A sermon from Lauren Lee McCarthy

Tuesday 30th November, 2021 - Bruce Sterling

*These sermons get a lot more convincing when people have been actually doing it for twenty years.


They want us to think technology is a black box. Accept the terms of service. You can’t know what’s inside. You can’t modify it. You certainly can’t make your own.We didn’t believe it so we made p5.js.

Making p5.js meant starting with deep uncertainty and many questions. Becoming comfortable with not knowing, with making mistakes, with always being in a process of learning. Following each question until it led us to many more.

How do you get started with something new when you’re scared?
How do we ask for help?
How do we think about making a tool?
Which users do we prioritize?
What assumptions are we making about them?
How do we organize our code?
Can we value every type and size of contribution?
When do we trade performance of our tool for legibility of the source code?
How do we elevate the role of documentation?
How can we teach people to use the tool?
Which language are they speaking?
Which words are we choosing to use?
How do we make decisions with a large group of people?
Can we make space for many different people to lead?
How do we acknowledge the endless amount of emotional labor required?
How do we support each other?

We were artists, designers, coders, writers, organizers, teachers, students, beginners. We were contributors. We could see that our open-source project had so many more needs than just code. We needed people to write tutorials and documentation and website text. To answer questions on the forum and respond to issues on GitHub and answer emails. To create curricula and examples and livestreams. To reinterpret the project in other languages and cultural contexts. To test and build out web accessibility for disabled users. To work with local communities to organize workshops, meetups, exhibitions, community spaces, community days. To share code and ideas through their artwork….