Tate Britain, London
|The Space- convergent media showcase?|
Digital transformations mean that cultural and media organisations now find themselves in a new environment in which communities of participants interact to create, curate, organise and support cultural experiences.
This was the third in a series of AHRC-funded events where practitioners and researchers came together to consider innovative practices, and develop new ideas together.
The event concerns digital platforms, which enable communities to aggregate and curate content created by a wide range of professional, semi-professional and amateur participants. Design makes a real difference: why is it, for instance, that members of the knitting network Ravelry tend to have a much higher quality of supportive conversation than the remarks on YouTube? How can we build sustainable cultural production and support creative curation?
- John Stack, Head of Tate Online showed a wide variety of participatory examples from the Tate's online history. The most striking of which was the opportunity to talk directly with Ai Wei Wei in China using the internet and record the conversation during the showing of sunflower seeds in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall- 25000 video recordings and a website where you can view these.
- Jake Berger, Programme Manager – The Space, BBC showed the prototype of this convergent online magazine and showcase in collaboration with the Arts Council. The software itself is all open source and will be made available to artists and organisations to self-publish. The big question on the current site was one of gate-keeping and who decides on content. It seemed to boil down to a combination of low funding and institutional nerves that a two-way conduit with participants had not been established.
- Martin Rieser, Professor of Digital Creativity, De Montfort University- I showed a range of projects chiefly dependent on the empedia platform, where public participation and contributions are part of the formula. see: www.empedia.info
- Claire Ross, UCL was speaking about “Putting the Visitors first” in order to design better, more user friendly, digital experiences in Museums. I used examples from the Social Interpretation project at IWM and the QRator project at the Grant Museum.
- Sunil Manghani, York St John University gave an intriguing talk where John Berger was pictured drawing out fascinated commentaries from school children on the sexual ambiguity at the heart of a Carravaggio painting. He posed two models: Dialectical and Dialogic for creative discourse using social media forms, favoring the Dialogic as more inclusive, subtler and effective.
The day involved presentations, discussions, and smaller-group conversations.The discussions were wide-ranging and covered all the problems of participatory forms-quality was perhaps under-discussed. I concluded we want two way participation- but we need to expect more of audiences- participation is not just admiring the wall paper. The focus and context are vital and this framing can avoid the accumulation of the banal, rude or irrelevant contribution.