My New Website!

Dear Readers,

My website and blog have now moved to – please visit me there and let me know what you think!!

Thank you to Ronaldo Barbachano and Jon Phillips for their help!!



Internet Archive Salon at Gray Area Foundation For The Arts (03/03/10)

The Internet Archive is building an Internet library offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. The Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages. Much of this store of human knowledge is available for creative reuse. The Internet Archive Salon hosted by Gray Area Foundation For The Arts will discuss the resources available at the Internet Archive, how artists and creative people can access and contribute to the Archive, and our Open Library and BookServer projects.

The Internet Archive contains more than 100,000 hours of television, 200,000 moving images, 400,000 audio recordings, 1,800,000 books and 150,000,000,000 web pages (through the Wayback Machine). In addition to providing access to these materials the Archive can be a resource for storage and bandwidth for appropriate publicly-accessible projects (for example the Electric Sheep distributed computing artwork and Creative Commons licensed feature film Sita Sings The Blues). The Open Library aims to have comprehensive information about every book ever published. It is wiki-editable and provides a data API that can be used to retrieve information about books and authors. The BookServer initiative aims to create an open ecosystem for vending and lending digital books.

We hope that you will join us in our mission of Universal Access To All Knowledge. Perhaps your project can help others access the resources of the Internet Archive and even help build it.

When – Wednesday, March 3, 2010, 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Where – Gray Area Foundation for the Arts @ 55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Map)
Please RSVP to

Petabox Storage Cluster

Electric Sheep by user brood

Announcing: Palomar5 comes to Gray Area!


The innovation program Palomar5 extends its activities to the US in 2010: Start of a 4-month pilot cooperation with Gray Area Foundation for the Arts in San Francisco. Former camp residents get another thrilling place to continue their projects….

Berlin / San Francisco: After the successful premiere of Palomar5’s 6-week Innovation Camp in Berlin in Fall of 2009, the non-profit organization and its extended network of participants, experts and partners, will proceed the exploration of creative spaces throughout 2010. While continuing operations at the newly renovated Berlin home base, Palomar5 is spreading its wings internationally to enlarge its network, continue working on existing projects, spark new ideas and boost discussions within the core topics springing from the network of young inventors, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs.

In the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA), Palomar5 has found an ideal partner to join in the effort to make the world a little more humane, sensible and interesting. From February 1st, Palomar5 will take a temporary place within GAFFTA’s San Francisco studio. In this “Hub”, members of the Palomar5 network will continue with projects that emerged from the Palomar5 Camp and involve themselves in activities with the GAFFTA team.

“This cooperation is based on a mutual belief in the benefits of open exchange, multidisciplinary surroundings and the will for change” explains Josette Melchor, Executive Director of GAFFTA. Mathias Holzmann, Co-founder of Palomar5, who just came back from his visit adds: “I expect that our Palomar5 projects will strongly benefit from GAFFTA’s inspiring environment and network – and vice versa.”

During the pilot cooperation, the following Palomar5 projects will be further elaborated in the GAFFTA Studio:

Strata Labs: A networking effort thinking about new tools to visualize and utilize data
A Human Right: A project to grant the world the human right of information by providing free access to broadband Internet.
Dada Technology: A Technology making the exchange of information between devices and people more haptic, humane and efficient
Display2000: Exploring and building large versatile neon-tube displays
Show Me Love Lab: An initiative aiming to make work more lovely
Startup4Startups: Founding a culture for startups to help each other to start up

Besides working on projects, Palomar5 is also going to host interactive workshops and other events in the GAFFTA studio to share experiences with the public and kick-off new ideas and discussions together.

About Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA). Gray Area Foundation for the Arts is a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to building social consciousness through digital culture. Guided by the principles of openness, collaboration, and resource sharing, our programs promote creativity at the intersection of art, design, sound, and technology. By making digital culture accessible, substantive and inspiring, we aim to help realize the greatest power of technology: to bring us closer, faster.

About Palomar5 e.V.: Palomar5 was founded 2009 as a non-profit initiative in Berlin with the aim to explore and construct ideal creative spaces while building a network to build and test these. Fall 2009, Palomar5 brought together 28 “Digital Natives” from all around the world in a six-week innovation-camp to discuss and prototype tangible solutions within the broad topic of “the future of work”. Thirteen main projects connecting technology, business and culture sprung from this camp – together with a culture of great trust, personal freedom and humane working methods that Palomar5 aims to share with the outside world. Palomar5’s main sponsor has been Deutsche Telekom AG, one of the world’s leading telecommunication companies.

Palomar5 “The Movie” – Trailer from Palomar5 on Vimeo.

Links to Palomar5 projects:

Seizing Space (via SF Bay Guardian)


SF Bay Guardian has an interesting article this week about how grassroots organizations like Rebar are affecting change in city policy. The article talks of how the tactics and actions of these outlaw urbanists, designers and artists of reclaiming “dead” urban environments are increasingly being adopted inside City Hall, resulting in an urban design revolution (that harkens back to the 70’s). To read the full article see here.

