Share Your Sorrow
An Online Curatorial Project
Share Your Sorrow is an online curatorial project launched by Domenico Quaranta in September 2012, and focused on strategies of social preservation of net based, digital art. The project deals with the work of Kevin Bewersdorf, an artist that, after being very active online between 2007 and 2009, retired and deleted from the internet any content he published in previous years. Everybody who got in touch with his work and collected it is invited to dig into his / her personal archives and contribute. Because the museum of the future may be your hard drive.
Art preservation is normally associated with museums, archives and collections, that is with authority and power - be it institutional, cultural or economic. It has not always been like this. Museums and archives emerged in modern times, and art collecting as an elitist practice started in the Renaissance. Along history, art has been saved by graveyards, natural catastrophes, copies, reuse and abuse, chance, monks, and ordinary people.
In the digital age, artists started making art with digital means and circulating it online, and computer users started saving and archiving it, as they do with any other kind of cultural content. Of course, the art world started applying its rules and conventions to digital art as well, pretending that some files are poor copies and others are original, and talking about editions, resolution, certificates of authenticity and so on. The file you downloaded is not the same file Mr. Saatchi bought. That's fine. But what if your file survives, and Mr Saatchi's one gets lost? What if the artist pretends that the original artwork is the one he put on the net?
Kevin Bewersdorf wrote in 2007: "I would drop [my laptop] off a cliff without hesitation… The seeds of my data are already safely spread across the web, and this data is what concerns me." Then, at some point, he removed everything from the Web, but the seeds of his data survived. They survived in the work of other artists that responded to them. They survived on other websites that reblogged them. And they survive in the disk space of many anonymous users who saved them, and that keep them jealously or just forgot about them. These are the true collectors of Kevin Bewersdorf's work: a work that was available to anybody, and that's now subject to the condition of scarcity that is the premise to any act of collecting.
Share Your Sorrow invites them to share the seeds of Kevin's data again; to allow them to circulate online again, to be downloaded, manipulated and remixed by other users, to keep being part of the cultural dialogue, that is the best way for art to survive.
- go to http://shareyoursorrow.tumblr.com/submit and submit your content, or
- upload it on Tumblr and tag it "share your sorrow", or
- just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And,
- please try to provide as many contextual elements as possible (name, date, original location, etc.)
More info: http://shareyoursorrow.linkartcenter.eu/.
Domenico Quaranta (1978, Brescia, Italy) is an art critic and curator. He is a regular contributor to Flash Art and Artpulse. He is the editor (with M. Bittanti) of the book GameScenes: Art in the Age of Videogames (2006) and the author of Media, New Media, Postmedia (2010) and In Your Computer (2011). He has curated various exhibitions, including Holy Fire: Art of the Digital Age (Bruxelles 2008, with Y. Bernard), Playlist (Gijon 2009 and Bruxelles 2010) and Collect the WWWorld (Brescia 2011 and Basel 2012). He is a co-founder and Artistic Director of the Link Center for the Arts of the Information Age. http://domenicoquaranta.com