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Information visualization field is becoming more and more into the physical space. Sometimes as an everyday life practice and often in the form of an ambient object .

We can observe projects in which data about casualties in Iraq is visualized through a tatoo made on a man’s back, that  shows the relations between places, deaths and military operations; energy consumption data is undertaking collectively by illuminating the inside of the apartments in a community building with different light colors, and global warming awareness campaign in China, is realized by representing traffic CO2 emissions with a big black globe of “pollution” coming out from a real car’s pipe.

In the design field, ambient devices can show data about energy consumption at home. This objects that are increasingly becoming part of our home furniture, work always as a useful and expensive “behavior adviser” in order to “save energy”. In parallel, wearable data devices are commonly used by people as a way to communicate their own information with other people or to inform others about, for instance, the environmental noise level. By wearing clothes, jewelry, etc.. data is visualized with commercial purposes by companies or with technological goals by labs. Anyway, performing information visualization  can be a persuasive tool and can contribute to make people aware about different issues as Andrew Vande Moere explained in his last lecture at the SEE Conference last April (2010). Researchers, artists, activists and educators who work with software programs for turning numbers into images are also interested in making these images more effective and subsequently turn them into physical objects or performances. Persuasive visualization’s main goal is to make data visible and present.

It seems clear by following these examples, that the “performative turn” has become part of the Infovis field and that the  ubiquitous computing world is  integrated in new ways within the data information realm.  Data showed in these ways is blurring the boundaries between disciplines (architecture, data art, Infovis, locative media, geography, etc) and interests (commercial and academic). In this context  it is difficult to distinguish an efficient and proper information visualization project related to the performative  field.

Dance, for example, has always been one the artistic disciplines that has made use of data movement information to recreate and suggest new ways in which audience can perceive and experience movement, through bodies and in the space around us [1] .The goal is not exactly the same that the examples above. In dance, the visualization of the performance has always been related to the realm of human computer interaction in oder  to create closeness between dancers and audience. Gideon Obarzanek has worked on this kind of visualizations with interactive software and dancing movement. Based on aesthetic and kinesthetic stimulus, his work with the Chunky Move dance company, has created visualizations distributed into different layers of images and movement that “we cannot normally see but which we feel or know to exist”. It can be perceived as an aesthetic way to understand better the dancer’s movement and appreciate much more the movement generated. It is a sensitive way to complement the dance with visualizations that in several ways works as a feedback tool.

However, what about the other way around? How can we understand the movements of a dancing  performance not focus on an aesthetic experience but on the movements and rules that make a choreography of movement?. We cannot perceive every movement in the space in a choreographic performance. But  can we understand  the process of a choreography? Is it possible for us to understand dance in a scientific way?.  How can Infovis help us to understand  relational movement in space?

I propose in the following brief overview, to explore the connections between choreography of movements and information visualization within an educational research context, through a project that visualizes choreographic information in new ways, Synchronous Objects. This project is seeking to make dance accessible through visual communication techniques.  It  flows  from dance, to data, to  objects. Through visualizations in forms of information graphics, 2D and 3D animations and visual dance scores, an interdisciplinary team (choreographer William Forsythe, Ohio State University’s Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) and the Department of Dance, Synchronous Objects) has develop a set of data visualization tools that can capture, analyze and present the choreographic structures and components of Forsythe’s “One Flat Thing, reproduced” (OFTr), which premiered in 2000. After 3-year collaboration, the project has involved a group of over 30 artists, dancers, designers and scientists who explain here their interdisciplinary research.

The dance piece is based on the idea of expressing and transforming the choreographic ideas behind William Forsythe’s dance  [2] explained through 20 visual objects, over 40 movies and 5 generative tools. The interesting thing is that the academic aim of this project is to make understandable dance and movement by using visualizations techniques; movement densities, annotations, generative tools and algorithms are used with this purpose. Forsythe says about the collaboration that his approach is  to put into question things like: “What else might this dance look like?” and “What else, besides the body, might physical thinking look like?. Specifically, the project wants to explain how the Forsythe’s “counterpoint” concept is performed by dancers. Movement material, cueing and alignment are the three systems that interact in form of themes (understood as  dancing movements). There are 25 themes which are recombined over the dance and also improvise movements that dancer can do “by translating specific properties of other’s performer’s motion into their own”.

