A Communication & Workshop Tool developed by Hideaki Ogawa (JP/AT), Emiko Ogawa (JP/AT), Manuela Naveau (AT) (Ars Electronica Linz, Austria)
Ars Wild Card is an iPhone application developed by Ars Electronica Linz as a participative workshop tool for exhibitions and interventions in public spaces. This application and QR codes assigned to each exhibited project make it possible to generate content about the works on display in a frame with which installation visitors can photograph the works and comment on them right on site. The application also permits personal impressions to be collected via online sharing at the website awc.aec.at. Plus, there’s the option of posting the substantively framed and commented images on all popular social media sites. At the exhibition venue, Ars Wild Cards printed out as postcards constitute a constantly growing collection of snapshots of the exhibition taken by visitors on site or via online participation. Visitors can also take printed-out Ars Wild Card postcards home with them.
Photo credit: Manuela Naveau
Background – Comment Culture
Participation in artistic processes & frameworks has been the driving force behind Ars Wild Card’s development; nevertheless, the process of communication in this connection is just as important. Ars Wild Card is meant to facilitate access to artistic processes as well as, on one hand, getting across information and, on the other hand, permitting the input of new content. Ars Wild Card is thus to be understood as a curatorial instrument to mediate the public’s encounter with an exhibit and as a stage setting in which to endow an artistically sophisticated composition with a multidimensional presence, whereby installation visitors can hear and experience what it’s saying. Moreover, Ars Wild Card offers the opportunity to give feedback in the form of publicly accessible commentary. In this Comment Culture of ours (cf. Geert Lovink, 2007), we have developed a penchant for publicizing our thoughts and opinions. Authentic, personal assessments by installation visitors, mostly composed in the usual style of Comment Culture practitioners (as manifested in text & image commentaries in blogs, wikis and on social Web sites), are the essence of Ars Wild Card.
Background – Creative Catalyst
During the workshops, our interest was piqued by the recognition that visitors got creative in their dealings with Ars Wild Card. For one thing, they explored the motifs photographically and captured interesting points of view. Plus, visitors could not only choose the background color of their Ars Wild Card frame and take credit as designer of their Ars Wild Card; they could also enter new creative statements that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the original work of art other than the shared location of their presentation.
Background – Dynamic, Participative Archive
An exhibition curator is often confronted by a rather mundane task: if participating artists are unable to be there in person or have to depart prior to the vernissage, they request photos as documentation of the exhibition. With the Ars Wild Card, the photography is outsourced to exhibition visitors, many of whom are only too happy to get involved. At the exhibition in Osaka, this concept went over brilliantly, and the artists whose works were on display appreciated the hands-on efforts of visitors to give expression to their own personal points of view in a more or less professional way. The result was a collection of personal “glimpses” that accrued over the course of the exhibition’s run. Ars Wild Card workshops will be offered on the websites accompanying future exhibitions.
Background – Mass Experimentation
Ever since the turn of the millennium, artists such as Aaron Koblin and R&D facilities like the MIT Media Lab have been coming up with outstanding ways of visualizing communities and quantities of data. Now, teaming up iPhone apps with Android, an open source operating system, allows for a simple and almost playful approach to using and generating data. This process is location-independent and takes place conveniently via telephone and internet connection. Ars Wild Card makes use of these application programs. Its aim isn’t just to enable users to convey information about artistic projects; it also encourages them to engage in experimentation. We hope that the possibilities of sharing actions and input via a central website, where online participants as well as visitors on site at the exhibition can make content available to one another, will open up an experimental field in which a large number of people (including those who don’t have an app-compatible Smartphone) can get involved and discover new things.
Idea and Concept: Hideaki Ogawa, Emiko Ogawa, Manuela Naveau (Ars Electronica)
Software development: Memetics GmbH
Design: Stefan Eibelwimmer
Ars Wild Card debuted at “Poetry of Motion,” an exhibition produced by Ars Electronica Linz that ran December 10-18, 2011 in Osaka, Japan.