Happy 1st Birthday reallybigroadtrip

The question I’m asked most often about this project is when reallybigroadtrip started or will end. I find it impossible to answer this in one simple sentence but here’s the messy answer.

In some ways it started three years ago when I came up with the idea and scribbled down a load of notes, giggling to myself about how ridiculous it would be if I could pull it off. I was so enamoured with the idea that I immediately registered the domain name http://reallybigroadtrip.com – that was July 10th 2010. Or maybe it started in October 2011 when I wrote it up as an initial funding application (which was rejected), or April 2012 when I started the crowdfunding campaign, or July 2012 when the campaign ended. Or November 2012 when I found homeJames, or New Year’s Eve when I ‘moved in’ (albeit just a swag in the back of an empty shell), or May 2013 when she finally had a bed, a kitchen sink, roof racks and some basic storage spaces.

And the end date? Well there is no ‘end date’ :)

Happy 1st Birthday reallybigroadtrip!

big bus meets big orange

I’m not really doing anything specific for this, but I think every durational project (and their beautiful big red bus) needs a birthday so I have decided to make one up.

The day I knew this absurd dream was actually going to come to life was July 11th 2012 on what became known as ‘tweet day’. It was the day when my crowdfunding campaign went viral and I reached my target thanks to huge support from my hardcore supporters and tweets from Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman and Hugh Jackman. I think reallybigroadtrip’s birthday should therefore be today, July 11th.

I hope wherever you are you will raise a glass and toast her health like I will be toasting yours (probably with a hot toddy and a box of tissues rather than champagne, though, since I’m hunkered down with flu).

reallybigroadtrip’s first year

boreen point campsite for Floating Land

It’s been an astonishing year+ for me thanks ENTIRELY to my pozible supporters and all the other amazingly generous people who have shared so much kindness by way of beds/sofas, parking spots, moral support and hugs. I’ve literally not stopped since a good month before the campaign started last year and I’m utterly exhausted, but entirely happy to be where I am. Fortunately I now get a bit of a break, so that I can spend some proper settling-in time with my beloved bus.

homeJames is now truly a home (albeit far too full of stuff!) and I’m truly on ‘the journey’. Both my last two bookings and almost all my forseeable future ones are exclusively about making my own work rather than servicing other peoples’ creative practice. I really am now living the life I set out to. Gulp.

By way of a mini-summary: since New Year alone (when I started to live in homeJames), I have: spoken at the Haecksen mini-conf at Linux Conference; been one of The Subjects in a sleep deprivation residency; been commissioned/exhibited at Canberra’s Centennial celebrations; helped make Adelaide’s inaugural Mini Maker Faire happen; completed two stages of bus modifications; run two Nomadic Fab Lab tours; talked about crowdfunding and social media experiences for CraftSouth; been an Artist in Residence at Floating Land Festival and a Keynote Speaker at Balance/UnBalance Conference in the Sunshine Coast; worked with Elliott Bledsoe on ISEA2013‘s online community wrangling while also speaking at the ISEA2013/Vivid Ideas public talks and showcasing homeJames in a mini version of reallybigroadtrip. I’ve also done a few radio interviews about some of the above and been back on Download this Show again, which is always a treat.

Phew.

Next steps

In a huge turning point I’ve had two arts grants confirmed, one for ArtsSA’s Unexpected City program and another one that’s still under embargo. It’s pretty fantastic that the crowdfunding support built foundations for a project that now gets actual recognition from ‘traditional funding’; I’m blown away by that.

My next gig is being a mentor/collaborator on an Underbelly Arts Festival project called “Ghosts of Biloela” by Creative Nonfiction. It’s a locative media project which means that your physical location triggers different parts of the story. My Nomad in Residence for this one is Edwin van Ouwerkerk Moria who has a lot of experience working with locative narratives as he was one of the developers behind 7scenes. More on this nearer the time…

There is a public lab from 24th-31st July where we can share some of the work-in-progress (please come along and help us test it) and the actual festival is on 3rd/4th August – you can buy tickets here. I’m also involved in a live debate on Sunday 4th, where Jamie Gerlach and I will be slogging out whether love or art is better.

My Pozible supporters will have already heard about this because I gave them an early announcement. homeJames and I will be ferried over to Cockatoo Island a little earlier and I thought it would be a fun place to offer some of the dinners, high teas and ‘location for a photoshoot’ type things I have promised as rewards. Obviously dates and times are limited so depending on how many of you want to take me up on this we may do a group effort! Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in and I’ll try to coordinate the best for everyone.

After Cockatoo Island in August I’m heading back up to Brisbane where I’m becoming part of a 3D Printing test team for The Edge, building my own Prusa i3 and doing a few other bits n bobs. Then I head back to Adelaide to start work on my Unexpected City project which will happen Oct-Dec and feature a number of pop-up ‘Nights with a Nomad’ (more info to come).

In September – hopefully, if I get a travel grant – I’ll be heading to the Northern Hemisphere to speak at Ars Electronica in Australia and be a resident of the Nomadic Village in France. I won’t have homeJames with me but if any of you Northern Hemisphere types fancy a coffee drop me a line and I’ll try to coordinate something.

After that, well, there are a few things in the pipeline and some really exciting news coming up that shapes 2014. But I think that’s more than enough for one post :)

As always keep in touch via the comments here, facebook & twitter and I’ll seeya somewhere on the road!

UPDATE: erm, it seems I picked the date well. It’s also Tesla’s birthday today, and we LIKE HIM A LOT!