Their data includes Spatial Data, tracking a single point of each dancer in three-dimensional space, and Attribute Data, “built from the dancers’ first hand accounts, such as when the gave or received a cue, what alignments they followed, when they were improvising and what themes they were performing in every second of the dance”. Forsythe’s dance is very related to time. To him, “bodies in dance are time machines, time is the exquisite product of dancing body” [3]. Erin Manning writes; “In Forsythe’s work, time-machines often stand-in as propositions for generating movement. Using both quantitative methods (clocks, watches, metronomes) and qualitative devices (varying the volume and melody of a voice while counting, altering the duration and rhythms of the counts), Forsythe plays with the double time of movement”. [4]

To Forsythe, choreography and dancing are two very different practices; “in the case that choreography and dance coincide, choreography often serves as a channel for the desire to dance. One could easily assume that the substance of choreographic thought resided exclusively in the body. But is it possible for choreography to generate autonomous expressions of its principles, a choreographic object, without the body?”.[5].

The intersection of this project in the new media field is that the use of media technologies  does not look for the common purpose of complementing the artistic performance or tracking the dancer’s body movements. Instead, dance as artistic experience is relegated and the concept of choreography is highlighted to get further insights. their purpose is  to reflect the challenge of “making dance knowledge explicit and sharing it not only on stage and in the studio (as we are accustomed) but also through media objects”[6].  This is perfectly reflected on the project team’s comments at their website, where it can be understood, that in this case, is not the art field that uses visualization techniques to improve their performance, but the dancing performance itself is deconstructed through visualization techniques to offer users, a better understanding of the movement executed. Thus, users are everybody who “doesn’t understand dance” and want to play with synchronous objects data. The project offers a fruitful understanding about what information visualization and art, as an interdisciplinary research is about.

[1] Manning, Erin Prosthetics Making Sense: Dancing the Technogenetic Body. Fibreculture Journal Issue 9. 2006 http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue9/issue9_manning.html

[2] Forsythe’s choreography is grounded in a deconstructive reconsideration of the possibilities of classical ballet structures and theatricality, innovative applications of improvisation which he and his ensemble have developed and refined in over two decades of sustained dance research, and an increasingly collaborative approach to producing choreography. Forsythe works engage deeply with performative conventions and the fields of contemporary visual arts, architecture, and interactive multimedia. In 1994, Forsythe authored a pioneering and award-winning computer application Improvisation Technologies: A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye which is used by professional companies, dance conservatories, universities, postgraduate architecture programs and secondary schools.

[3] Forsythe, William. Suspense, ed. Markus Weisbeck (Zurich: Ursula Blickle Foundation, 2008).

[4] Manning, Erin. Propositions for the Verge. William Forsythe’s Choreographic Objects Inflexions magazine, January 09.

[5] Forsythe, William. Choreographic Objects, 2009 at http://www.wexarts.org/ex/forsythe/

[6] Zuniga, Norah at http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/imr/2010/04/28/synchronous-objects-what-else-besides-body-might-physical-thinking-look

We live in a constant struggle to steer through the big and varied torrent of data which is unleashed everyday. And data cover very different things. By following the Concise Lexicon for the Digital Commons created in 2001 by the contemporary art group Raqs Media Collective, data could be ‘artistically’ defined as follows: “Information. Can mean anything from numbers to images, from white noise to noise to sound. A weather report, a portrait, a shadow in surveillance footage, a salary statement, birth and death statistics, a headcount in a gathering of friends, private e-mail, ultra high frequency signals, sale and purchase transactions and the patterns made by pedestrians as they walk in a city – all of this can be and is data. Data, like coal, uranium and other minerals vital to the running of the world economy is mined, processed, refined and sold at a high price”.

