Casting a Larger Net

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Mining and re-presenting metadata is no new subject for art. Contemporary artists like Fred Wilson and Andrea Fraser have inserted artistic interventions into the didactic apparatus of galleries and museums since the 1980s. But, with developments in technology designed to match mobile users and location-specific data, the ability to reframe larger spaces for larger audiences becomes possible. 'Art Mobs,' a new project named after Howard Rheingold's 'Smart Mobs,' uses the capabilities of portable, decentralized broadcasting devices to create peer-to-peer gallery tours. Developed by Marymount Manhattan College professor Dr. David Gilbert and students from his Organizational Communication Course, 'Art Mobs' launched on December 8, 2004. In collaboration with the Yellow Arrow project, Gilbert and company 'tagged' artworks in Manhattan with audio interviews and written commentary available via a podcast and collected text messages. Given the increasingly intimate relationship between consumer technology and cultural production, I wonder what kind of tour Ms. Fraser would put on my iPod. - Ryan Griffis