“Locally, the success of events like Park(ing) Day have changed San Francisco’s approach to urban spaces, particularly on land left dormant by the economic downturn. Rebar, the permaculture collective Upcycle, and former MyFarm manager Chris Burley plan to turn the old Hayes Valley freeway property near Octavia, between Oak and Fell streets, into a massive community garden and gathering space. Plans are being hatched for temporary uses on Rincon Hill properties approved for residential towers. “Green pod” seating areas are sprouting along Market Street and there are plans to extend the Sunday Streets road closures next year. And, perhaps most amazingly, most projects are being accomplished with very little funding.

How has San Francisco suddenly shifted into high gear when it comes to creating innovative new public spaces? The key is their common denominator: they’re all temporary. As such, they don’t require detailed studies, cumbersome approval processes, or the extensive outreach and input that can dampen the creative spark.

But San Francisco is starting to prove that dozens of short-term fixes can add up to a true transformation of the urban environment and the citizenry’s sense of possibility.”

News & Updates from Gray Area Foundation for the Arts


Our current show featuring the work of C.E.B Reas, Camille Utterback and Stamen Design is on view, free and open to the public, until November 18, 2009. Please stop by and visit, our “OPEN” gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 1:00pm – 6:00pm.

A lot of exciting events are happening in the coming weeks and we look forward to seeing you there!! Here is what is in the works at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts…


Wednesday, October 21 – O’Reilly Web 2.0 Summit
When: 5:00pm
Where: Metropolitan Ballroom, Westin St Francis Hotel

Artist Aaron Koblin will be giving a speech titled “A Vision for Digital Art in San Francisco: the Launch of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts”, addressing trends in digital culture and debuting Gray Area Foundation for the Arts to the tech community at the Web 2.0 conference. Aaron Koblin is a Gray Area featured artist, designer and reseracher who is focused on creating and visualizing human systems. Currently part of Google’s Creative Lab in San Francisco, California, Aaron creates software and architectures to transform social and infrastructural data into rich digital expression. Koblin’s work has been shown internationally and is part of the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

Concurrently, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts will have a kiosk on display at the Web 2.0 conference debuting “Seaquence”, a project developed by Gray Area resident artists Ryan Alexander, Gabriel Dunne and Daniel Massey. Seaquence is an online social music experiment that allows users to create step-sequencer micro-compositions. Short musical patterns are represented as biology-inspired life forms which are heard as you navigate through their universe. Different sounds and timbres are visualized as unique character traits in each life-form. Users can navigate through the field of submissions, creating a unique musical and visual experience. For details see here.


Friday, October 23 – Art in Storefronts Tenderloin Launch
When: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Where: Reception and remarks at 989 Market Street at 6th Street

Central Market and North of Market/Tenderloin sidewalks will come alive as the Art in Storefronts pilot program officially kicks off with a community celebration, featuring live bands, the students of LINES Ballet, and a raffle to upcoming performances. The day will begin with an unveiling ceremony followed by a reception where the public can pick up a map to the newly-transformed storefronts.

To view the full program listing and descriptions of the featured artwork see here.


Saturday & Sunday, October 24-25 – ArtSpan Open Studios Tenderloin Region
When: 11:00am – 6:00pm
Where: various locations throughout the Tenderloin

GAFFTA will be participating in the city-wide ArtSpan Open Studio event by opening to the public the studios of our resident artists: Gabriel Dunne, Daniel Massey, Ryan Alexander, Miles Stemper, and Alphonzo Solorzano. Please join us in celebrating our neighborhood and the work of our talent artists!

ArtSpan lasts for four weekends, highlights four sections of the city and displays hundreds of artists. For full program listings see here.


Wednesday, October 28 – Overlap Salon: Dia de los Maxos
When: 7:00 – 9:00pm
Where: Gray Area Foundation for the Arts’s series of Max/MSP/Jitter/Live Salons will continue in a collaborative event with the Bay Area Computer Music Technology Group, hosted by the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. This will be an evening of informal lectures and performances: a brainwave system for the creation of music presented by Jef Stott; Edison making music with Max, Monomes, Live and low-bit samplers; Preshish Moments detailing and performing with his custom hardware controller and Max/MSP system for manipulating audio. For more information see here.


Wednesday, November 11 – Symposium with C.E.B Reas, Camille Utterback and Stamen Design
When: 7pm
Where: Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

Our featured artists give a talk and panel discussion showcasing their repertoire and, in context of their show at Gray Area, how they each explore openness, collaboration, public accessibility and participation in their work. Free to the general public.


Thursday, November 19 – Closing show ceremony with special performances by Lesley Flanigan and Tristan Perich

When: 8pm
Where: Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

We close our show with “Sculpting Sound”, a performance by artist and vocalist Lesley Flanigan, exploring both the physical and sculptural nature of sound. Performing handcrafted speaker feedback instruments and her own singing voice, Flanigan physically sculpts electronic music from an orchestrated mix of complex tones and rhythms that originate entirely from the acoustics of live feedback and voice.