Information visualization field has emerged as means not only to make the complex accessible and the incomprehensible understandable, but the hidden visible and the unmappable mappable. Contemporary information age creates what André Lemos has coined as informational territories; areas of control of digital information flow in an intersection with a physical area. Virtual, invisible, infinitely small or large, multidimensional, time-based, and even cultural and political spaces are the informational terrain for “invisible data mappers”, artists who use cartographic information or metaphors to visualize and re-visualize this territories of data. [1] These invisible spaces are the Internet together with the stock market, the human genome, the global corporate power or the electromagnetic space.

What are the different ways in which, for instance, the electromagnetic space can be visualized?. How do artists, activists or scientists deal with the goal of select, categorize and visualize data from this “invisible” space?. Which are the political implications of visualizing the radio spectrum?

An info-graphic based on research

Bureau d’ Etudes is a French collective that usually works with maps from a critical political perspective in order to present new ways of understanding the networked economy and power that rules the world. In 2008, they presented a research project called Skrunda Signal in the context of an Art & Communication exhibition in RIGA. The project was based on several issues related to the spectral ecology. The research resulted into a map (info graphic) complemented with videos. The map positioned the city of Skundra, in Latvia, in relation with its electromagnetic pollution and the electromagnetic myths derived from its Soviet past of Radio Location Station (RLS). In fact, the intent was to encourage the debate of technical, geopolitical and spectro-ecological aspects of electromagnetic radiation by taking into account all the agents involved in the creation of the powerful radar of Skundra RLS, as well as the radar’s regular transmissions and signals and its negative effects on people’s health and behaviours: “signals of this nature are ‘blamed’ for affecting the way the people behave – they can effect the ability to be calm, the ability to rationalize… After having interviewed Skrunda researchers, it became clear, that Soviets (at least in Skrunda case) were more interested in developing ‘cold war’ weapons and espionage tools, and not in mind-controling experiments…”

The map resulted showed what effects such facilities can have on nature and humans living in their everyday surroundings. By developing a critical and political position of this military use of the electromagnetic space, the artists opened a debate about the use and effects of this informational territory by governments. They visualized the agents and actors involved in this network, and gave attention to the relations and effects generated by presenting the data obtained from their research. The info-graphic resulted from this investigation is a ‘static map’ that only can be well-perceived in person, that is to say, by observation of the content in an exhibition, where the map is reproduced in a higher scale to make it understandable.

An interactive visualization of the electromagnetic space

There is another visualization technique that goes beyond info-graphics, in terms of aesthetics, interaction and availability. In this context, we are talking about information visualization digital techniques and the use of visual metaphors to make sense of complex data located in “invisible” spaces. The Atlas of Electromagnetic Space is an interactive visualization of the Radio Spectrum available on the Internet. This project has been developed by Bestiario in 2008 and it presents several things at the same time. On the one hand, the project is a clear and comprehensible representations of how the spectrum works scientifically. Furthermore, it shows its relationship with our everyday life technologies like Wifi, Mobile, Bluetooth, etc… On the other hand, these spaces are related to an artistic archive that allows users to know projects and interventions in Hertzian Space that can make easier to understand and represent this complex informational phenomena.

The importance of aesthetics in this project provides a good example for understanding how information aesthetics bridges the gap between functional and artistic intents of visualization. Compare to the previous example, we can easily understand the differences between information visualization and information aesthetics, term coined by Lev Manovich in 2002 in his essay ‘The Anti-Sublime Ideal in Data Art’. That means that by focusing on aesthetics as an independent medium that augments information value and task functionality, visualization techniques have been opened to interdisciplinary discourse that engages with design, art, communities and scientific research at the same time.[2]

Data art and the invisible space of radio frequencies.

Visualization art (data art) can be seen as the last step in this categorization of visual representations of data from the electromagnetic space. The understanding of data as “space” and the creation of visual relationships from non visual phenomena finds on the visual metaphor, its more accurate way to express the subjective experience of our information society.

