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last modified November 27, 2007 by mushon

Upgrade! is an international, emerging network of autonomous nodes united by art, technology, and a commitment to bridging cultural divides. Its decentralized, non-hierarchical structure ensures that Upgrade! (i) operates according to local interests and their available resources; and (ii) reflects current creative engagement with cutting edge technologies. While individual nodes present new media projects, engage in informal critique, and foster dialogue and collaboration between individual artists, Upgrade! International functions as an online, global network that gathers annually in different cities to meet one another, showcase local art, and work on the agenda for the following year.

Since April 1999, a group of new media artists and curators have gathered in New York City and the first meeting took place at a bar in the east village. Beginning in 2005, organizers and artists of the Upgrade! network began gathering annually or bi-annually, each time in a different city for a festival by artists who participated in the Upgrade! meetings around the world. First international meeting was in New York City in September 2005; and the second one in Oklahoma City in December 2006.
After the last two Upgrade! International gatherings have taken place in the United States, some members of the network expressed their wish to get to know other countries and realities of Upgrade! members. After submitting the project proposal, the network finally chose Skopje - Macedonia as the site for the next Upgrade! International festival in 2008.

Upgrade! Skopje is striving to organize a international meeting of Upgrade! International network according to general ideas and principals of Upgrade! International and would like to offer high level of organization in each aspect. This event would strengthen the international input of new artistic tendencies, which will further influence local artistic production. The event is an opportunity to establish new contacts, further cooperation between the nodes, progress and recognition of the network as a whole.

Each meeting there is particular theme according to which the meeting is developing. This year, after discussion between the nodes, the theme of Chain Reaction was chosen as a theme of the 3rd Upgrade! International meeting.
The meeting theme “Chain Reaction” refers to the collaboration between 5 nodes (Skopje, Istanbul, Berlin, Sofia and Belgrade) that will stand behind the coordination of the project, in order to gather all of the Upgrade! International nodes into an annual meeting. Chain reaction is depicting the network itself, the way it works and functions, correlates and interacts. The Upgrade! International started as a sparkle that gradually grows into an international group of nodes influencing each other continually through permanent communication, similar as the chain reaction in chemical or nuclear reaction. The meeting that gathers all nodes into one core event is result of the so called chain reaction.

On this occasion 50 international artists, curators, and arts producers will gather in Skopje to meet, present art projects, and further develop the network. The meeting it’s a great opportunity for sharing knowledge and experiences gained from professional engagement of each of the participant coming from different cultural an artistic community worldwide. It’s an extraordinary occasion to host this international artistic community in Skopje.