Tristan Perich will be showcasing his new sound-work, “Dual Synthesis”, for harpsichord and 1-bit electronics. Perich performs on his own harpsichord, accompanied by four speakers emitting patterned 1-bit tones, synthesized by electronics. The duet pursues the sonic, geometric and conceptual relationship between these distinctive instruments.

To view our full calendar of events please visit our website at

A Better Market Street

The city of San Francisco has began to actively put in place some initiatives to improve Market Street. These include a traffic improvement program (which began on September 29th) whereby private vehicles on eastbound Market Street are required to turn right at 8th and 6th Streets. Another plan, in partnership with community groups and building owners, is to pilot mini-plazas at strategic sidewalk locations offering seating, tables, landscaping, and windbreak systems.

Additionally, there is the Art in Storefront Project, which we have already mentioned here on the blog and in which GAFFTA plays a crucial role, and that will debut on October 23rd in the Mid Market and Tenderloin region.


During this trial period, the city needs your feedback on these initiatives and how these measured can be improved upon. To voice your opinion you can:

This November, voters will be asked to vote on a measure called Proposition D to create a “Mid-Market Sign District”. This measure seeks to establishes a new special sign district between Fifth and Seventh Streets on Market Street and to direct a share of the advertising revenues to support youth arts education programs in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods. You can read more about this measure and an analysis on SPUR’s website. Also this is an excellent blog to view a historical account of the Mid-Market section.


To find out more specifics about the proposals of the San Francisco’s Planning Commission for Market Street, you can view their Market Street webpage. According to the site:

“Market Street can and should be a great place. To realize this goal, five key city agencies, together with community partners, will initiate a number of improvements over the next six to twelve months to test ways to improve Market Street between the Embarcadero and Van Ness Avenue. Your direct feedback on these pilot ideas will inform the City’s larger plan to redesign Market Street as a more pedestrian, bicycle and transit-oriented street. This larger redesign is scheduled to break ground in 2013, and is anticipated to be completed in 2015.

A renewed Market Street will anchor neighborhoods, link public open spaces and connect the City’s Civic Center with cultural, social, convention, tourism, and retail destinations, as well as with the regional transit hub that will be centered at the planned Transbay Terminal. More than a transportation link, though, the renewed Market Street will be a place to stop and spend time, meet friends, watch people while sitting in a café, or just stroll and take in the scene.

Improvements will provide a safe, universally accessible, sustainable and enjoyable place to be that attracts more people on foot, bicycle and public transit to local shops, neighborhoods and area attractions. New signage will also direct motorists to area garages and freeways. Finally, improving Market Street will go hand in hand with various plans already being developed for the wonderful array of neighborhoods surrounding our city’s main street.”

The Tenderloin Gets a Facelift With Gray Area (7x7sf Magazine)

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) is having its grand opening tomorrow, Thursday, October 1st, 2009!!!

We were recently featured in a wonderful blog post by 7x7SF Magazine and are on their front page!

Picture 3

read the full article on their website at http://7×

Watch out, SoMa and Union Square. You may soon be competing with a north of Market neighborhood as the epicenter of cutting-edge city art. That’s right—SF’s colorful Tenderloin district is about to get a much-needed facelift. Gray Area Foundation for the Arts [GAFFTA], a new nonprofit digital art and technology center, will officially open its doors on October 1. The state-of-the-art gallery space, studio facility and multimedia community center marks a milestone in the revitalization of this grungy area into a vibrant art district, while also providing a production and exhibition center for the Bay Area digital and progressive arts communities.


As a leader in technology and innovation, it was only a matter of time before the Bay Area filled a cultural void and opened a home for designers, engineers and creators to take on new projects via positive creative outlets. Gray Area has adopted the idea of “open to interpretation” as its mantra, embracing the notion that creativity lies in the space of what’s currently indefinable, resulting in a curious and thoughtful exploration that can lead to important innovation.

The inaugural exhibition “OPEN” (running 10/1 – 11/18) features the works of C.E.B. Reas, Camille Utterback and Stamen Design. From prints and sculptures to interactive video, generative processes and cartography, each work uniquely reflects GAFFTA’s core values of utilizing innovative technologies to promote collaboration, public interaction, resource-sharing and openness. The show also introduces a series of public workshops that will offer intensive training in such mixed media technology as creative coding in the Processing environment and many more to come. Amateur or serious working artist, these sessions are designed to give participants hands-on exposure to a wide array of projects and skills that foster creative exploration and practical development.


GAFFTA shines as the light of promise and possibility in both a neighborhood and economy that needs a burst of hope. So, whether you drop some cash to raise funds for GAFFTA at the Galvanize Gala on October 1 (6:30 – 9 p.m.), sign up for a workshop or simply choose to peruse the gallery, make sure Gray Area is on your radar.

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, 55 Taylor St., 415-843-1GAF.

Show your support by becoming a fan of the organization on Facebook and check out this video of the foundation’s back story.

forward/slash: The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts Story from GAFFTA on Vimeo.