Bubbles of radio is a project developed by Ingeborg Marie Dehs Thomas based on the idea of our sensory perception of the electromagnetic space. Inspired by richly illustrated books of botany, zoology and natural history, the artist created in 2008 a selection of fictional species drawings that visualize the ways in which technologies like Wifi, RFID or GSM inhabit space. She used a critical visual design for the bubbles and related them to different visual scales that indicates proportions of the “invisible space” occupied by these technologies. She compared scales between people, mobiles and buildings.

Artist’s intention was not to offer accurate actionable information but to open the debate of the radio spectrum into the tangible and physical. She focused mainly on artistically conceived project in order to reflect and consider radio as something to be experienced by the senses and not only through the screen. That is what makes of this project a visualization within the data art field.

Through this reflection on how electromagnetic space can be mapped in different ways, my aim is to show the wide range of possibilities that information visualization techniques can be applied by artists to open political and technological debates. Mapping data into visual forms has become a way of making sense of things through visualizations maps and more abstract or conceptual visual representations. The huge data landscape can be mined, visualized and in some cases, experienced. These three projects pretend to be an example of how information visualization can be a socially engaged discipline that contributes to open invisible spaces dominated by power that should be better understood in order to be reclaimed by people.


[1] D’Ignazio, C “Art and Cartography”. The Institute for Infinitely Small Things, Waltham, MA, USA. 2009

[2] Lau, A & Vande Moere, A. “Towards a Model of Information Aesthetics in Information Visualization”. Key centre of Design Computing & Cognition. University of Sydney, Australia, 2007. Accesed at http://web.arch.usyd.edu.au/~andrew/publications/iv07.pdf

Personas is a student’s project developed in the MIT Media Lab that shows people how Internet sees them. Using a language processing, computer creates a data profile of your online identity, when entering your name. The program attempts to characterize the person from a massive corpus of data, so most of the times, the personal profile generated not corresponds with your own view. This is because Personas demonstrates the computer’s uncanny insights and its inadvertent errors, such as the mischaracterizations caused by the inability to separate data from multiple owners of the same name. [1]

“Apparatus” and the destruction of the individuation process.

The machine cannot distinguish our personal information from other people who has a similar or the same name. To Giorgio Agamben, a leading Italian philosopher and political theorist,  this computer, as an “apparatus”,  literally has in some way the capacity to capture, orient, determine, intercept, model, control or secure the gestures, behaviors, opinions or discourses of living beings. [2]. So, he understands the medium as something that distorts the facts. A camera is an apparatus too, but to Agamben, photography explains another point of view of this relation between human and  the medium; when you take a picture of you and you watch it in the actual context, and this “now” refers to another time, according to Agamben, you see a “certain exigency”. The photograph demands something from us. The apparatus is asking us something about ourselves.  At the same time that offers you an image of yourself, asks you something about how are you. In this sense, the Personas project computer intercepts, controls and models -as it is showed in the example below-,  our behaviors, opinions, and discourses. Furthermore, it arouses new vision of your own idea of yourself. It makes you think about your diagram. Enter your name in Personas. Do you recognize yourself?. How much truth does it reflect?.

agambenbuena

Even more, Agamben will suggest that today there is a destruction of the individuation process of our “singular special being”. Transformed by apparatus, not only technological but political, social, etc… there is the reduction from the special to the personal. There is a shift from singularity to particularity. The personal profile resulted, lack of gesture and expression of genius (understood as a potential feature of the individuation process for achieving the special being of everyone), could have its more recognizable example in our online identities in Internet. We show ourselves to the world in a tagged way.

