[iDC] "Wikipedia Art"

Kate Raynes-Goldie kate at k4t3.org
Tue Feb 17 18:56:10 UTC 2009

So how come we can't vanda... I mean edit *your* wiki? (http://wikipediaart.org/wiki/ 


On 17/02/2009, at 2:52 PM, Scott Kildall wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> There has been much talk about the "Wikipedia Art" project in  
> various online circles, blogs and lists. Trebor has asked me to  
> write about the project and the response for IDC.
> Here is an abbreviated history of the intervention/project/ 
> collaboration. Note: this history is still being written.
> At 12pm (PST) on Feb 14th 2009, Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern  
> launched the "Wikipedia Art" project, along with several  
> collaborators, including Brian Sherwin, Patrick Lichty and Jon  
> Coffelt.
> An article appeared on Wikipedia -- called "Wikipedia Art" -- with  
> the following description:
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Wikipedia Art is a  conceptual art work composed on  Wikipedia, and  
> is thus art that anyone can edit. It manifests as a standard page  
> on  Wikipedia - entitled "Wikipedia Art". Like all  Wikipedia  
> entries, anyone can alter this page as long as their alterations  
> meet Wikipedia's standards of quality and verifiability[1]. As a  
> consequence of such  collaborative and  consensus-driven edits to  
> the page, Wikipedia Art, itself, changes over time.
> Concept
> Wikipedia Art is an art intervention which explicitly invites  
> performative utterances in order to change the work itself. The  
> ongoing composition and performance of Wikipedia Art is intended to  
> point to the "invisible authors and authorities" of Wikipedia, and  
> by extension the Internet,[2] as well as the site's extant  
> criticisms: bias, consensus over credentials, reliability and  
> accuracy, vandalism, etc.[3]
> Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern, Wikipedia Art's initiators, refer  
> to the work's publish-cite-transform feedback loop as "performative  
> citations." They maintain that the project "intervenes in Wikipedia  
> as a venue in the contemporary construction of knowledge and  
> information, and simultaneously intervenes in our understandings of  
> art and the art object".[2] The artists request writers and editors  
> to join in the collaboration and construction / transformation /  
> destruction / resurrection of the work, want their " intervention to  
> be intervened in."[2] Stern and Kildall say that "like knowledge and  
> like art, Wikipedia Art is always already variable."[2]
> History
> Wikipedia Art was initially created by artists Scott Kildall and  
> Nathaniel Stern on February 14 2009. It was performatively birthed  
> through a dual launch on Wikipedia and MyArtSpace, where art critic,  
> writer, and blogger, Brian Sherwin, introduced and published their  
> staged two-way interview, "Wikipedia Art - A Fireside Chat."[2] The  
> interview ended with Stern declaring, "I now pronounce Wikipedia  
> Art." Kildall's response: "It’s alive! Alive!"
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Minutes later, several online essays, interviews and blog postings  
> were released and then re-cited on the Wikipedia page, giving it  
> external "legitimacy"  and thereby initiating the feedback loop  
> described in the original article.
> Interview with Nathaniel Stern and Scott Kildall
> http://www.myartspace.com/blog/2009/02/wikipedia-art-virtual-fireside-chat.html
> Essay by Patrick Lichty "WikiPedia art?" (posted on Furtherfield)
> http://blog.furtherfield.org/?q=node/267
> A New Take on Art by Haydn Shaughnessy
> http://www.mediangler.com/2009/02/13/a-new-take-on-art/
> What is Wikipedia Art? by Jon Coffelt
> http://thewhole9.com/blogs/applestooranges/2009/02/14/what-is-wikipedia-art/
> Within an hour, the article was marked "AfD" (article for deletion)  
> for not adhering to Wikipedia standards. The Wikipedia process for  
> AfDs is to engage a debate about the Wikipedia-worthiness of the  
> page for a period of least 5 days until the Wikipedia community  
> weighs in.
> 15 minutes later, the pre-existing Wikipedia pages for Scott  
> Kildall, Nathaniel Stern and Brian Sherwin were also similarly  
> tagged with "COI" tags and "Citation" tags (a precursor to article  
> deletion) by the same Wikipedia editor that marked the Wikipedia Art  
> article for deletion. This action could be described as retaliatory.
> In the next several hours, a heated debate ensued on the deletion  
> page with sides weighing in on KEEP or DELETE. The core problem is  
> that many found the concept itself to be confusing. Did this point  
> out a hole in the authority-structure of Wikipedia? Is it a valid  
> work of art? Is it vandalism? Does it adhere to Wikipedia standards  
> of notability? Is it improperly self-referential?
> http://wikipediaart.org/wiki/index.php?title=Articles_for_deletion/Wikipedia_Art
> In the meantime, several other online writers, responding to our  
> press releases calling for collaboration wrote articles of their  
> own. Here is a sampling:
> Hello Wikipedia, its the Blogosphere Calling
> http://twocoatsofpaint.blogspot.com/2009/02/hello-wikipedia-its-blogosphere-calling.html
> Digg's Way of Seeing
> http://diggydivision.tumblr.com/post/78355063/http-wikipediaart-org
> Look, See (2008) by Chris Ashley
> http://looksee.chrisashley.net/?p=1563
> Also, many people added to the Wikipedia Art page, providing context  
> and additional citations.
> 15 hours later, "Wedna", an 18-year old Wikipedia admin promptly  
> deleted the page, violating Wikipedia's own requirement of a 5 day  
> period for AfDs. In his profile, he describes himself as: "An old  
> hand. I've been around since mid-2005"
> in the wee hours of the morning, two different people added  
> "Wikipedia Art" to the "Conceptual Art" page on Wikipedia. Both  
> entries are quickly removed.
> Sunday, Feb 15th, is a bit of aftermath, some more threads appeared
> "Help! I have created a monster" by the original Wikipedia editor  
> (this is not the 18-year old) who marked it Afd, where he expresses  
> feelings of despair over the mess. In various comments, we are  
> likened to three Ts: terrorists, trolls and Tristan Tzara
> http://wikipediaart.org/wiki/index.php?title=Village_pump
> Net-time Thread by Edward Shanken. Many responses follow.
> http://mail.kein.org/pipermail/nettime-l/2009-February/001221.html
> Monday, February 16th (*), more blog coverage gets propagated about  
> the intervention, noting its immediate failure or success.(**)
> Media Arts Education by Daniela Reimann
> http://daniela-reimann.de/wordpress/?p=173
> Ethan Ham (Technology-based contemporary art)
> http://www.ethanham.com/blog/2009/02/wikipedia-art.html
> Wikipedia Art Lasts All Day! by Paddy Johnson
> http://www.artfagcity.com/2009/02/16/wikipedia-art-lasts-all-day/
> (*) this is the date of this posting on IDC
> (**) in phone conversations between Nathaniel Stern and Scott  
> Kildall, it was decided that "failure was an option"
> Here is a link to the project
> http://www.wikipediaart.org
> I am most curious about YOUR thoughts on the "Wikipedia Art"  
> project. Do you see this project as one that points out an inherent  
> problem with the way that histories and knowledge is propagated? Or,  
> does it appear as a vandalistic act done by a "gang of artists"?
> I specifically invite discussion the larger issues that the project  
> raises: Wikipedia-as-entity, performative utterances in net-space  
> and the boundaries between intervention/vandalism/conceptual art.
> Best,
> Scott Kildall
> www.kildall.com
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