PANICs usually take place in the wee-hours of weekend nights when all of the burdensome "real world" has slid off into the pond of dreams and tv-watching. When all the kids are put to bed, all spouses are snoring, all callers quelled.... the PANICkers arise. Isolated, but not alone. Separated, but intensely connected. Images and ideas evolve.
On an average PANIC night, or session, there have been anywhere from six to a dozen people from all around the globe chatting on IRC and exchanging images. There are several regulars, the hardcore PANICkers, and about twice as many occasional collaborators. Meetings on IRC start around 10pm CST on channel #otis...and people are free to upload "seed" images and manipulations to the PANIC FTP Directory at any time during the week.
PANIC has also been a way to link up to parties, concerts and events, which is fitting considering that the first PANIC was hosted from a nightclub in Minneapolis. At BUZZfest in Texas, images of bands and people were sent back and forth in various states of distillation. Another Texas-based event, ROBOfest, did much the same thing, this time hosted from a large robotics convention rather than a concert. PANICs have also been held at virtual events like NetJam and the popular graphics convention, SIGGRAPH 1994.
The purpose of PANIC is to explore the semi-real-time dynamics of collaborative art on the Internet and to develop the resulting discoveries into visual imagery to display to the world via web-pages like these and in planned books, 3d cubes, posters and such.
Some bigger projects to emerge from PANIC sessions have been the INFINITE GRID, the GRID Gallery, and the CORPSE project. All of which are available at the main OTIS site.
All are helpful, but only 1 and 2 are mandatory. Number 3 is a terrific enhancer.