Tag "web 2.0"

Yesterday the trial against Bradley Manning, Wikileaker and Nobel prize nominee, started. Bradley served in Iraq and during his time there leaked a massive number of secret files to Wikileaks and the public. Though it cannot be proved that Bradley’s actions have put any US soldiers in danger he stands to get a sentence of 20 years or even death for sharing the truth about the war to the public

The website iam.bradleymanning.org is a place to show your support online. You upload a photo of yourself holding a sign and the makers of the site will create a video using all the uploaded pictures.

Skærmbillede 2013-06-04 kl. 13.46.59

My picture is no. 4 on the second row. You can see my whole post here.

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I was listening to the radio as I was driving home from my parents house tonight and I happened to hear a radio program about Big Data. I was not familiar with the term before, but basically Big Data is the combined data that is pulled from web 2.0. It is called Big Data because the amount of data that is created through web 2.0 and the social actions on the Internet is staggering.

The interviewee was the senior Vice President, John Boswell from the American  data analytics company SAS, and he was explaining the great possibilities of Big Data. According to him a lot can be predicted from what conversations are trending in the social web.

One very nice example was the Google Flu Trends. Google have found out that they can predict a flu epidemic before it happens by the nature of people’s online searches. This can help predict outbreaks of epidemics and therefore hospitals can ensure that there are doctors and medicine available before the real problems start.

= Google Flu Trends estimate  = United States Data

This image is taken directly from Google Flu Trends.

Other examples of use of Big Data from the radio program were how SAS use topics of online conversations to predict growth in unemployment.


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With some help and advice from my good friend Jonas, the #iseefaces#iseelegssite is finally in progress! No design has been implemented yet but the basic functionality is there! I had to post something under the “legs” tag because the stuff that was already there made no sense …

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We were asked to read Lev Manovich‘s essay The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life (2008). By great luck this essay is direct relation to my project (and now added to my theoretical research).

I was especially interrested in his thoughts on remixing and amateur art creation. Manovich is very positive about the standards of quality in non-professional content creation. And he feels that in many ways these amateurs or rather young professionals are raising the bar compared to to the work of many established artist.

He also points out that new media enables creating art or content as a part of a conversation. This is also in my opinion a very unique and important difference to other media platforms, and one that I would love to explore even more. It made me think of the Gregory Brothers, a Brooklyn based group of siblings who remix YouTube video content (news clips or other memes) and make them into music. What is really interesting is how the group add value to their own work by inviting others to create their own versions of the songs and uploading them as direct responses.

Through my work as an Art Director I am used to work in team because this often stimulates the creative thinkings process 1+1 = 3! (Imagine this principle and multiply all three numbers with 1.000.000 …)

There can’t be any doubt that creation through online conversation is an incredible driver/motivation. Like a word wide brainstorm.

Manovich reminds os that through history all art has been created as reaction to something else – the real difference is the speed that it is happening now and that the “amateurs” have joined the conversation.

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I had a great Skype chat with Jonathan about my project + project proposal on the 12/12. Jonathan gave me several references for my proposal that I’m currently looking into. I would, however, like to post what I have wrtitten for my proposal so far. Bare in mind that it isn’t at all structured yet and I havn’t put it into context in any way.

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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Besides using crowd-sourcing to create multi-user art pieces, I am extremely interested in the multitude of technologies available that can help us create unique experiences for individual users.

Things that come to mind are:

Facebook Connect (enables pulling data directly from your Facebook account and using it in the art piece) Example: Take This Lollipop by Jason Zada

Behavioral Targeting. Example: Interestbased advertising by Google

Eye/Face Tracking. Example: Here’s a Swedish app that allows you to do online EyeTracking through webcams

Mixing technologies like these, I think it would be interesting  to try to create an empathic piece of art. A platform that understands you and can gives you an experience that is highly individual. Based on personal data and current emotions…

I love this wonderful un-empathic drawing by artist David Shrigley

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NEA: Audience 2.0 report

I drew the above illustration yesterday, and it reminded me of a report that I read when I was doing my application for the MA.

In 2010 the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts, US) released a report with some interesting findings about the relation between art attendance through media and real life art experiences (This report is also mentioned in Ben Davis’ article on social media art).

The report is called is called Audience 2.0 and can be read here.

These are the head conclusions that they made:

  • People who participate in the arts through electronic media are nearly three times as likely to attend live benchmark arts events as non-media participants (59 percent versus 21 percent). In addition, they attend twice as many arts events on average (6 events versus 3 events in one year) and in a greater variety of live art forms. Media-based arts participation appears to encourage – rather than replace – live arts attendance.
  • Education continues to be the best predictor of arts participation among adults – both for live attendance and through electronic media. Survey respondents with at least some college education were more likely than respondents with a grade school education to have used electronic media to participate in the arts.
  • For many Americans (primarily older Americans, lower income, and racial/ethnic minority groups) electronic media is the only way they participate in benchmark arts events.
  • The 15.4 percent of U.S. adults who use media only to engage with the arts are equally likely to be urban or rural.
  • Twenty-one percent (47 million) of all U.S. adults reported using the Internet to view music, theater, or dance performances in the last 12 months. Twenty-four percent (55 million) obtained information about the arts online.

These findings present a number of opportunities and things to be considered when creating social media art projects. Other things to take into consideration could be The Engagement Ladder by Forrester, 2010

I suspect that I would have to rely on three of these groups: The Creators (24%), The Conversationalist (33%), and the Joiners (59%).

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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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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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