Thursday, August 14, 2008

Web 2.0 Participatory Social Art

Certainly we are flocking to online communications via blogs, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn,, flickr, and the other social networks, which ad agencies like to call "social media".

If we assent to call it "media", meaning a means to transmit, display, explain, broadcast, communicate, share, promote, and collaborate, then what are we putting into it? Just gossip, opinion, debate, flirtation, business, humor, emotions, thoughts, and beliefs?

Web 2.0, meaning websites that you and others can actually do something with, rather than simply stare at and buy things from, enables more than simply talking. We can also make things together. Then try to sell or share them.

Post Secret proved that user generated content is valid, interesting, and financially lucrative. The "unauthor" of the "non-book" of post card art and text just set up a blog (using Blogger like I do), and invited people to contribute content to it. He then selected the best, and published a book of it.

He got rich quickly by doing almost nothing.

Web 2.0 Participatory Social Art can be accomplished by all, but those who pioneer the concept's applications will be well poised to succeed in larger terms than the common crowd of late adaptors.

One way to realize this is to consider the net artists, who used computers and networks to dis-communicate, to compose art in itself, without the cumbersome need for goals, effects, or meaning.

Wikipedia: "net art".


Whitney Portal to Net Art

Rhizome at the New Museum

A surrealist Dada perspective can serve us well.

One person contributes a random sentence. The next person adds to it, in whatever manner deemed necessary or funny. Someone steps up to the plate and knocks a homerun with a clever new paragraph, ending with an exclamation point! And on and on it goes to the completely unpredictable and abrupt conclusionary statement that ends the "novel" (in the sense of "new", not necessarily "lengthy".).

Starting with an absurd, unexpected, and bizarre opening is a good way to get the fiction ball rolling.

"I thought my love life was over when they amputated my head. How wrong I was, I was soon to discover."

"It finally dawned on me: air is unnecessary."

"Her turpitude was unwhelming me to the point of abstract lethargy, as I slipped into a dizzy pool of relaxation imagery."

"No, you cannot serve the turducken in that vulgar and unseemly manner, I insisted as I reduced my invisibility to a factor of 5."

"Billy was sad to see the little purple pony in the sandbox again. It loved to eat slips of paper with people's names on them, and then they died."

See? It would be abysmally easy to continue such fiction beginnings at those. And, without fanfare or solemn ceremony, Web 2.0 Participatory Social Art has now begun. Again.

Let the analysts of culture argue about boundaries, definitions, and rules. We just merrily make new art with new media and new tools, and care little about the aesthetic theory.

We can also create, with our webcams, 15 second films, then send them to me, and I'll patch them together with a desktop movie editor, and we'll have a viral video to get rich and dreamy on.



David Niall Wilson said...

My son painted something at age 2.5...I have filmed it in 15 seconds (with closeups and Bob Dylan in the background)- at first glance it seems abstract, but I BELIEVE it's an elephant on a unicycle (an angry elephant) chasing a very startled and frightened penguin (the closeups may show this). How do you want it sent?

steven edward streight said...

That's cool. Send it to me as an email attachment or put it up on YouSendIt.