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Project Proposal 22/01/2012 · Katrine Granholm · MA Digtial Art Online 2011-2013


Working Title:

Can art be social?
Exploring the boundaries between professional and amateur in social media art collaboration.

 

Aims + Objectives:

We are living in a time of great change. With media platform becoming increasingly more social, my goal is to explore what impact this new openness can have on art and the way it is created?

“If Facebook were a country it would the worlds 3rd largest. If Wikipedia were made into a book it would be 2.25 million pages long ­–­ and it would take you 123 years to read “ (Eric Qualmann, Socialnomics 2011)

What we are experiencing through social media today is what you might call an overflow of voluntary participation, or Cognitive Surplus as Clay Shirky names the phenomena in his latest book. Never before have we shared so much and contributed so easily. This is why a vast majority of the content we find on the Internet is created by amateurs – for free, with peer recognitions as the only motivational factor. With major historical events as the Arabian spring (also called the Facebook revolution) there can not be any doubt that social media has changed the way we interact with each other and perceive the world, my question is: Can social media also change the way we create art?

In his article Social Media Art, In the Expanded Field, Ben Davis, describes two types of art that can both be classified as Social Media Art:

#1: Art That Uses Social Media

#2: Social Art Collaboration

# 1 could be a type of “Generative Art” or “Data Art” that is powered by social media data or merely be an artist that uses a social platform as place to showcase or broadcast their art. In this case social media is the source of data or the media platform – but it is not used for social interaction, the true nature of social media.

#2 could be art that is co-created or crowd-sourced (what you might classify as a type of “Interactive art”). In this case the artist’s role changes to a kind of facilitator who sets the brief for the viewers. One important thing to note is that because this type of social creation is open, it can attract contributions from amateurs and professionals alike. This type of art is truly social in all ways.

In Social Art Collaboration the roles of both artist and viewers change. The artist becomes a curator or even facilitator, and the viewer becomes and active participant.

There is more than one level of experience attached to this type of art. There is the interactive/creative experience, and the experiencing the final art piece (if it can be finalized and is not what you might call an on-going project).

Through my research and experimentation, I aim to explore both mentioned types of social media art – and possibly identify other types of social media art. I hope to gain a greater under understanding of the mechanics of co-creation and user-interaction. What social rewards drive people to contribute? How much freedom should be given to participants? How can ownership and copyright be determined?

  1.  To explore the concept Social Media Art, and its possible subcategories.
  2.  To identify users new media usage and outline possible new media platforms suitable for my project, and to gain understand the mechanics of user engagement and user interaction.
  3.  To research co-creation and its implications as a theoretical concept. E.g. To identify possible ownership and copyright issues.
  4.  To research relevant creative theory, such as interactive art, generative art, collaborative arts, and creative co-creation.
  5.  To identify and test new technology relevant for my project. (E.g. face-recognition, Processing, Arduino, Facebook connect)
  6.  To create an art project that not only uses social media as an exhibit space, but through creative engagement also creates a true social experience for viewers/participants.

 

Context [Including Historical, Contemporary and Theoretical Contexts]:

Historical context

Interactive Art
One of the earliest examples of Interactive Art can be dated back to 1920 where Marcel Duchamp created the interactive art piece Rotary Glass Plates. The 1960s Fluxus movement has also been highly influential to digital and interactive art – Christine Paul writes in Digital Art (2005):

 “The events and happenings of the international Fluxus group of artists, musicians, and performers in the 1960s were also often based on the execution of precise instructions. Their fusion of audience participation and event as the smallest unit of a situation in many ways anticipated the interactive, event-based nature of some computer artworks.“

The major boom of interactive art was in the 1990s due to the arrival of computer based interactivity. Some of the most diverse and significant art created in this category is that of Blast Theory (Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj).

Co-creation
In 1972, Danish author Klaus Rifbjerg published a novel called Lytterromanen (the Listener Novel),  this book was co-created with a live radio-audience that could make a call and contribute to the story (The project has recently been revived by author Lone Hørslev, who is currently creating her own Listener Novel). Though the project is not digital, it is of particular interest because it involves creative participation of amateurs.

In 1982, Canadian Artist Robert Adrian, created an event called The World in 24 Hours, where he connected artists from sixteen cities for 24 hours by computers, video and fax to create multimedia art works.

In 1994 one of the first real internet art works was created by artist Douglas Davis. The Worlds First Collaborative Sentence (1994 – present) is a still on-going collaborative work where participants can submit their own contributions to the sentence.

Contemporary Context.

