Logbook: cursor creative coding camp 2023

On Friday 26 May 2023 we made our way to the Blackland Girlguiding Farm in West Sussex, UK to go Off the Grid for our first CURSOR camp. Over the next 48 hours, the lodge in south England was filled by a group of people brought together by an interest in working creatively with digital questions. Participants joined one of three strands within our overarching theme of Off the Grid: Digital privacy, Technology and nature, and Digital minimalism.

The space was not just for intellectual exploration, but also creating something communal and cooperative. In the interest of this ethos, we wanted to share the following fragments documenting the weekend with you.

The camp would not have been possible without National Lottery Funding, through Arts Council England.

You can learn more about the camp, as well as relevant links for exploring the topics yourself on the archive page.

Writing by

AS - Anna Shams Ili (editor)
HC - Hannah Cobb
JC - Jeanyoon Choi
FS - Freja Smith
YM -  Yinglun Mao
JB - Jasmine Broadhurst
BD - Batool Desouky
SH - Semeli Hadjiloizou
J - Jiaoyang
JF - Jessica Fleur
Images by

Anna Shams Ili
Laura Lisauskaite
Maya Hertz
Anna Corfa
Freja Smith
Camp organisation

Anna Shams Ili
Laura Lisauskaite
Maya Hertz

Workshop hosts

Finn Weaver
Identity 2.0
L.A.B and Greg Swan

I felt this weekend was very much about ideas, conversations and research and less about finished outcomes. I would document the work more like a sketchbook showing ideas and references connecting with each other. FJ

I did a lot! I wrote a log to document this weekend. J

Well, strictly, I've never had this kind of experience before, I mean stay with a group of "like-minded" people, learning, working, walking, talking, thinking and cooking within 3 days, at a tranquil place. Read Jiaoyang’s log of the weekend here.

I really enjoyed thinking about other entities in the world to get advice about human-made problems. Data Privacy is a really big topic, so I was thinking about it as a personal day-to-day encounter with platforms. BD

We came up with a proposal for a game which dealt with how you can protect your data,
using a fat berg growing to symbolise the steps you can take to stop your data being collected.
 We questioned what actions individuals can take to improve their privacy around data.
We questioned what actions individuals can take to improve their privacy around data. JB

It is pretty fascinating to share experiences and new ideas with people who have a common interest, and physically
get close to nature, to stay in the countryside. YM

During the weekend, I enjoyed learning about new tools and ideas through the workshops, spending time in nature away from the hustle and bustle of London, and having the special opportunity to exchange ideas with creative practitioners who work across diverse fields. SH

We were thinking about the word 'share' and making sharing generous again on social networks - connecting with people only through the same wifi network and being able to share temporary images/thoughts/streams of consciousness before they would disperse and you would never be able to access them again. HC

Access the app. Instructions: Two or more people should access the link at the same time. If one person uploads the picture, another person will receive the text/photo in real-time, which will degrade within 30 seconds. JC

What is ‘minimalism’ in a general sense? How do we get rid of unnecessary things in our daily lives? And how is this parallel to our behaviour within the digital sphere? The idea of degradation was motivated from metabiont perspective, metaphoring from how dead leaves are fed back within the ecological structure. JC

Clutter is costly, optimization is vital, intentionality is satisfying HC

All cooking was planned and prepared by Maya Hertz and Laura Lisauskaite.

What attracted me most to the camp lodge was the big kitchen! I put my luggage away and then rushed into the kitchen to prepare dinner with Maya. The others went and picked some flowers back to set the tables. From the viewpoint of the kitchen, the long and arranged table can be focused right in the [viewfinder](the kitchen hatch) and the green floor and chairs with the trees outside the window look harmonized.

The relationship between nature and tech is a topic that's close to me and a central theme of my creative practice. Within our group we talked about seeds and the parallels we could draw between them and technology e.g. data storage, conditions, dispersal, dormancy, backups. This conversation moved onto other relationships between nature and tech which we started to document collaboratively. You can view our 'Seedbank' here. FS

To avoid the idea that digital resources (e.g. storage and data) are abundant and unlimited - they are all closely linked with mega infrastructures in the physical world. We took inspiration from the natural world and thought about creating a lifespan for our digital resources. YM

Actually I can't say how much I loved that chilled vibe
where everyone talks about creativity and their practice in a relaxed way

Saturday was my favourite day, I felt closer to the other participants after that day. FJ

Enjoyed the commune feel, sharing responsibilities and being inspired by various people. JF

On the way back, the bus replaced the train to take us through the woodlands, and I was thinking about archiving and photocopying the many moments of the 3 days: 🥄stirring Penne Pasta in a giant iron stew pot with a big spoon, 🎞huddling together to watch a film, 💻 18 people working with their computer until midnight, 🏕lying and reading on the grass in the sun, 🍽eating breakfast at a long table on the porch, 🤹‍♀️friends taking sketchy notes on their ideas, and finally leaving a Polaroid group photo wondering what it would look like. what it looks like❓ Common memories are a way of being with each other, and being is mutually engraved in each other's memories.