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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  April 2008

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING April 2008

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Subject:

Re: Open source first steps

From:

Beryl Graham <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Beryl Graham <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 25 Apr 2008 16:21:19 +0100

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text/plain

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Dear List,

Thanks Aymeric for a very good and focused question - it's something 
I've been wondering about myself for a long time, and I should say up 
front that I don't think I have the answer, but have been unpicking 
some examples that might come close.

So, as you say, only projects which are about a group of people 
producing something usable (like software) over period of time, using 
the _production methods_ of Open Source would come anywhere close, 
which kind of rules out examples like performance art, happenings, etc.

So, examples where groups of people produce things (not necessarily 
software) with degrees of openness of the source code, such as recipe 
sharing and adapting recipes for food might work to a certain degree, 
and I like the parallels that actually sometime recipes are guarded 
secrets, and there is still competitive behaviour and hierarchy of 
expertise involved, just like programmers.  And, too many cooks spoil 
the broth. However, the parallel breaks down at a certain point, 
because cooks are not actually taking somebody's actual cake, and 
changing the ingredients, because by that time it is already cooked and 
can't be dismantled.

The patchwork quilt analogy also breaks down at a certain point, 
because that is more of a modular slotting together rather than being 
able to unpick and remake other people's patches (they would be pretty 
pissed off if you did).

So, maybe the closest thing would be a genuinely collectively produced 
(not interactive, not participative, but collectively produced) piece 
of art, where the methods of production were public, and equally 
understood, would come close, but these things are rare, and the group 
would usually be very small. And I can't think of an example .....  any 
ideas?  There are certainly artists collectives, but waht they produce 
is usually an organisation, not an art object ...

Yours,

Beryl


> Now, to come back to what has been said on this list before,
>
> I personnaly think that FLOSS, art and cultural organisations,
> while being in some circumstances connected, are three distinct things,
> and I'm not convinced that FLOSS is something that can be applied
> litteraly to non digital matter. In other words, software is a medium 
> in
> itself, people are producing software, but people are not software.
>
> I would be interested if anyone on this list has concrete examples 
> where
> FLOSS has been used to model a non digital 
> project/community/organisation,
> beyond the simple inspiration that can provide the openness suggested 
> by
> FLOSS models and the simple use of FLOSS for production/admin tasks.
>
> Best Regards
> Aymeric Mansoux.
>
>
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art
School of Arts, Design, Media and Culture, University of Sunderland
Ashburne House,
Ryhope Road
Sunderland
SR2 7EE
Tel: +44 191 515 2896    [log in to unmask]

CRUMB web resource for new media art curators
http://www.crumbweb.org

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