What Will Those Zany MIT Kids Come Up With Next?


It was something we heard a lot about at the AIGA Design Conference in Boston last year, then we poked around the web for awhile looking for it, then forgot about it, but when it magically appeared on our radar once again, oh, how we were joyous. Open Studio, an “experiment in creativity, collaboration and capitalism” has launched quietly under the watchful eye of the MIT Media Lab. And like all MIT-sanctioned experiments, it rules.

Open Studio features great work from artists and designers that can be purchased or collected in galleries. The catch, however, is that all these pieces live exclusively online, where they were created with one of MIT’s new open-source creative software programs, Alpha Draw. Oh, and your money is no good here–when artists join they are given 100 “Buraks” (named after an MIT student) which can be spent and earned by purchasing a piece of art, or commissioning an artist. Perhaps they can explain it better, but it’s basically creating a micro-economy that places creativity squarely in the center, with free tools and access for all.

It’s still in the trial phase, which means you’ll need to be invited to participate (maybe email Papa Maeda with your plea), but it’s fun to browse until Open Studio opens. You can also play with Draw Alpha by clicking the pencil on the left hand side.

Coke and fries above by Armando Alegre.