MFA IXD logo

Collaboration and Community: Hold On Loosely

From SXSW Interactive in Austin, second-year student Russ Maschmeyer tells a lie, then issues an open call.

Yesterday I had an epiphany, and it all started with a lie.

Saturday morning I attended what I thought was a SXSW presentation on community building. It turned out to be less of a presentation, more of a sharing and discussion group about the communities we were building. Uh oh. I suddenly realized there were forty eager over-sharers between me and the exit doors. It was too late. I hadn’t come prepared to talk about the community I was building. I wasn’t even building a community! So when it came time for me to share… I told a little lie.

Well I’m a graduate student, building a new kind of expressive instrument, so I’m trying to build a community of musicians to play with it and help build it, together, into something really valuable.”

It was a little white lie—until I heard myself say it.

Then I realized how ridiculous it was that it wasn’t the truth. It immediately dawned on me how transformative turning full-force to a community could be. The idea is nothing revolutionary, but if you’re like me, it may be revelatory.

OpenFrameworks artist and developer Zach Lieberman talks consistently about DIWO, Do It With Others. It’s the central tenet behind the open source movement—not mention our democracy—but we often take those bodies (politic or otherwise) for granted. Of course you would need to get together with others to manage a country. Of course you would need to open source your code on a project that large. But here’s the kicker: those projects didn’t start out that large. They started as some person’s hobby, somebody’s pet project. You can’t build to that scale, or sustain it, without asking for some serious help.

Group photo of Motiv Musicians & Developers on staircase at SXSW Interactive in Austin.
Group photo of Motiv Musicians & Developers on staircase at SXSW Interactive in Austin.

Motiv Musicians & Developers MEETUP.COM Page

Share it on Twitter by using this link:–Russ Maschmeyer Class of 2011

Keep Reading

co-24: Class of 2024 Thesis Exhibition
Prospective Student FAQs