Happy Birthday, UpStage!

Twenty years ago today, 9 January 2004, UpStage was officially launched in Wellington, Aotearoa/NZ, and online. Today we celebrate this auspicious artistic anniversary with parties in UpStage!

Happy Birthday UpStage
A birthday card from Mem

As well as continuously providing an accessible, artist-led venue for cyberformance for twenty years, UpStage has produced six online festivals (2007-2012), co-organised the 2012 CyPosium – an online symposium about cyberformance – and initiated many international artistic collaborations including the current Mobilise/Demobilise project which enabled the complete rebuild of the UpStage software in 2021.

UpStage has a long and valuable active involvement within global digital arts and technology networks and communities. As an open source software project, UpStage has nurtured fun and fruitful ongoing collaboration between artists and developers, and encouraged digital artists to think critically about the tools we used and participate in software design and development.

Now in its 20th year, UpStage continues to evolve with the times and the technology while maintaining its ethos of accessibility, artistic experimentation and playful persistence.

We acknowledge UpStage’s originators, the globally dispersersed cyberformance troupe Avatar Body Collision (Karla Ptacek, Leena Saarinen, Vicki Smith and Helen Varley Jamieson); the original developer, Douglas Bagnall; and Creative New Zealand and the NZ Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, who provided the initial funding for UpStage.

And we send a massive thank you to the global UpStage community – all of the artists, developers, researchers, funders, audiences, colleagues and conspirators who have cheered on and contributed to UpStage over the last two decades, in ways big and small; UpStage would not still be here without you!

If you would like to give UpStage a birthday present, donations are always welcome! https://upstage.org.nz/?page_id=278