Art 101-6 Personal Research
In his essay New Media from Borges to HTML, Lev Manovich connects new media to art when he says “not only have new media technologies actualized the ideas behind projects by artists, they have also extended them much further than the artists originally imagined.”
Manovich argues that while defining new media art is hard to do, it is possible to do by describing “parallel tendencies” between new media, modern art, and technology after World War II. Understanding how Manovich conceives new media art is imperative to understanding Manovich’s eight criterion in the section titled What is New Media? Eight Propositions.
In this section, Manovich describes eight ways to determine if something can be considered new media and in turn, new media art. The artwork I have chosen, Wikipedia Art, by Nathaniel Stern and Scott Kildall easily complies with five of Manovich’s eight propositions. Wikipedia Art is (1) computer technology used as a distribution platform, (2) digital data controlled by software, (3) a mix between existing cultural conventions and the conventions of software, (4) a faster execution of algorithms previously executed manually or through other technologies, and (5) the encoding of modernist Avant-Garde.
Wikipedia Art was a Wikipedia-only art piece created by Kildall and Stern. Stern and Kildall created a Wikipedia page called Wikipedia Art on Valentine’s Day of 2009. Thus, the art piece had its own Wikipedia page similar to those of famous people or places. By posting their art to a Wikipedia page, any registered user could edit the art. In other words, “any changes to the art had to be published on, and cited from, ‘credible’ external sources: interviews, blogs, or articles in ‘trustworthy’ media institutions, which would birth and then slowly transform what the work is and does and means simply through their writing and talking about it.”
A 18-year-old administrator removed Wikipedia Art from Wikipedia 15 hours after its birth because it met the following qualification for deletion: “An article about a real person, an organization (e.g. band, club, company, etc., except schools), or web content that does not indicate why its subject is important or significant.” The moderator’s decision to delete the page based on the aforementioned qualifications required him to make a judgment on whether the Art piece indicated why it was important or significant.
In addition to comments and reviews made about the piece, Wikipedia Art received much attention from different artists and blogs because they had opinions about the moderator’s judgment to remove the page from Wikipedia.
Pat Lichty, a new media artist, characterizes Wikipedia Art “as interesting yet disturbing” because there is no single physical owner of the piece and no definite intellectual property rights owner. Lichty’s comments relate to many of Manovich’s criterion; especially numbers 3,4,5.