The question of experience

Another question that gives rise to Agamben’s idea is how many of our “tags” reflects a real experience. People has lost the experience as a knowledge. For the modern man, experience is not longer accessible. Benjamin Walter claimed this idea in 1933 within the concept of “poverty of experience”. Moreover, to Agamben, the destruction of experience not longer necessitates a catastrophe and that humdrum daily life in any city will suffice. For modern man’s average days contains virtually nothing that can still be translated into experience. Neither reading the newspaper with its abundance of news that is irretrievably remote from his life, nor sitting for minutes on end at the wheel of his car in a traffic jam. Neither the journey through the nether world of the subway, nor the demonstration that suddenly block the streets. Neither the cloud of tear gas slowly dispersing between the buildings of the city center, nor the rapid blasts of gunfire from who knows where; nor queuing up at a business counter, nor visiting the land of Cockayne at the supermarket, nor those eternal moments of dumb promiscuity among strangers in lifts and buses. Modern man makes his way home in the evening wearied by a jumble of events, but however entertaining or tedious, unusual or commonplace, harrowing or pleasurable they are, non of them will have become experience.[3]

It sounds pesimistic, and of course it is but to Agamben, that doesn’t mean that today there are no experiences, he argues that they are enacted outside the individual. So, where do we transfer the experience? Do we loose it through the mediums?. Do we really experience those items; books, travel, movies, politics?. Being turists we often let  the camera have the experience  insteadd of ourselves and we losse it since the moment we look the picture through the  viewfinder.

If the destruction of our special beings implies the destruction of our capacity to see into ourselves, thus, understand the others, to Agamben, there is no form of political or ethical responsability. This situation lead us to live in a permanent State of Exception, that is his starting point of his political approach.

The language and the apparatuses of media

What does it happening today that causes this lack of “freedom to be humans, to live”? Of course, capitalism, that according to Agamben, is nothing but a system for capturing things, objects and people, in order to remove all possibility for singular use. Any aspect of life is available for control. In its extreme phase, capitalism is nothing but a gigantic apparatus for capturing pure means, that is, profanatory behaviors. That means, in a philosophical point of view, that profanation -as a technical juridical concept-  removes  the use of something from the original use by  man.

According to Agamben’s idea, the media, and particularly, the global audiovisual technical system aim precisely at neutralising this profanatory power of language as pure means, at preventing language from disclosing the possibility of a new use. For writing (any writing, not only the writing of the chancellors of the archive of infamy) is an apparatus too, and the history of human beings is perhaps nothing other than the hand-to-hand confrontation with the apparatuses they have produced – above all with language. [4]

If language is a pure mean for humans to be humans, and it is reduced and profaned by consumption, what is the importance of the computer language machine in a new media context?. Are the hackers and programmers the only ones who manage this language?. Are the digital illiterate people (most in the world) without tools to be humans, to be “connected”?

Language for Agamben, can be the image and place of justice, but only because language is an instance of what can exist outside representation as property- information.

Where do we go?

Many questions can be asked. But it seems clear that according to Agamben, a transformation of the conditions of individuation in a individual, technical and collective way is need to be done in order to permit any future for politics, and of course for a real life for the human being. Quoting Mackenzie Wark: “Diagrams for this time, in which the true is merely a moment of the false, for turning the false again itself, one might need to consider them, as incomplete diagrams”. [6]


[1] PERSONAS Website http://personas.media.mit.edu/

[2] Agamben, Giorgio. What is an apparatus? and other essays, 2009. Stanford University Press.

[3] Agamben, Giorgio. Infancy and History: The Destruction of Experience, 1993.

[4] Agamben, Giorgio. Profanations, 2007.

[5] Agamben, Giorgio. The Man without Content, 1999.

[6] Nettime: BioPolitical Tattoing, 2004. http://www.mail-archive.com/nettime-l@bbs.thing.net/msg01597.html

One might claim that Twitter is just another boring conversational platform not very different from any other kind of social network site, where you can share your cuts-ups of personal information instantly with your friends. But in a humanistic and social perspective means much more than this.

