For several years, linux.conf.au, a week-long conference (held this year from January 22-26), has held "miniconfs" offering space for tech community niche groups to share their inventions and ideas. In 2018, 12 miniconfs were held on the first two days of the conference, and the Art + Tech miniconf took the concept to the next level with an entire day of 11 talks about making art with tech, as well as an art exhibition head during the conference. This miniconf was organized by blue ribbon award-winning knitter Kris Howard.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article contain mature content. As Kathy Reid, Linux Australia president, said: "Significant art is often contentious, because it challenges who we are and the notions we hold of ourselves. Our job here is to allow that art to be shown, while creating a safe environment for those who do—and do not—wish to view it."
The Art + Tech miniconf was held on Tuesday, the second day of the conference, but a lot of the speakers' work was exhibited during the Monday lunch break. This allowed attendees from around the conference to see the artwork on display and drove interest in the talks on Tuesday.
The future of art
The opening talk, "The future of art," was presented by J. Rosenbaum, one of the miniconf artists, who began by saying, "Robots are not our evil overlords, they are our new best friends." J. shared a showcase of artistic works, ranging from the cute and interesting to borderline disturbing. Some of the more consumable examples were the works from Botnik, the minds behind the recently viral "Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash."