Year created:


Work Credits:

Andy Deck

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Artistic License

Produce your own customized Artistic License in a matter of minutes using your web browser. Instead of biometrics and radio frequency ID chips, Artistic License embraces freedom, collaboration, sharing, and imagination as keys to a more appealing modernity. Your Artistic License doesn't require you to look like yourself, and it does not impose factual restrictions. Nonetheless it has the truthiness coveted by authority.


Artistic License was conceived primarily as a form of that is experienced by people around the world through their browsers. During some exhibition events, however, it is possible to produce laminated licenses directly in the gallery space, as occurred in September 2009 in Hartford, Connecticut.


Although in many respects it's fun, Artistic License encourages card-holders to swipe across the borders of technology and identity. The greater socio-political context for this work includes privacy and personal liberty issues. Emerging identification technologies like biometrics, RFID transmitters, facial recognition software, GPS devices, microvideo, and nanotechnology have already disrupted basic life ways. The continuing changes have affected freedom of behavior and identity, constraining the imagination in the name of a security that is never truly achieved. Artistic License entertains the possibility that imagination, rather than restriction and control, is the key to avoiding the dystopian misadventures that are coming into focus. ///

While interactive art has been online for decades, basic assumptions about the division of labor between the artist and the spectator haven't changed substantially. Artistic License targets this issue ironically, using the co-creation of ID cards - artistic licenses - as the engine for an open-ended series. The results are somewhat unpredictable. The various contributions are performative, rebellious, naive, sophisticated, vulgar, etc. What distinguishes one license from the next is a matter of personal choice. So spectators, take advantage of your new empowerment: apply artistic license by "departing from convention or from factual accuracy ... to achieve a desired effect."

Choose from among these rationales for participation or invent your own:

  • Leverage artifice to offset erosion of freedoms. //
  • Recoup time honored forms of play. //
  • Engage the joy of distortion, omission and irony. //
  • Gain free admission to arts friendly establishments. //
  • Incite the envy and respect of some peers. //
  • Contribute to expansion of the creative commons. //
  • Exploit offer for a free product.