In fact, Twitter is literally, a conversational platform that lead us to think about the concept of Secondary Orality deriving from both print and oral culture, hinted by Walter Ong in 1982. Ong argued that as a product of electronic technologies, it would emerge a mixture of literate, oral and electronics culture in a contemporary discourse, that will allow us to transcend barriers of time and place grounded in everyday concerns. Furthermore, it would be able to strengthen knowledge in a collaborative and communal way  for both objective and subjective points of view through situational and also, abstract analysis [1]. Twitter captures this idea of primarily conversational tool (orality is close to the human lifeworld),  but also introduces an operational manner related to wiki construction of knowledge, incorporating ideas like aggregation and linked material, better known as Hypermedia.

All this interconnected exchange of tweets (information) works in a properly and dynamic way because of the existence of flow. Flow can be understood as the metaphor of the acceleration or the rate of change of information represented as social trends in a on-line community. Twitter could be a metaphor of social accelerator because of its ability to identify people with common interests. We should take into account that this peer to peer identification process refers to a phenomena known as re-tribalization coined by McLuhan. Re-tribalization lies in the fact that technologies re-creates the sensory unification characteristic of tribal society. This process of re-integration of humans in a horde is as well related to some more contemporary and philosophical ideas by Peter Sloterdijk, who claims about the practice of networking; The horde returns in the guise of an iPhone address book. Close physical togetherness is no longer a necessary condition of sociality. The future belongs to tele-socialism. The past returns as tele-horde life. [2]

In relation to this “collage production” by groups, I would like to introduce the idea of Twitter as an example for non-linear and networked cultural production within a huge community of readers and writers, producers and prosumers. My starting point is that narrative exists to convey perspective. In Mark Meadous’s words; If humanity were a building, each author would be a window. So, the context of the person telling the story, the specifics of the way that is told, and the pieces that are chosen to be relayed all inform the perspective.

People in Twitter make use of the Hypertext to create perspective, as a text which is not constrained to be linear and contains links to other texts. Additionally, if  Hypertext is not constrained to be text and can also include graphics, videos and sound, we are talking about Hypermedia as an extension of  the first term. Hypertext requires an active reader and is fluid, multiple, networked, anti-hierarchical, collaborative and multi-centered.  Hypertext has no beginning or ending; the indeterminacy is a relevant feature. [3] Twitter works in those terms; on one hand twitter gives to pop culture the possibility of a deep remixability of contents (hypertext as collage) and on the other hand it is done within a decentralized sphere because of Twitter’s refined connection system between people. Artist  Mark Amerika had been working since the 90′s in this field related to interactive narratives structures looking for a Hypertextual Consciousness. His work Grammatron is a big reference for a further investigation on how hypertext reconfigures the text, the author, the writing and the literacy education.

To sum up, what appear evident is that the aloof and dissociated of the literate man of the Western World is succumbing to the new and we must abandon the conceptual systems based on ideas of centralism, linearity and margin. Multilinearity, nodes and networks are the keys of this paradigm shift that marks a revolution of the human thought. Twitter is an hybrid between a friend-based social media and a Wiki, that shows the hypernarrative potential of this networks.

[1] For more information about Twitter and Second Orality at MOM blog see here

[2] Lecture at Harvard University Graduated School of Design. Febraury 17, 2009. See the whole interview here.

[3] Landow George P. “Hypertext 3.0: Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization” Johns Hopkins University Press. 2006.

Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine published The Long Tail article in October 2004 to describe an statistic feature of some statistical distributions that affect to current and future business models. Since then, traditional marketing field has became totally desperate in order to adapt their marketing structures and thinking to this model that “promises new millions of consumers”.

longtailThe main idea of the “Long Tail” concept breaks the traditional 80-20 rule, also known as Pareto’s principle in which for example, music industry was based in the last years. This rule suggest that markets will create a certain degree of inequality by favoring the upper 20% of the items (the famous “hits” we had became saturated of) against the other 80% (which are the long tail). Now, in a digital environment, all those 80% items that had not demand in the past could be valuable again through the New Media Marketing. It suggest that traditional advertising is losing its influence on consumers because a growing trend of them make purchasing decisions off Internet research and referrals.

