Never mind that the decade really ends in a little over a year, it's time to take stock of it. Today's post looks back at the decade just past while tomorrow's will look at the decade to come.
As I observed before, this decade is marked by atemporality. The greatest symptom of this is our inability to name the decade and, although commentators have tried to dub it the naughties, the aughts, and the 00s (is that pronounced the ooze?), the decade remains, as Paul Krugman suggests, a Big Zero, and we are unable to periodize it. This is not just a matter of linguistic discomfort, its a reflection of the atemporality of network culture. Jean Baudrillard is proved right. History, it seems, came to an end with the millennium, which was a countdown not only to the end of a millennium but also to the end of meaning itself. Perhaps, the Daily Miltonian suggested, we didn't have a name for the decade because it was so bad.
It's time for my promised set of predictions for the coming decade. It has been a transgression of disciplinary norms for historians to predict the future, but its also quite common among bloggers. So let's treat this as a blogosphere game, nothing more. It'll be interesting to see just how wildly wrong I am a decade from now.
In many respects, the next decade is likely to seem like a hangover after the party of the 2000s (yes, I said party). The good times of the boom were little more than a lie perpetrated by finance, utterly ungrounded in any economy reality, and were not based on any sustainable economic thought. Honestly, it's unclear ...
Five 2009 projects that deal with the translation of online experience into environments, events, artifacts and performance.
► World Series of
'Tubing - Jeff Crouse & Aaron Meyers
The everyday action of "favoriting" online media is expanded into a participatory game show (video above). A pair of contestants square off by selecting viral videos from YouTube and this media is "played" in an augmented reality card game where a live audience determines the victor. (see Paddy Johnson's adventures as a contestant)
► What my
friends are doing on Facebook - Lee Walton
The ubiquitous status update is used to inspire an ongoing series of charming short videos. Banal announcements, everyday routine and the inhabitation of domestic space make for surprisingly entertaining vignettes. (see Walton's vimeo channel to access the entire series and Marisa Olson's writeup from February)
PoD - Cati Vaucelle, Steve Shada and Marisa Jahn
An architectural testament to the "shut in" tendencies within MMORPG culture, this project creates a playspace that addresses the needs of the player and their avatar. A built in toilet, cookware and food dispensers are hardwired into the World of Warcraft interface underscoring the dedication/obsession demanded by these types of online communities. (See the video documentation of the piece)
Built For 2,000 - Aaron Koblin and Daniel Massey
Updating the 1962 experiment in speech synthesis by John Kelly, Max Mathews and Carol Lockbaum, this project employs the Amazon Mechanical Turk webservice to outsource the production of molecular elements of the song Daisy Bell. The resulting 2,088 voice recordings are reassembled into a strange, bumbling chorus - is this what the future of labor sounds like? (see Peter Kirn's analysis)
► Are you
human? - Aram Bartholl
Riffing on the scrambled aesthetics of the CAPTCHA challenge-response test, this project creates real world artifacts out of online protocol. These text objects are deployed in the gallery, as identity document business cards and (most interestingly) on the street amongst the "urban markup" of tagged surfaces.(see photographs of the sculptural objects in the gallery and out in the wild)
The internet is vast. Bigger than a city, bigger than a country, maybe as big as the universe. It's expanding by the second. No one has seen its borders.
And the internet is intangible, like spirits and angels. The web is an immense ghost land of disembodied places. Who knows if you are even there, there.
Yet everyday we navigate through this ethereal realm for hours on end and return alive. We must have some map in our head.
I've become very curious about the maps people have in their minds when they enter the internet. So I've been asking people to draw me a map of the internet as they see it. That's all. More than 50 people of all ages and levels of expertise have mapped their geography of online.
Murmur Study is an installation that examines the rise of micro-messaging technologies such as Twitter and Facebook’s status update. One might describe these messages as a kind of digital small talk. But unlike water-cooler conversations, these fleeting thoughts are accumulated, archived and digitally-indexed by corporations. While the future of these archives remains to be seen, the sheer volume of publicly accessible personal — often emotional — expression should give us pause.
This installation consists of 30 thermal printers that continuously monitor Twitter for new messages containing variations on common emotional utterances. Messages containing hundreds of variations on words such as argh, meh, grrrr, oooo, ewww, and hmph, are printed as an endless waterfall of text accumulating in tangled piles below.
The printed thermal receipt paper is then reused in future projects and exhibitions or recycled.
Art Fag City started their artist essay series, IMG MGMT, again this week with "Zappos Selbstdarstellung" by Joel Holmberg. In this essay, Holmberg considers the corporate culture of the online shoe company Zappos, which encourages the individual expression of its employees through social media outlets, content it then uses to build their overall brand. Holmberg makes the observation that this communal bonding through self-expression is similar to the Selbstdarstellung performances acted out by members of Otto Muehl’s Action Analysis Commune. Here, members were to "reveal one's freest self" through "spontaneous acts of self-representation." What results is "joy-bordering-on-desperation," as members were pushed to test their own boundaries by the larger group. The Zappos example illustrates the contemporary corporate adaptation of psychological practices used in various social experiments from the 1960s and 1970s, a subject elaborated in greater detail by filmmaker Adam Curtis in The Century of the Self.
Does free video uploading and downloading equal democracy? I asked myself this question during the recent Open Video Conference, organized by the Information Society Project at the Yale Law School and the Open Video Alliance, an umbrella coalition for the development of an “open video ecosystem”: a “movement to promote free expression and innovation in online video.” Conference sponsors include Mozilla, Redhat, Intelligent Television, and Livestream. The conference was held at New York University’s Vanderbilt Hall, home of the NYU Law School from June 19-21, 2009. I attended several of the panels at the conference, although it was primarily Yochai Benkler’s opening keynote that was of concern.
As another major American art museum joins the Twitter-verse this past month (@Guggenheim), it begs the question: how can institutions and the public they serve better benefit from participation in Web2.0? Currently, many museums utilize the major social networking sites in the same manner they use their websites—to promote current and upcoming exhibits, special events, display works, and post the rare job opportunity. And while we can all benefit from multiple reminders, it's beginning to feel as if these institutions are not truly adapting to the opportunities opened up by social networking. The goal is to use these sites as they were intended, as a tool for conversation and relationship building between individuals, and not as an avenue for a one-way transmission of information.
The fear, of course, is that once museums begin actively participating in Web2.0 environments, they will have to give up some control over both content and message. As museum professionals Nina Simon and Gail Durbin both point out, in a world where all knowledge is at one's fingertips, visitors expect to be able to respond to their experience, therefore museums should develop platforms that allow for a diversity of voices. One New York institution in particular, The Brooklyn Museum, has successfully adopted Web2.0 endeavors, with two blogs on the website documenting installation and artist processes, an iPhone application to view and search the museum's collection, and 1stfans, a $20 museum membership with exclusively social network-based content and features, such as the Twitter Art Feed (@1stfans), which allows followers to pick a different artist to create work for the feed each month. Another example of an organization which has expanded its 2.0 reach is the Victoria and Albert Museum, which uses its ...