More Social Art Projects

tuttle2texasI’m thinking a lot about the kinds of projects that I talked about a while ago, of which tuttle2texas turned out to be a prototype.

Here’s one thing. They don’t have a specific output in view when we start them. So they might end up producing a book, or a film or a vook or just some interesting thoughts or a performance or a photo book or something. But we don’t know what they will become when we begin.

I think this marks them out from other projects. I might well have done research for a book about the differences between US & UK cultures by travelling across the country by train and meeting people as I went, but that’s not what tuttle2texas was. Importantly, there is no standard way of marketing or funding these projects in the same way as there is, for example, with a book or a film. If I wanted to write a book, there is a whole well-defined market mechanism involving specialist agents, publishers and marketers. This is different, it doesn’t mean that they can’t get funded up front, that no-one will give us an advance, but that it needs to be done differently.

Then there’s the issue of making sense and finding meaning in the content produced. Who does this? Traditionally it’s all part of the creation of the cultural artefact. The artist, the writer, the composer has something to say and they say it through their creation. I’m interested in how we can open up a more collaborative form of sense-making. I don’t think I should be the only one who gets to say what tuttle2texas was about.

I’m wondering whether a metaphor from software development might be useful here. What if we were to talk about them more as open-source projects about social web culture?

So in general, there will be an idea that we wish to explore, it might involve a physical journey like tuttle2texas, but it maybe more of an intellectual one and on the whole they will be studies of how the web affects us as cultural and social creatures. And we will carry this investigation out by writing, taking photographs, making video and audio and publishing on the web as we go.

So then the output of the project, rather than being any single artefact, becomes akin to creating the equivalent of an open-source codebase that others can come and use, build on, exploit for pleasure or profit, or not.

Um… I think.

So the next bit is about how we get them funded, who takes part in them, how we know they’ve succeeded, what opportunities are there for opening them up to be recognisably cross-disciplinary (and therefore have a home at, say, a Centre for Creative Collaboration…)

Bonus Link: These sorts of project ideas might be what Grant McCracken talks about as Culturematics.