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. The first meeting took place at a bar in the east village with Tim Whidden & Mark River [MTAA], Mark Napier and founder, media artist Yael Kanarek. Upgrade! New York partnered with Eyebeam in March 2000.
The first and the second Upgrade! International gatherings have taken place in the United States in 2004th and 2006th. After this experience, some members of the network expressed their wish to get familiar with other countries, artistic contexts and realities of Upgrade! members.
Upgrade! Skopje hosted by Line initiative and movement, received the network’s support to organize and host the 3rd international gathering, Chain Reaction in Skopje, Macedonia, between 11 - 14 September 2008.