Going Beyond the Code
How Rust + WebAssembly becomes art on the Arch
The Mozilla team with the collaboration of light artists Ian Brill would be the first to visualize the power of WebAssembly as art.
To learn more about the wired workings of this project, visit this excellent Mozilla Hacks post by Lin Clark. This post will continue with the story of the project.
Tech is good at making solutions; art is good at asking questions — Sean White, Chief R&D Officer, Mozilla
To make the experience as holistic as possible, the Arch experiential program was designed with a three prong approach: 1) the onsite experience, 2) the online experience, 3) and content creation; engagement with our community long after the conference ends.
The Onsite Experience
Wait — How many fire extinguishers do we need? — shocked teammate
Our team was challenged with (literally) standing up a project that would be constructed in a space with multiple unknown factors that involved incredibly detailed logistics. In short, we had to build out an unknown, untested structure that incorporates a highly experimental module program that was only kinda-sorta tested in real life, once.
We assembled parts from 6am til 9pm during an unusual heat wave that reached over 90F on certain days. And learned more than we cared to about German fire light health and safety regulations. We are eternally grateful for the JSConfEU team for standing by us during every hurdle and finding solutions, quickly, to get to YES. And oh, the answer is eight. Four pairs of two sizes of officially licensed fire extinguishers to make sure the installation would not go up in flames.
The Online Experience: https://experiencethearch.mozilla.org/
Wow…What is it? How do I get started? — overheard from an attendee
The website is both an anchor for the Arch experience to exist as a visualization of a programing language — beyond an installation with blinking lights — as well as a place where coders and creators (onsite and remote) can get documentation to get started on how to build the module, test, and place it in queue for deployment on Arch.
The site functioned as a place to “learn more” as well as a community space populated with examples of other contributors who have placed their modules in this digital queue.
And having an evening talk by Lin Clark on WebAssembly enriched the onsite experience even more.
Content Creation: Engagement after the conference
Tell us your name and what the Arch means to you — lead in interview question
As part of our 2018 engagement strategy to connect with our audience beyond the event, our marketing team was onsite to record interviews to be live as evergreen content on our owned channels and syndicate sites. We worked with local videographer Seth Coleman who graciously lugged around heavy gear to set up shots and record footage to capture the onsite excitement.
Local media NeoAvantGarde also wanted to know more about this code and art project by Mozilla and published this piece for their German audience.
And that is the beauty of the Arch. It lives beyond the plastics and lights during three hot days in Berlin. It’s now an experience that can be revisited and augmented, continuously.
Stay tuned — videos are being edited and will be shared soon!
Asymptote of Crises
How we approached the brink of disaster before achieving glorious success, and may always be too close to that line of crises…
Let’s not kid ourselves — this was a labor of love, exploration, and growing pains. And like many experimental projects, hopes were sometimes too high, and eyes too wide with foolish expectations. Like keeping within budget and on schedule. Such as expecting work to move according to our programed plans. And underestimating how teams from different parts of the world pushed to work together in a pressure cooker will face hurdles, constantly.
It took 8 days, sometimes twenty hours per day, and multiple helping hands, to push all parts to click and fit together.
The secret to our success was our people. Our community who were all invested in making this experiment a success. Let’s do it again.