The Outpost Is Here
Last week, we opened the doors to The Outpost — XOXO’s new shared workspace for independent artists using the Internet to make a living.
We’ve filled the Outpost with people and projects we love — game designers, cartoonists, filmmakers, musicians, creative coders, writers, podcasters, fashion designers, and more.
Today, we’re ready to announce the Outpost’s launch lineup, an incredible list of indies currently working in the space that’s growing every day.
Like the festival itself, it can be hard to explain why the Outpost is special for those who haven’t experienced it, but here’s a start:
- It’s curated. The people working in the space are some of the most interesting indies working online, selected through an application process and chosen with a diversity of projects and demographics in mind.
- It’s need-blind. Charging a flat rate for membership excludes huge swaths of the independent universe, so members pay only what they can reasonably afford. The median cost at the Outpost is $100/month—some members pay more, some pay nothing at all.
- It’s focused on independent artists. These days, most coworking spaces seem to cater to a particular class of well-funded tech startups, charging a minimum $400/month for a desk, leading to spaces dominated by tech workers. (Nothing wrong with that—it’s just not what we’re into.)
To make this possible, we’re trying a unique revenue model—rather than relying on membership fees alone, we’ve partnered with patrons to help subsidize costs for everyone.
The Launch Lineup
We could try to explain all day why the Outpost is unique, but we think the current list of members explains it best. Here’s our launch lineup.
Courtney Stanton and Darius Kazemi are the founders of Feel Train, a worker-owned creative technology cooperative reintroducing serendipity to the Internet. Recent projects include Stay Woke Bot, a collaboration with Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, the Electric Objects Salon at last year’s XOXO, and their latest, Madame Eva, a Twitter bot that transformed the official Dungeons & Dragons Twitter account into a gothic fortune teller. (You may also remember Darius from his award-winning talk from XOXO 2014.)
Laura Hudson is the senior editor for Offworld, the gaming publication published by Boing Boing with co-editor and XOXO 2014 speaker Leigh Alexander. Laura recently launched The Offworld Collection, a Kickstarter project to fund a hardcover anthology of the site’s best writing, which blew past its goal with over $45,000 raised so far and nearly 900 backers. Her upcoming project, currently unannounced, is guaranteed to make headlines… Stay tuned.
Fernando Ramallo is a creative coder, designer and visual artist creating playful interactive art and videogames. Panoramical, his latest project, is a collection of interactive audiovisual landscapes with analog controls, currently a finalist in three categories at the prestigious Independent Games Festival Awards.
Kirby Ferguson and Nora Ryan
Husband and wife team Kirby Ferguson and Nora Ryan are fixtures at XOXO, debuting new work at our last three festivals from Everything Is A Remix, the groundbreaking video series on remix culture, and This Is Not A Conspiracy Theory, their episodic documentary about the hidden forces that shape our lives.
The Chairs’ Hiatus, the debut graphic novel from cartoonist Matthew Bogart, tells the funny and touching story of an indie rock duo who parted ways. Available for free online, it’s now available in a gorgeous hardback edition, thanks to a successful Kickstarter project. His latest projects are Oh, It’s the End of the World and New Haven Lodge, a webcomic about three friends searching for a historic lodge hidden deep in the woods.
Angela and Aubrey Webber are The Doubleclicks, a nationally-touring, Billboard-charting musical duo who make music on the Internet about cats, dinosaurs, and feelings. Their videos on YouTube boast nearly three million views, they raised over $136,000 on Kickstarter to record their last two albums, and their Patreon backers pledged over $2,000 for each new video.
Victoria Wang is the designer and co-founder of Neocities, a community of 64,500 sites that’s bringing back the lost individual creativity of the web by providing free hosting and tools to allow anyone to make a website. Victoria also created Hibari, an elegant Twitter app for Mac, and is working on SwarmBot, a cryptocurrency Slackbot to offer rewards for open source contributions.
Asha Dornfest is the founder and author of Parent Hacks, the ridiculously popular site and community devoted to smart tips for life with kids. Her upcoming book inspired by the site will be published this April through Workman Publishing, currently available for preorder through Amazon, Powell’s, or your favorite independent bookseller.
Tyesha Snow is a user experience/product designer and podcast evangelist — the creator of What Podcasts Should I Listen To?, a guide to the podcast universe. We’re thrilled that Tyesha is leading development on the XOXO Audio Studio, a community studio for podcasts and audio production projects, on site at the Outpost.
Josh Millard manages the venerable 16-year-old community MetaFilter, hosts three podcasts, is a prolific musician, and a relentless creator of weird Internet — like The Big Markovski, LARP Trek, and Ennuigi, an experimental game that follows a “depressed, laconic Luigi as he chain smokes and wanders through a crumbling Mushroom Kingdom.”
Elizabeth Simins is the illustrator and comics artist behind Manic Pixel Dream Girl and Gaming’s Feminist Illuminati, self-publishing her fan-funded comics with the support of nearly 200 Patreon backers on her site. Last week, she released her 2015 Sketchbook through Gumroad, a collection of her favorite previously-unreleased sketches and drawings from last year. She is currently working on her first long-form graphic novel, a memoir about queerness and identity.
Rael Dornfest is a board game designer, author, and engineer, with a long history of pioneering open-source and engineering work at companies like O’Reilly Media, Twitter, Medium, and currently as Head of Product at Charity: Water. His upcoming board game, Tiffin, is a fast-paced, resource-delivery board game in which players represent dabbawallas delivering hot lunches by bicycle across Mumbai for rupees.
Political cartoonist Matt Bors is creator and editor of The Nib, a comics publication launched in partnership with Medium in September 2013. After publishing more than 2,000 comics, Matt successfully raised more than $51,000 from 1,250 backers on Kickstarter to fund a giant 300-page hardcover anthology that shipped last November. Just last week, Matt announced that he was joining forces with First Look Media, publishers of reported.ly and The Intercept, to relaunch The Nib as an independent daily publication and newsletter.
Laura E. Hall
Laura E. Hall is a writer, artist and experiential designer focusing on the intersection of storytelling, play and technology. She’s the writer and game designer behind 60 Minutes to Escape, Portland’s first escape-the-room puzzle game, and is currently writing a book about Katamari Damacy for the Kickstarter-funded Boss Fight Books.
Kelly Kend is a photographer and documentary filmmaker working to amplify quieter voices with her work. Yeah Maybe, No, her Kickstarter-funded feature-length debut, explored consent and sexual assault on campus through the eyes of a male survivor. She’s currently wrapping production on Engage by Uplift, a 26-part video series on sexual violence in online communities.
Chris Higgins is an independent writer and filmmaker, a contributor to Mental Floss, This American Life, and The Magazine. He’s the author of The Blogger Abides, his self-published book on surviving the world of freelance writing, and currently filming two documentaries on accessibility for the blind in modern technology, and the competitive world of Tetris World Masters.
Dan Wineman is an independent software developer with a background in iOS and Mac development, but now working on a secret thing for a secret thing. We’d love to tell you what he’s working on, but we can’t. Because it’s secret. But you’re going to love it.
Of course, this is also the central headquarters for XOXO—aka me and Andy McMillan. We both work in the space every day managing the Outpost and working on our respective projects outside XOXO. For me, that includes Waxy.org, Belong.io, and Upcoming.org, which is close to launch and will power the Outpost’s event calendar. 💯
Working with these people every day is already the best, and we’re just getting started. We’re going through applications constantly, and adding new members to the roster nearly every day.
And we’re gearing up to start running regular events in the Outpost—a unique slate of talks, postmortems, meetups, and launch parties from some of the most creative people working at the intersection of art and tech.
See you there.