Tree Temporality: Ecosystem by Ali S. Qadeer and Shaheer Tarar, courtesy of the artists.

Labour of Love: On Digital Economies in the Arts

Call for Artists | Browser as Canvas, Building, Pond

Coding Workshop with Ali Shamas Qadeer

Monday, December 2 to Friday, December 6, 2019

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art | 1, 460 Portage Ave | Winnipeg MB | Canada

*Submissions are now closed. 

As part of Labour of Love: On Digital Economies in the Arts, Plug In ICA will host a five-day coding workshop facilitated by Ali Shamas Qadeer.

Labour of Love is a series of lectures, screenings, and workshops that takes on the “public course” as a platform for engagement, highlighting the various ways in which the digital is interrogated, explored, celebrated, pushed to its limit, reworked, and re-invented by artists, scholars, curators, writers and others.

Dates: Monday, December 2 to Friday December 6, 2019
Time: 10am-4pm

Location: Plug In ICA, 460 Portage Ave. Unit 1, Winnipeg, MB

Workshop Overview
Browser as Canvas, Building, Pond will introduce artists to digital-first making practices using basic HTML, CSS, and JAVASCRIPT. Participants will learn to use browser as digital spaces to create “things” from visual forms to life forms. HTML is designed to be open, shareable and networked. It is simple to learn as it has a general stated intent and association that will be fun to break apart once mastered. There will be three ascending tasks through the workshop. Each task given will result in an earnest “net art” output. The workshop will culminate with a final output that will build into a digital ecosystem, living across web browsers.  Technically and conceptually, the workshop and process of building an ecosystem will offer an agency that makes visible how digital languages, as entities, are co-constitutive.


Monday: Drawing with code: A 2-hour crash course in HTML/CSS, followed by a simple 2-hour “life drawing” exercise using HTML/CSS.

Tuesday: Input and Output: a 3-hour intro to interactivity. Everyone creates rooms in an apartment building with moveable elements (super basic, super earnest).

Wednesday: Beginning an ecosystem: possible reading discussion of the terrain, phenomena, and creatures/entities. We will then map out behaviour of each participant’s intra-action, and end with a short coding exercise.

Thursday: Building the entities: work together to code entities and intra-action.

Friday: Build the terrain: put the entities into it, launch it as a site, and project it in the gallery.


Ali Shamas Qadeer is a designer and educator based in Toronto. He works in web, print, and web and print. After completing a BA in philosophy and religious studies at McGill University, he developed an independent design practice in New York City before returning to school to complete an MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014. His work focuses on algorithmic form making, unorthodox tool making, and the disciplinary and economic structures that design practices buttress. After returning to Canada in 2014, Ali joined the faculty of OCADU where he is an Assistant Professor in the graphic and industrial design programs. In his teaching practice, Ali champions a critical approach that always refracts through a practice of formalism and making.

How to apply: 

Artists will be paid a stipend of $1000 to take this coding workshop. Please submit a short paragraph describing your interest in coding, how it can be useful to your practice, and any specific skills you’d like to develop during this time. As well as a CV, a short bio, and if applicable, please include images of current work (5 images, 1MB max).

Please submit all materials as one PDF, with file name as Last Name_First Name_Coding, by Wednesday, November 20, 2019 to


o Laptop
o Browser (Chrome or Firefox preferred)

o Basic Software: Text Editor (sublime, atom, brackets)

All lectures and screenings are free and open to the public. Please note that Ali Shamas Qadeer will also be giving a lecture that is open to the public on Monday, December 2 at 7pm that is a co-presentation with School of Art, Graphic Design, University of Manitoba.

Associated Programming:

Labour of Love: On Digital Economies in the Arts

October 17 to December 12, 2019

Thursday, October 17 | 7pm

Screening: Videos by Hannah Black

October 17-November 17

Screening in Plug In’s Breezeway

More, Less, About the Same (2019)

By Alyssa Bornn

Thursday, November 7 | 7pm

Lecture by Suzanne Kite

Monday, November 18 | 8pm

Presentation by Hyphen-Labs

Friday, November 22 | 6pm

Presentation by IM4 Media Lab

Friday, November 22-23

Workshop by IM4 Media Lab

Monday, December 2 | 7pm

Lecture by Ali Shamas Qadeer

Co-presentation with School of Art, Graphic Design, University of Manitoba

Monday, December 2-6

Workshop by Ali Shamas Qadeer

Thursday, December 5 | 7pm

Lecture by Morehshin Allahyari

Co-presentation with Institute for the Humanities, University of Manitoba

Tuesday, December 17 | 7pm

Keynote Address by Hannah Black

December 6, 2019 – March 6, 2020

Screening in Plug In’s Breezeway

Soft Nails ~ [ASMR] Kleincomputer Robotron KC87

By Nadja Buttendorf

For participant bios + more information on the program:

This program is made possible through the Digital Strategy Fund: Digital and Intelligence by the Canada Council for the Arts.


Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art recognizes we are in the territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Dakota, Dene, Métis, and Oji-Cree Nations. Plug In ICA is situated in Treaty 1 territory, the ancestral and traditional homeland of Anishinaabe peoples. Treaty 1 was signed in 1871, taking this territory from seven local Anishinaabe First Nations in order to make the land available for settler use and ownership (Referenced from the University of Winnipeg).
Plug In ICA extends gratitude to our artists, generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers, with special thanks to our Director’s Circle.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We could not operate without their continued financial investment and lobbying efforts.

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and accessible to all, and enables us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at or by contacting Angela Forget:

For more information on this and our other education programs, contact Nasrin Himada at
For general information please contact: or call 1.204.942.1043