Artist Aaron Koblin has explored in the field of digital art collaboration in different ways. The Sheep Market (2008) is a phalanx of 10,000 sheep, drawn by random users on Amazone’s web service The Mechanical Turk. Bicycle Built for 2,000 (2009), a version of the song Daisy Bell created by Koblin and Daniel Massy by comprising 2,088 voices recorded online. These two works are a result of co-creation in the sense that users of Mechanical Turk have contributed to them – but the users did not have any idea of what they where a part of creating or any real interest (all contributers were payed a small amount for their part). Finally there is The Johnny Cash Project (2010) which Koblin created together with director Chris Milk. In this enormous, still on-going collective art project, users can contribute to a Johnny Cash music video by submitting a personal portrait of Johnny Cash using a custom drawing tool. No payment is involved in this project, and no payment is needed because users are aware of the context they are submitting to – the feeling of collaboration becomes a motivational factor in it self. This art piece is of great interest because it explores co-creation in a truly social mannor.

Web artist Brian Piana explores both types of Social Media Art. From his 2009 art work Journal of the Collective Me, a website that displays tweets containing the word “me” in real time – To Tweeting Colours (also 2009), in witch viewers can manipulate the art piece in real-time by tweeting custom hashtags, numbers or colour names.

Other relevant projects that use social media and interactivity (but not co-creation) are Sinister Social Network, Annina Rüst 2006, and Face to Facebook by Paolo Cirio and Allessandro Ludvico 2011. Both projects highlight the threats of social networking. Sinister Social Network mirrors a social network but is connected to data-surveillance software that identifies any suspect behaviour, thus exposing the danger of government surveillance on social platforms. Face to Facebook is a fake dating site that uses data from 1,000,000 stolen from hacked Facebook profiles.

Though it is not an art project I would also like to highlight a collaboration between a group of Oxford papyrologists and researchers, the Imaging Papyri Project, the Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project, the Egypt Exploration Society and the Citizen Science Alliance called Ancient Lives. The websites is a huge archive of scanned Greek papyri fragments that online voulenteers can help translate using a simple guide.

 

Critical Theory

I have two areas of critical theory that are both directly related to my project.

Social media theory
One of my main influencers is the social media expert Clay Shirky, In his latest book Cognitive Surplus, he describes how the combination of the Internet and a abundance of intellect, energy, and time can lead to sharing and event co-creation of content of high value, through very different levels of engagement. Even the smallest contribution to Wikipedia is more important than no contribution at all. Social media allows this not only because users now easily can publish content, but also because of the social factor that motivates participation. Other critical sholars in this field are Pierre Lévy, Howard Reingold, and Duncan J. Watts and Micheal Wesch.

Co-creation theory
Though it is difficult to find theory on co-creation in art and creativity, there has been done a lot of work on the subject in business and marketing theory. Significant works in this field are especially those of Venkat Ramaswamy and C.K.Pralahad. In additon to Ramaswamy and Pralahad’s initial thoughts on the subject Tracy Harwood & Tont Garry have explored the issues of copyright in relation to co-creation in their article on participation and ownership from 2010.

Parrallel Theory

Important theory that relates to my experimental work is in relational aestectics. A term invented by French art critic Nicolas Bourriaud. According to Bourriaud the term covers:

“a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space.”

Projective or Generative Theory

Sweedish creative climate theorist Göran Ekvall’s theories are originally connected to creativity at the work place, but his theory on the ten dimensions of creative climate could be of use to me when I am creating my experimental work. Ekvall started his studies in creativity when he was working for Volvo in the 1960s, but he did not formalize the ten dimensions until 1996 in his composition Organizational Climate for Creativity and Innovation. The ten dimensions of creative climate are “challenge, freedom, idea support, trust / openness, dynamism / liveliness, playfulness / humor, debates, conflicts, risk-taking, and idea time”. These dimensions can possibly be used as motivational factors.

 

Methodology:

Understanding social media user engagement
Through my theoretical research I hope to gain a rich understanding about social media users behavioural patterns and the mechanics of co-creation.

Outlining relevant technology
During this preliminary period I will also try to identify relevant new technology and relevant social media platforms. Concurrently I might also need to extend my programming skills if I identify any new technology that would be beneficial for my project. I will also be attending the OFFF festival in May, as a part of my research in new technology and its use in art.

Experiments
My next step will be to start my practice-based research by conducting a series of co-creation and interactivity experiments. Firstly I will explore simple interactivity by testing different types of relevant technology (e.g. Facebook connect). Other experiments will be focused around how much I as an artist should control and influence the participants and their output, e.g. by setting up different rules and guidelines for their work. Defining my role so to speak. Testing models for ownership and copyright (e.g. Creative Commons). Finally, these experiments give me a possibility of testing different social media platforms such as self-contained webpages or social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Twitter etc.

The final project
I have not yet decided on a form or even the topic for final project. My research and experimentations in both social media and co-creation should help me do this. The main objective is to create a true social experience that can engage and activate participants (amateurs and creative professionals alike).

