October, 2011 Monthly archive

Password: katrinepresents

I made this video private because I’m showcasing the Concept Maker app which hasn’t been launched yet. Just type in the password listed above


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I went to Cannes Lions Ad Festival this summer, and it seemed that half of the seminars there were about how technology is changing creativity. One was actually called: “Technology and its Transformation of Creativity”. It was an unstructured affair moderated by the world wide chairmann of McCann, and with four guests, one of them Will I Am.

I felt that many of these talks were missing the point. I actually don’t think technology alone has the power to change the creative industry. I think it enables change. Is there a difference? Yes, I really think there is, it’s like the old American saying:

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Of course, without all the new possibilities we wouldn’t be were we are now (that’s a given). But if the only thing we care about is how NEW everything is and not how GOOD or RELEVANT it is, art and creativity will soon loose their meaningfulness.

Bill Bernbach (the ad man) once said:

Adapt your techniques to your ideas, and not the other way around.

To me true creativity is not about the media – but the way we use it. Again in the words of Clay Shirky:

These tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.
It isn’t when these shiny new tools show up that their uses start permeating society.
It’s when everyone can start taking them for granted.

Watch the whole video here.

Having this in mind – I think I might like to base my project(s) on media platforms and technologies that are already well known and used by people all over the world … Thus letting them engage with my ideas more effortlessly.


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Here’s a little project I started up with a colleague/friend last year, it’s not ment to be part of the MA, but I think it is relevant because it’s my first go of what you could call a social art collaboration.

Concept toys nativity scene

It all started a couple of years ago when I decided to rearrange my office toys to mark December. My colleague Tine and I were surprised how little was needed to create a recognizable nativity scene with no actual religious figures or elements. It inspired us to start up The Little Baby Jesus Project, a collaborative art project consisting only of what you might call alternative nativity scenes. The rules are simple and open for interpretation. And we were amazed with all the different ideas that got submitted.

So, how to make a Little Baby Jesus? I’ve done a little pictogram version (below) to explain the formula – you basically just need a few ingredients:

a Mary
a Joseph
3 kings
some shepards
some farm animals
and your centerpiece: The little BJ himself!
You might also top the whole thing of with a star (optional).

And the true key to getting it right is the way you arrange your objects …


The following  examples are some of the wonderful nativity scenes that we received:

I love this chocolate version by Casper Heikenskjold. It’s very subtle and there’s not much giving it away. But he is not afraid of taking the concept to an extreme.

This one by Anne Krarup, really illustrates the kind of content we were expecting – but I think it’s wonderful.

We received quite a few political incorrect LBJ’s! This one is by Charlotte Boysen & Ditte Grandjean – Be sure to click the image to see it in a bigger version – there are some great details in the picture!

This Christmas stamp version by Line Lorentzen was one of the first 2D images we got.

The co-creator of the project Tine Kej did this one

by Balle Bang Bang

A alcoholic version by Balle Bang Bang…

A holy game of Chess by Matt Sadler

and Little Baby Penguin by Tine and myself again.

This year we are giving it another run, but before that we’ll probably also change the website a bit. We used Cargo, but ended up changing so much of the predefined HTML coding that the whole thing got a bit wonky – The plan is to move everything to a WordPress site during the next couple of weeks – so if you go and have a look now, be sure to come back and have a look again later…




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It’s a big question, and one that can be explored from many different angles. I am eager to explore social media – so that is the angle I have chosen for this post.

LOL CATS* as the stupidest possible creative act.

In social media guru, Clay Shirky’s latest book “Cognitive Surplus” he examines the ways that digital technology are changing our lives by enabling us to put our unused resources to use.Cognitive Surplus is the ability of the worlds population to volunteer tribute and collaborate on sometimes global projects – Or as he describes it in this TED talk from 2010:

Free time and talents + tools that enables us to create and share = Cognitive Surplus.

