Social/Image: A Visual Art/ists Wiki in Theory and Practice
Speakers: Amit Ray, Gregory Halpern and Derin Korman, Rochester Institute of Technology. Moderator: Madeleine Clare Elish, MIT. Abstract: While cultural theory has long critiqued the notion of an autonomous creator or object of art, the quantitative instantiation of socially-generated creative work, work that may involve audience in the act of creation, has only become possible in recent years. In the creation of written texts, the advent of wikis instantiate the late-structuralist debates between Foucault and Barthes at the end of the 1960's. Foucault's author-function" is in the process of being renegotiated across a variety of media, genres and platforms. In light of the kinds of connectivity facilitated by recent innovations (in hardware, software, network-access, licensing, etc.) our panel would like to pursue the viability of a "visual arts" wiki. The Faculty and students in the Colleges of Imaging Arts and Sciences and Liberal Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology are attempting to design and implement a virtual space for the university's visual arts students to present and critique their work. The aim is to provide a field of possible interactions: from the presentation of artist-centric works made available for textual commentary and criticism; to solicited practical "visual" and textual interventions; and, finally, to de-centered, socially constructed images where the scope and dimension of the work is continually renegotiated based on the interests of no single individual but the community at-large. In doing so, we want to be carefully attuned to questions of medium-specificity and translation, as well as the technical, legal and pedagogical possibilities and limitations of such a project.