 

Outcomes:

A social media based art project that may engage viewers/participants in two levels of experience: In co-creation or in viewing the final art piece. The art piece should be truly social in the sense that it not only uses social media for display, but also engages participants in such a level that they have crucial impact on its final characteristics. The final work should be displayed on the Internet.

 

Work Plan:

  1. Research Theory (semester one)
  2. Identifying relevant Technology (semester one)
  3. Learning to use new technology (semester two)
  4. Experimentation in co-creation and interaction (semester two + thr
  5. Evaluation + conclusion (semester three)
  6. Creating final work (semester four)
  7. Final show (semester four)

 

Bibliography:

Book
Cook, Sarah, Graham, Beryl & Gfader, Verina: A Brief History of Curationg New Media Art – Conversations With Curators, The Green Box, 2010

Lialina, Olia  & Espenschied, Dragan: Digital Folklore, Merz & Solitude 2009

Bourriaud, Nicolas: Relational Aesthetic, Les Presses du réel 2002

Shirky, Clay: Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age, The Penguin Press 2010

Shirky, Clay: Here Comes Everybody: How Change Happens when People Come Together, Penguin Press 2009

Paul, Christiane: Digital Art: Revised and expanded edition, Thames & Hudson 2008

Paul, Christiane: New Media in the White Cube and Beyond: Curatorial Models for Digital Art, 2008

Rush, Micheal: New Media in Art, Thames & Hudson 2005

Greene, Rachel: Internet Art, Thames & Hudson 2004

Graham, Baryl & Cook, Sarah: Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media, Leonardo 2010

Candy, Linda & Edmonds, Ernest A.: Interacting: Art, Research and the Creative Practioner, Libri Publishing Ltd. 2011 *

Alex Bentley, Mark Earls, John Maeda and Michael J. O’brien : I’ll Have What She’s Having: Mapping Social Behavior, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011

Mark Holden, Ali Kazmi, Biraja Swain and Chris Stephenson: 2016: Beyond the Horizon, PhD 2011

Anderson, Chris: The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand, Random House, 2007

Leif Abraham  & Christian Behrendt: Oh My God What Happened and What Should I Do?, Innovative Thunder 2010

Lévy, Pierre: Collective Intelligence : Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace, Perseus Books, 1997

Benjamin, Walter: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reporduction, Penguin, 2008

Rifbjerg, Klaus, Larsen, Ole, Svendsen, Hanne Marie & Thomsen, Jens Schoustrup: Rifbjergs lytterroman, Gyldendal, 1972

Hansen, Ib Fischer: Litteratur håndbogen, Gyldendal Uddannelse, 2003

Debord, Guy & Knabb, Ken: The Society of the Spectacle, Rebel Press, 1983

Rheingold, Howard: Smart mobs : The Next Social Revolution, Cambridge, 2002

Watts, Duncan J.: Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected AgeNorton, 2003

Boden, Margaret A.: Creativity & Art – Three Roads to Surprice, Oxford University Press, 2010

Web
Davis, Ben: “SOCIAL MEDIA ART” In the Expanded Field, Artnet, http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/reviews/davis/art-and-social-media8-4-10.asp

Wesch, Micheal: An Antrophological Introduction to Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU

Koblin, Aaron: Data Art: The Sheep Market,  Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mmb5aSscck

http://www.thinking.net/Creativity/

http://www.net-art.org/

http://peckhamspace.com/artists/network/sonia-boyce

http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/

http://www.tweetingcolors.com/

http://collabarts.org/

http://www.aaronkoblin.com/

http://artport.whitney.org/collection/davis/writesentence.html

http://www.socialnomics.net/

www.face-to-facebook.net/

http://www.anninaruest.com/a/sinister-network/index.html

Papers / Journals
Harwood, Tracy & Garry, Tony: ‘It’s Mine!’ – Participation and ownership within virtual co-creation environments, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 26, Nos. 3–4, March 2010, 290–301

Ekvall, Göran: Organizational Climate for Creativity and Innovation, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 1996, 5(1), 105-123

Edmonds, Ernst, Muller Lizzie & Connel, Matthew: “On creative engagement“, Visual Communication, 5 (307):3 (2006)

Prahalad, C. K. & Ramaswamy, Venkatram:  The New Frontier of Experience Innovation, MIT Sloan Management Review, Volume 44, Issue 4, p. 12, 2003

 

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Project Proposal 13/01/2012 · Katrine Granholm · MA Digtial Art Online 2011-2013

 

Can art be social?

Exploring the boundaries between professional/amateur and public/exclusive in social media art.

 

Aims + Objectives:

We are living in a time of great change. With media platform becoming increasingly more social, what impact will this new openness have on what we consider to be art and the way it is created?