It’s basically the old web 2.0 story: New technology is moving the public from consumers to content makers…

One of the cases he uses are the everlasting LOL cats. If you by a slim chance you haven’t come across LOL cats, they are an Internet phenomen consisting of a picture of a cute kitty with a cute caption (always misspelled).

The LOL cats are inviting because of their simplicity, the concept CUTE KITTEN + FUNNY CAPTION IN A SANSERIF FONT is easy to understand and copy. They say “this is a game and I can join in”. The fact is that anyone with a computer and internet access can create and publish them.While Shirky admits that this phenomena as an art form can probably be classified as one of the stupidest possible creative acts, it illustrates the difference between doing anything and doing nothing. According to Shirky this act has both personal and communal value.

LOL Cats

* Bonus info: Clay Shirky thoughts about LOL cats in Cognitive Surplus actually inspired the name of my blog – So I guess it is fitting to mention him early in my process.

If you want to find out more about LOL cats this is the right place to go!

Watch the TED talk here:


Social Media art

Web 2.0 and social media enables these new possibilities in creative expression, so what should we call them? Social Media Art? Searching under that name I found this interesting article on Artnet.com by associate editor Ben Davis.

Davis starts his article out by trying to define the concepts “art” and “social media” for as he puts it:

“Maybe it’s worth noting that, of all the buzzwords of the present-day lexicon, “social media” is perhaps the only one that is more vaguely defined than “art.”"

An example of art that uses social media but does not really have a social dimension is Don’t tell Aschton, by Berghs School of Communication.

Davis points out that though contradictionary the two concepts aren’t opposites. There is a contradiction between the two concepts: Art is widely considered an exclusive, closed-in type of expression and social media is a relatively open, relation-based operation. Social Media Art has a lot in common with the “relational esthetics” tradition. The idea of art as “relational” meaning incorporation of social interaction. One thing I find very interesting was is he also notes that there are many art projects that involve social media but still don’t have a social dimension.

Davis starts out by defining the true opposites to “art” and “social media” …

  • Art  < vs > Amateur creative production 
  • Social media < vs > Non social technology

… he then places them in Greimas’ Semiotic Square to illustrate the large spectre Social Media Art lies within

Ben Davis graph

Ben Davis uses A.J. Greimas’ Semiotic Square to illustrate his point, I redrew the graph because the original was very low in resolution.

Ben Davis concludes that while the Semiotic Square helps illustrate the initial boundaries that the phenonmen lies within, it should not be taken to serious. In his own words:

… our Square is not a map of absolute possibilities. It is a chart of different possibilities to be explored and exhausted. It’s not a frame to think within. It’s a box that needs to be escaped.


My own thoughts

I found Ben Davis’ graph quite eluminating, and I am interested in exploring both “social art collaborations” and “art that uses social media”. I am not that keen on how “social art collaboration” is placed between “social media” and “amateur creative production”. The word amateur is in my mind very negative. While I admit that LOL cats definitely fit this label, I also find that talented professional creative often choose to use communal platforms also. Maybe we just need to think about the word “amateur” differently. According to Wikipedia “amateur” just meens “for the love of it”.

An amateur (French amateur “lover of”, from Old French and ultimately from Latin amatorem nom. amator, “lover”)

Examples as Flickr and Soundcloud show us that social media platforms can pull high quality contributors. Also, good curation is important for these kinds of projects. Ben Davis’ own example the Johnny Cash project is a brilliant example of this.


A few examples of Social Media Art projects

To round things up I have digged through my bookmarks and found some bookmarks of interesting Social Media Art projects, some are collaborative art projects and some are art projects that use social media. Note that these aren’t my own projects – they are just things I like!



This example is from the multiuser sketchpad blog



And finally this wonderful music video “One Frame of Fame”


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Hello, my name is Katrine Granholm, and this is it; my first post on my brand new blog.
The purpose of this blog is to document my progress in my MA in Digital Arts studies at Camberwell College of Arts. During my MA I will be exploring the world of Digital Art, and especially everything related to this one question:

Can art be social?



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