Social networks are the tool for extending the reach of marketing to the low-frequency, low-intensity consumer in a cost effective way.

A large number of microentrepreneurs around the world, particularly music industry entrepreneurs, use social networks like Facebook to communicate with their suppliers, clients or to gain visibility for and sell products and services. In response to this growing demand, Facebook for example, has launched a service to help small entrepreneurs promote their businesses through social networks. So, we can argue that while we are chatting with our friends or sharing some photos of the last weekend in Facebook, there are a lot of  anxious product strategists looking for videos and information like this in order to attract our attention to their products.

One of this product strategist, Adam Richardson, argues that: ” A large shift is going on in our connected society: we are leaving the Information Age and entering the Recommendation Age. Today information is ridiculously easy to  get; you practically trip over it on the street. Information gathering is no longer the issue -making smart decisions based on the information is now the trick… So recommendations act as shortcuts through the information mass, getting us to the right, or “right enough” answer.

The Long Tail concept is based on Amazon.com recommendations. On line bookseller software, notted patterns in buying behavior and suggested that readers who liked “X” also would like “Y”. As Chris Anderson claim in his article:”Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of enter entertainment is in the millions of the niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream”.

Therefore, there is a change in how digital cultural marketing is acting in the Social Network Environment. After all, it seems a good advantage for changing the traditional range of cultural products that people were used to receive from the traditional model. But, are we working (being part of the Social Network) for “them” (entrepreneurs with private interests)? and It is the recommendation system a good option to spread the sub-culture that has been hidden for so long?

In my opinion, there is a possibility for general matters social networks like Facebook, to became a place for mass media advertisement, considering the great effort they do looking for companies to join them because of their 100 millions of people enrolled, great excuse. But, only new networks that are aiming to be more niche and specialized have more chances of becoming a real social network for sharing information through recommendation. The crowds of customers, users, small business who inhabit the “long tail” distribution can perform collaborative work and now they are the new and shopisticated target for the sellers. And of course, they all are spending several hours a day on line inside of the their favourite social networks…

Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern are two American artists who launched a new entry in Wikipedia, called Wikipedia Art, the last 14th of February, 2009. Their proposal was a conceptual work that allowed people to alter the page as much as they wanted meeting Wikipedia’s standards of quality and verifiability. As they informed in the entry, their intention was to create ” an art intervention which explicitly invites performative utterances in order to change the work itself “. The ongoing composition and performance of the project is intended to point to the “invisible authors and authorities” of Wikipedia and by extension, the Internet as well as the site extant criticisms; bias, consensus over credentials, reliability and accuracy, vandalism, etc.

The result of this collaborative performance and public intervention using the most famous and participative website ever known, resulted in one more case of deletionism, by the Wikipedia editors, 15 hours after its birth.

But before deleting their entry, a heated debate with sides weighing whether to “keep” or “delete” the article took place in the discussion forum. It can be visited here, where you could read statements like: also a totally confused concept – a collaborative art project- fine. But trying to do it on one Wikipedia page, you must be joking mate! or Find some other wiki to do it on.

As the debate progresses, one of the editors discover the real site of the project and more confusion and anger is reflected; It is clear that it is here that they intend the “art” to happen. The debate ends with the delete of the entry by “Werdna”, an 18-years-old administrator who describes himself in his profile as “An old hand. I have been here since mid-2005″

The Wikipedia art entry has an artistic intention but in my opinion it is the bigger hidden interest in revealing how this powerfull structure of collaborative knowledge censorship works. The case offer us a further investigation about the dynamism of Wikipedia to receive ideas that go one step beyond the popular culture building knowledge through more complex and sophisticated processes.

The last public intervention related to Wikipedia project will be in the next Venice Biennale, and the original progenitors of the project are inviting artist to make a remix under a creative common license. One of the most interesting ones is this video featured by Sean Fletcher and Isabel Reichert.

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