September 11, 2005

Milwaukee is wired.

by Mary Flanagan · , 9:58 pm

Did you know that Milwaukee was an early adopter in the free wifi movement, wiring downtown parks as public hotspots (modeled after the Long Beach free zone)? During my recent trip to the city known historically for beer and brats, the Violent Femmes, Liberace, MacArthur, and yours truly, I was surprised about the current urban-tech makeover the place is undergoing. Its almost a little Seattle. I had no problems finding free wifi in cafes, my hotel, and even the classic old school diners had wifi in their gardens. A healthy independent music scene, a plethora of used bookstores, great second hand shopping, and several local coffee roasters have turned my seventies rustbelt childhood home into a hip, albeit short on pretention, kind of town.

I was visiting to help inaugurate UW-Milwaukee’s innovative new conceptual studies program in the Film department, Peck school of the Arts, founded on a commitment to theory-practice integration and new media.

The film program is highly regarded: U.S. News and World Report ranked the UWM Department of Film in the top 7 graduate film programs at public universities. The Independent Film & Video Monthly rates UWM Film as one of the top 3 “non-Hollywood” film schools.

The program has a new series of colloquia in Conceptual Studies, “Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition.” Other speakers Fall 2005 include Victor Burgin, Greg Ulmer, Johanna Drucker, William Greaves, and Norman Klein.