 Social media has changed the way we interact with each other and perceive the world. I would like to explore how it can influence art. Can social media spawn art?

Through experimentation, I aim to explore the two mentioned types of social media art – and possibly identify other types of social media art. I also hope to gain a greater under understanding of the mechanics of co-creation and user-interaction. What social values drive people to contribute? How much freedom should be given to contributors? How is ownership and copyright determined?

1. To define the concept social media art, and its possible subcategories.

2. To identify people’s new media usage and outline possible new media platforms suitable for my project. To understand the mechanics of user engagement and user interaction.

3. To research co-creation as a theoretical concept.

4. To identify possible ownership and copyright issues.

5. To research relevant art theory, such as modular art, collaborative arts, etc.

6. To identify and test new technology relevant for my project. (E.g. face-recognition.)

7. To create an art project that not only uses social media as an exhibit space, but also creates a true social experience.

 

Context [Including Historical, Contemporary and Theoretical Contexts]:

Historical context

Interactive Art

Generative Art

 

Critical Theory

My main attention will be on three different areas of critical theory.

Social media theory; One of my main influencers is the social media expert Clay Shirky, In his latest book Cognitive Surplus, he describes how the combination of the Internet and a abundance of intellect, energy, and time can lead to sharing and event co-creation of content of high value, through very different levels of engagement. Even the smallest contribution to Wikipedia is more important than no contribution at all. Social media allows this not only because users now easily can publish content, but also because of the social factor that motivates participation. Other critical literature is that of Pierre Lévy, Howard Reingold, and Duncan J. Watts.

Co-creation theory; Though it is difficult to find theory on co-creation in art and creativity, there has been done a lot of work on the subject in business and marketing theory. Significant work are those of Venkat Ramaswamy &  C.K.Pralahad, Tracy Harwood & Tont Garry.

Interactive Art Theory; A lot of the examples of social media art I have come across so far are Ken Knabb & Guy Debord, Nicolas Bourriaud (Relational Aestectics), Earnest A. Edmonds & Lynda Candy, Ernest Edmunds & Lizzie Muller.

 

Parallel Theory

(Social Behavior theory, Climate for creativity theory)

 

Projective or Generative Theory

Copyright/ownership theory and identifying relevant technology.

 

Methodology:

Through my theoretical research I hope to gain a rich understanding about social media users behavioural patterns and the mechanics of co-creation. During this period I will also try to identify relevant new technology and relevant social media platforms. I might also need to extend my programming skills if I identify any new technology that would be beneficial for my project.

My next step will be to start my practice-based research by conducting a small series of co-creation and interactivity experiments. Among other things I wish to experiment how much I need to control and influence the users and their outcome, e.g. by setting up different rules and guidelines for their work.

 

Outcomes:

A social media based art piece that engages the users/viewers in two levels of experience: In co-creation or in viewing the final art piece/ outcome.

 

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Project Proposal 06/01/2012 · Katrine Granholm · MA Digtial Art Online 2011-2013

 

First Thoughts

Can art be social?

Exploring the boundaries between professional vs. amateur & public vs. exclusive in social media art.

We are living in a time of great change. With media platform becoming increasingly more social, what impact will this new openness have on what we consider to be art and the way it is created?

There is now doubt how huge an impact social media has on our current society, from the election of America’s first black president, to the Arabian Spring. Because of digital media, information and ideas can now flow freely across boarders and continents. To put it simple: Everyone now has a voice.

This is also true in a creative context. The Internet is bulging with unpaid “Makers” that create amazing content, not for money, but to seek praise from their peers. The Internet has changed the old rules of publishing. Everyone with an Internet connection can own a blog, a twitter account or a tumbler, thus blurring the boundaries between professional and amateur.

During my studies, I would like to create a social media art project that potentially evolves professionals and amateurs alike to contribute to a co-created art piece.

Challenges (as menitioned before): Can amateurs create meaningful art? Can co-created art projects be aesthetic? Who owns a co-created art piece result? What is the artist’s role in all of this?

Through my primary research (e.g. the article by Ben Davis) I have come across two different categories of Social Media Art. “Art that uses social media” and “social media art collaboration” The first is really part of what is already known as Generative Art. The artist collects data from social media users and translates it into art. This kind of art can be very illuminating and interesting but it is in my opinion not truly social, since it only uses social platforms to contract data – not as a way for people to interact and co-create.

“Social Media Art Collaboration” is art that is co-created by a community but is often curated by an artist. The weakness of creating art this way is that it is very difficult to quality control contributions. The more freedom given to the contributors – the bigger the risk of receiving bad work. However – it is also possible that freedom will inspire some more creative and surprising result. One should also consider ownership and copyright. I suspect that if a lot of freedom is given, a contributor will have bigger feeling of ownership. I would like to test this theory if I can’t find any data on the subject.

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