Transforming Mirrors Quotes & Wikipedia Art

My paper topic is Wikipedia Art. If I were to describe Wikipedia Art in a sentence, I would say that it is a piece of art exclusively on wikipedia that anyone can edit. Wikipedia caused some consternation in the online community. Within 15 hours of the piece being posted on Wikipedia, it was deleted.

A quote in Transforming Mirrors that reminded me greatly of Wikipedia Art is the following:

“Interactive artists are engaged in changing the relationship between artists and their media, and between artworks and their audience. These changes tend to increase the extent of the audience’s role in the artwork, loosening the authority of the author or creator. Rather than creating finished works, the interactive artist creates relationships.”

Wikipedia Art is a piece that relied heavily on the audience once it was posted. The image was meant to be changed by its audience, viewers of the art piece on Wikipedia. Even the death of the piece was a result of some of its audience members (Wikipedia webmasters). Because this piece creates a relationship between viewer and creator, the creators of this piece, Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern, can be termed interactive artists.

Another quote from Transforming Mirrors that addressed Wikipedia Art:

“Computers are the greatest expression of man’s desire to control. They are a pure representation of authority. They are constructed of the utterly unambiguous ‘elementary particles’ of presence and absence, on and off, one and zero. Computers are a meta-technology, almost infinitely flexible and bristling with potential. In the face of this medium of absolute determination, artists often feel a kind of loneliness or claustrophobia. Pushing the technology until it surprises is one way of escaping from the numbing effects of staring deeply into your own constructions.”

This quote just says so much in four sentences! The first sentence provides an interesting dilemma for Wikipedia Art. Because Wikipedia Art is on the computer, do the creators really want to be in control even though they are letting other people edit their art? Does this allowance represent something other than increasing the extent of the audience’s role?

After reading the next three sentences, one can formulate possible answers to the questions posed by the dilemma. Maybe Kildall and Stern feel lonely and want to rebel against modern computer technology by “pushing the technology”. The problem with this answer is that while one can escape the numbing effects by being creative with technology, you aren’t stopping the causes of the problem. Instead, you are dealing with the effects of the problem. Because many people have become computer-dependent, maybe treating the effects with pieces of art like Wikipedia Art is the only viable option.


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