CrowdedSource Studio
MTAA (M.River & T.Whid Art Associates)

Paintings are too hard. The things I want to show are mechanical. Machines have less problems. I'd like to be a machine, wouldn't you?

— Andy Warhol

Project Description

wireframe layout of the CrowdedSource Studio web site (click for a larger image in a new window)

MTAA propose a new sort of studio, a studio as an expanded collaboration, where the boundaries between artist, audience, gallerist and collector become fuzzy and indistinct.

Using familiar Internet technologies and conventions like multiple choice polls, chat rooms, streaming video, digital photos and real-time auctions, the artists will create a series of artworks that rely almost completely on viewer input. Decisions having to do with content and subject, aesthetics, practicalities, logistics and technical issues will all be up for public vote and discussion on-line.

A web site acts as the hub for this activity. Viewers login to the web site to monitor the artists' progress via streaming video and digital photos; to join a chat room in order to comment and propose artistic direction; to bid in an auction that tracks the current market value of the work; and to vote in polls as each major decision point in the artwork is reached. Viewers will be encouraged to participate by being rewarded shares in the final art work.

The first in this series will be a suite of paintings entitled 24-Hour Paintings. Each 24-Hour Painting will take precisely 24 hours to create. The artists make only three decisions before beginning each painting: the medium (acrylic), the time (24 hours) and the size (big). After that, all major decisions are determined via viewer vote. At a publicized time, the artists enter the studio and go live on the web. The first vote concerns the subject and content of the painting. Once that's determined, certain high-level aesthetic decisions are voted upon: color theme, style, general composition and etc. After that, the artists begin painting. Working as a team, the artists paint in turns, one acts as the 'operator' and the other as the 'actor'. The actor paints as the operator monitors and moderates the chat room; relays comments to the actor, sets up new polls, shoots digital photos of the painting's progress and uploads the photos. After 24 hours, the painting is complete and has been sold to the highest bidder.

The artists will develop the CrowdedSource Studio web site software by customizing and integrating current open source blogging, video streaming, photo gallery, chat and auction packages. The software will then be distributed to other interested individuals. The artists hope to create a community of like-minded people working in this manner.

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