About


OFFLOAD was the UK’s first network and systems art event on nature, sustainability and ecology. The event brought together international and national artists and practitioners interested in creating work that used new and existing media to critically comment on social and ecological systems.

OFFLOAD took place in Bristol in 2007 with additional events and ‘offshoots’ happening in 2008. This website documents the 2007 and 2008 programme. Please note the text for this site is written in the present tense. This site exist purely as an archive of the work carried out at the time of execution.

BACKGROUND

According to Gregory Bateson (anthropologist and cyberneticist) the basic unit of survival is the ‘flexible organism-in-its-environment’ (Steps to an Ecology of Mind, 1972, p. 457). Drawing on Bateson’s work, the focus for OFFLOAD is on ‘Systems for Survival’. OFFLOAD will focus on work, which visualises, reflects, comments on and/or extends the systems or networks we live and operate within. Emphasis will be placed on interactive, event and durational based work, which evolves or emerges over time and requires audience participation.

OFFLOAD will focus on the following themes:

HEALTH, WEALTH AND PLAY
In 2012 the Olympic games will be held for the third time in the UK. This event is in part providing a focus and space for rethinking our relationship with our health and wellbeing. Linking sport and fitness with the Darwinian concept of survival of the fittest provides a sub-theme concerned with concepts of adaptability and flexibility.
How do our technically mediated forms of work, play and living extend, constrain or support our ways of being? What are the values and inherent meanings behind notions of health, wealth and play? What do we consider to be the balance between them?

TRADE, NETWORK AND NOMADS
Our second sub-theme refers to ideas around globalisation, transfer and the economies of goods, knowledge, objects, planets, animals and people. Within this strand we are focusing on trade agreements that are currently in place around carbon emissions and climate change. This strand connects to the first sub-theme by extending the concept of survival to focus on exchange and how our methods of exchange and adaptability in this area help us to survive. Emphasis will be on work which bridges virtual, online and real worlds. In particular we are interested in work which examines systems, infrastructures and/or architectures for exchange and transfer and the implications such networks have for our lives. Questions around whether virtual traffic simply replicates existing problems or provides alternative solutions will also be addressed within this sub-theme.