Digital Backyards Forum The Upgrade! International experience

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  • Upgrade! International is a network of gatherings concerning art, technology and culture. It is formed in 1999, from where it developed into an international network with 33 members at the moment.
    Upgrade! Is an example for building a strong platform for collaboration between selected professionals: artists, curators and cultural workers, making it a valuable resource for collaboration. Upgrade! Events were taking place in physical spaces, sharing the content on it’s website. The members met biannually in festival format followed by conferences, exhibitions, performances and various other events. The network had it’s ups and downs, and at the moment its activities are lower.

    I would like to discuss about the visibility and invisibility of these networks, about the growth and decline and about the professional benefit we could gain from participating in them and using them as a filter for a specific kind of art and information. Upgrade! members were chosen mostly by recommendation from some of the members, or because of their previous work achievements. Despite it’s visible presence through the monthly events, Upgrade! International members built invisible networks and professional ties and partnerships among themselves that are still very strong. This direct approach and the spontaneous network growth resulted in creating a network of trust between its members, that continues beyond the network activities. I find these informal but strong networks very important for my work as a curator, and I would like to discuss how could we find a model of making a better use of this kind of resources.

    Elena Veljanovska ·
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