Crowdsourcing and Art
The crowd creating one work – an innovative art concept
Can you really couple art with crowdsourcing? A few recent projects have shown how art is made through crowdsourcing, and just how diverse the results can be.
When Mechanical Turk was still just an idea, Aaron Koblin, a design student at the University of California, was trying out a new sphere of art: he had a the crowd draw 10,000 sheep, all facing left. The results are on display at thesheepmarket.com.
In 2008, the Brooklyn Museum in New York dedicated an entire exhibition to crowdsourcing. The photo collection with the title “Click!” was an experiment which was based on the best-seller “The Wisdom of Crowds” by James Surowiecki. Surowiecki explains that a diverse crowd often makes better decisions than an individual person. The “Click!” exhibition aimed to bring that idea out through visual arts. Later the Brooklyn Museum asked for photo entries with the theme “Changing Faces of Brooklyn” along with an artist statement to be submitted electronically. Visitors and photo enthusiasts could choose online which photos should be exhibited. Those interested could also take part in an evaluation questionnaire and make notes. The resulting project can be seen here: brooklynmuseum.org.
Corinne Vionnet, an artist from Switzerland, also made her collection “Photo Opportunities” with the help of online crowdsourcing, gathering hundreds of snapshots of famous sightseeing spots. For many of us sightseeing also means taking photos. We travel, visit interesting new places and snap a photo – and that´s what Corinne Vionnet showed in her photo series.
She collected many different photo souvenirs of a single point of interest online. We all belong to the millions of hobby photographers and are all different – and also photograph things somewhat differently. Vionnet positioned the photos in transparent layers, one atop the other, online. The whole photos series can be seen here: corinnevionnet.com. It´s stunning how the layers aren´t all that different, and most of the tourists captured almost the exactly the same image from the same perspective for their photo albums. It begs the question: Why do we instinctively photograph a building from a certain vantage point? Is the crowd, put in the same situation, not all that diverse after all?
(Images by the Empty Quarter Fine Art Photography: Corinne Vionnet Selected Works)