What is PANIC?

PANIC is a term to describe the real-time artful convergence of net-denizens for the purpose of collaboration, cohabitation and experimentation. The activity originated in February of 1994 at a techno-event called smartBOMB1.0. PANIC was intended to be a one-time event, but the participants enjoyed the "live" interaction (via IRC and an open FTP directory) so much that they vowed to converge again the next weekend... and the next...

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.

Official PANIC Times

Tools of PANIC
  1. FTP
  2. Image-manipulation software: Photoshop, etc.
  3. IRC: Internet Relay Chat, channel #otis
  4. WWW: World Wide Web is optional
  5. A Pulsing Gigantic Brain: yours or someone elses
  6. Video Frame Grabber and VidCam
  7. Scanner

All are helpful, but only 1 and 2 are mandatory. Number 3 is a terrific enhancer.

Feel free to organize your own PANIC sessions via the OTIS Mailing List. Remember, the FTP directory is open all the time.

The PANIC FTP Directory

Please send your comments, questions and suggestions to

Page last updated 9-24-94