During last Thursday’s lecture the concept of crowdsourcing was introduced. This term isn’t specifically used in the context of digital art. It was first introduced by Jeff Howe. He was inspired by the idea of outsourcing, which is (according to Wikipedia, my best friend) “the process of contracting an existing business process which an organization previously performed internally to an independent organization, where the process is purchased as a service.” Howe thinks that the Internet adds a new dimension to the international market. A large group of customers is available through the Internet, whereas it was previously almost unreachable. A wide array of all sorts of people can be reached and used in the process of production and distribution.
Imagine, for instance, that you want to set up a restaurant. To gain some publicity, you create a website. You’re just starting, so you don’t have the money to hire a professional photographer. Instead, you search the Internet for pictures you can use to decorate your website. Try it yourself: use Google Images and search for, for example, ‘food’, ‘wine’, ‘meat’, ‘fish’, ‘soup’, ‘dessert’, etc. No need to take your own pictures, there are plenty on the Internet. And since they’re there already, you’re free to copy-paste them. (Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not very familiar with the rules of copyright on the Internet!)
A more direct way of crowdsourcing is administered by the advertising industry. Think of the advertisements you see on Facebook or in your online mailbox. You didn’t ask for them, they’re just there. What information is send to whom is selected, but everyone receives ‘ads’. The customer is a will-less receiver: it is almost impossible to ignore the information the Internet is constantly sending. On the other hand, the customer is a distributor. Funny commercials or webpages for certain brand are shared through the Internet. It is possible to ‘like’ a brand or a product on Facebook. If you do, all your friends see it, and they may get in touch with this form of advertising too. Moreover, there are companies which recruit people who want to receive e-mails with advertisements for money. They get a few cents each time they open an advertisement. It is possible to play games or answer surveys too. An example is the website MoneyMiljonair.
It is still possible to use the term ‘crowdsourcing’ for art using consumer/prosumer elements, but I hope it is clear that we’re dealing with a wider concept with a strong economic dimension.
To read Jeff Howe’s article about crowdsourcing, go to http://mslab.kaist.ac.kr/twiki/pub/Main/HyanghongKang/Howe_The_Rise_of_Crowdsourcing.pdf or to visit his blog: http://crowdsourcing.typepad.com/.
May it be clear that the term crowdsourcing is not just connected to the concept of digital/prosumer art, but to a wider area of what I would call ‘digital economy’. The speaker in this video, Jeff Howe, came up with the term, which I think is a very useful and interesting concept.
I got an invitation from the galery Bart Kunst in Huis in Nijmegen for the exposition ‘Collections’ (‘Verzamelingen’). Bart shows work from contemporary, young artists. The guest card said that time, location and material were important aspects of the works on display. The exposition can be seen from June 16 to September 8 and I’m eager to go there. I started to think about the theme of the show and I realized it isn’t just coincidence that this theme and these’s aspects are important in contemporary art. I think we all collect information in our daily life. Under the influence of the Internet we face a lot of visual and textual information, which we try to store in our heads. But with this huge amount of knowledge, it is almost impossible to remember everything we get in contact with. I think artists might try to show us how this process of receiving, storing and forgetting knowledge works, and how information nowadays can be organized. Time, place and materiality are important here, because the notion of these terms changes in the digitalization of knowledge.
I’m sorry, the link is in Dutch, since the English version of the website isn’t updated, so there’s no English information about the exposition yet.
Last class (29-05-2012) we discussed about surveillance and privacy. Always and everywhere people are able to watch and check what other people do. I still haven’t decided yet if this is a bad or a good thing. At one hand; if you have nothing to hide, why should you have something against people seeing your stuff? At the other; why should you show everything?
There are different types; surveillance, sousveillance and coveillance. Surveillance means watching down. For example: the government who is watching and screening your personal e-mail. Sousveillance is the opposite; watching up. For example: Wikileaks. It is used to make secret government documents public. Coveillance is watching to each other. You’re the watcher and you’re being watched at the same time. For example: Facebook.
On internet is more visible than we think. Also the government and companies know more about you than you know. With everything we do on internet, we have to fill in our e-mail address and god knows what more. If we want a catalog of the H&M we have to fill in where we live, how old we are, what our interests are (clothing for women / men / children, H&M Home etc.), sometimes even your bank account number. When we go into public space, there are camera’s everywhere. Those camera’s are there for your own security. But how do you know this is not being used for something else.
With Culture Theory we discussed about the possibility that the film footage later can be used as evidence for a crime, which wasn’t a crime at the time when you did it. For example: having blond hair. Now, at the present day, it is legal and accepted to have blond hair. But maybe in the future, someone states that blond hair is evil and that all blond-hairs should be detained and burned to death. You can dye your hair, but those camera’s registered that a few days ago you still had blond hair. There for are you still evil and should be detained. You are being punished by something you did in the past, when the act was still legal. This is maybe a strange and unlikely example, but it states my point. You can’t be punished for something what wasn’t wrong. Well, actually I think you can’t be punished for everything that is genetic, but let’s put that aspect aside.
I don’t think it necessary bad that everything you do is registered. But we need to be aware that it can be dangerous in the future.
I discovered the artist Nicola Samorì on the Internet (of course) just by chance. His art immediately made me think of the content of DAC, even though he doesn’t make art by (explicitly) using the digital medium. Samorì uses existing images for his work. These are well-known classical artworks, but also random images from the Internet. His current exhibition is called ‘The Venerable Abject’. Samorì changes existing images to new, distorted pictures by layering and impairing the canvas. The images seem familiar; they remind us of traditional portraits or classical paintings. On the other hand, the artworks aren’t familiar at all, since important parts (in most cases the face) are damaged or missing. This makes them discomforting and confronting: abject. Moreover, the absence of a recognizable face or other feature makes the viewer think of the notion of identity. By destroying the face, the artist destroys the identity of the person displayed. He asks us the question: what does identity mean? And: is there such a thing as authenticity, when we are able to copy everything through the Internet? I think Samorì’s work offers some kind of answer to a question that was raised in class today, namely the question why some artworks or concepts were discussed in relation to DAC, even though they weren’t dependent on the digital medium. Some artworks deal with the effects of digital culture, without being digital in themselves.
- The Motion Picture Production Code, 1930.
It’s funny to see some people believe that art can be morally good or bad. Yes, of course it was 80 years ago. But it still matters. I do believe that there is a distinction between good art and bad art, but that is your own personal opinion.