The Art of Python is a miniature arts festival at PyCon North America 2019, focusing on narrative, performance, and visual art. We intend to encourage and showcase novel art that helps us share our emotionally charged experiences of programming (particularly in Python). We hope that by attending, our audience will discover new aspects of empathy and rapport, and find a different kind of delight and perspective than might otherwise be expected at a large conference.
In short, we are interested in how fictional narrative, visual and performance art, and different presentation formats can make different kinds of teaching and representation possible.
Right now, we persuade and teach each other in a certain range of session types at PyCon. We have lots of lectures, panel discussions, live tool demonstrations, hands-on workshops and trainings, and birds-of-a-feather discussion sessions. This proposal would help us explore how art such as theater can do things those formats can’t do. Like songs and cartoons, narrative art can encapsulate wisdom in stories and characters, and use entertainment value to help audiences retain that wisdom.
Especially when it comes to the emotionally fraught experiences in programming (code review, hiring, debugging, architectural negotiation, etc.), the medium of theater is a promising way to encourage empathy in the viewer. Theater is a way to model healthy vulnerability, courage and conflict. And visual and performing arts such as dance and music are ways to share experiences that go beyond words. We only know ways to be if we can imagine them. We hope this festival will illustrate a few ways we can be.
One evening slot’s worth of programming, consisting of a series of plays, a visual art showcase, and music/dance performances, each running 5-20 minutes in length. We expect there to be many performers, who will rehearse prior to the convention, with stage management run by the organizing team.
Sumana Harihareswara has coordinated a readings and music festival (Fire and Water, 1998), stage managed a long-running play (I Look Like an Egg but I Identify as a Cookie, 2003-2004), and led event and curriculum/session planning for several hackathon/mini-conferences and sprints. She is also the co-creator of Python Grab Bag: A Set of Short Plays.
Erty Seidohl is a veteran conference organizer, with several years of experience as an organizer for !!Con.
Brendan Adkins is a software developer with a theater degree, and is an experienced pop-culture convention volunteer and panel moderator.
We are seeking many types of creative work, such as music/dance performances and visual art such as paintings, but expect the main body of the event to consist of short one-act plays about the experience of programming, running from five to twenty minutes in length, plus a short visual art showcase presentation where the artists will briefly display and discuss their work.
Please tell us about narrative, performance, and visual art you’d like to present.
Please submit by 28 February 2019 AoE.
Encouragement and help
Remember, the goal of this festival is to impart perspective about the emotional and challenging work of programming through the medium of entertainment. And it’s fine if your work addresses a programming experience that isn’t about Python specifically. The organizers look forward to reviewing your unique approach to this goal.
If you have any questions or would like help developing your submission concept, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and contact us. We can also help get programmers to advise and collaborate with playwrights, and vice versa!
Submissions should consist of:
- a brief bio of each of the major participants (a few sentences is fine). Put this in your “bio” field in your profile.
- a one-paragraph synopsis of the planned work. Put this in the “Elevator Pitch” section.
- documentation of the planned work (be that an outline, a lyric sheet, or a script in any sense of the word), inline or linked (plain text, PDF, JPEG, PNG, or Open Document Format preferred). Put this in the “Description” section.
You do not need to complete the work before submitting a proposal.
Brevity is key: as the entire festival will run during a single evening, and as the organizers would like to include as many valuable works as possible, we ask that all applicants creating performances to plan for their entry to run five to twenty minutes in performance.
Submissions will close on February 28th AoE.
- Call for proposals open: now till 28 February AoE
- Acceptance and rejection notifications: 10 March AoE
- Rehearsal video calls with Art of Python organizers: TBD, approximately week of 25 April
- Schedule announcement: TBD, approximately 28 April
- Art of Python committee working with submitters (providing editing, feedback, logistics guidance): through 3 May
- Art of Python festival: evening of Friday, 3 May