NODE15 workshop 'Ways of Seeing' hosted by the MESO Team. © Nemanja Knežević
“Who wants to be a Self Driving Car?” at NODE17. © moovel Lab
Theron (MESO), Joey Lee (moovel Lab) presenting at NODE17 © Sebastian Kujas
Exhibiting research

In 2017, MESO brought “Who Wants to be a Self Driving Car” to life in collaboration with moovel Lab. The vehicle enabled people to see the world through the eyes of a futuristic autonomous car. NODE Forum provides an exceptional platform to present research and receive feedback for speculative prototypes.

Co-Producing Events

Countless other team members have also supported and helped to produce NODE editions, not only as part of the sponsoring, but also by volunteering year-round, strengthening the partnership between NODE and MESO.

MESO sponsored and programmed NODE’s websites in 2010 and 2013
Klaus (MESO) managing the setup of the construction site in 2013
Timon (MESO) maintaining the digital signage system on-site, 2017.
Digital signage system with real-time data, integrated in scenography. © www.buero.us
Infrastructural support

MESO provides computers and other hardware for the extensive workshop program for each festival edition. For example, Anna Rack and Timon Skerutsch implemented a real-time data digital signage system across three venues which guided visitors through the current and upcoming programs.

The MESO Reception

Biannually, the extracurricular meet-up and satellite NODE event gathers the core of the vvvv community at the MESO headquarters during the festival week for food and drinks.

Besides meeting old and new friends, networking, tours through our studio, and an in-house workshop, the MESO Reception always showcases interactive, artistic installations by our team.

During NODE17: Designing Hope MESO brought to life the 'positivery machinery'. © Constantin Urban

Voluntary MESO team

David M. (MESO) is awarded a quad for his contributions to vvvv at NODE17. © Daniel Willmers

many many names, sorted alphanumeric, as the their support can not be measured. The list includes our relentless permanent team, former interns, and our freelancer friends that contributed their time to NODE:

Stefan Ammon, Cornel Brand, David Brüll, Wolf Moritz Cramer, Michael Burk, Theron Burger, Thomas Eichhorn, Alexander Graf, Sebastian Gregor, Eno Henze, Ingolf Heinsch, Christian Hergarten, Thomas Hitthaler, Sebastian Huber, Joreg, Nina Kömpel, Sebastian Kujas, Alex Leask, Johannnes Lemke, Philipp Lorenz, Christine Lyschik, Daniel Maaz, Nikos Mechanezidis, David Morasz, Sebastian Oschatz, Alessandro Pohl, Philip Reul, Benjamin Schiek, Patrick Raddatz, Anna Rack, David Rittershaus, Anja Scharrelmann-Hasselbrock, Timon Skerutsch, Paul Schengber, Johannes Scherg, Sarah Schmid, Björn Schwarzer, Klaus-Peter Texter, Fabio Thiel, Alexander Teczar, Constantin Urban, Valérie-Françoise Vogt, Anton Viehl, Johanna Teresa Wallenborn, Nils Weger, Mathias Wollin, Max Wolf, Marc Zeman