Re: [-empyre-] Re: [backup.lounge|lab.02]welcome to february's discussion on open source-open art

On Freitag, Februar 7, 2003, at 12:11 Uhr, Jon Fawcett wrote:

1. What does the term "source(s)" mean to an artistic environment?

2. Which elements of the artistic process can become exchangeable sources
and how can they be determined -> Basically meaning "what is it I would like
to contribute and what do I want to receive/learn from the others" (i.e.
technical knowledge, conceptual approach, material, files,...)?

The source is the artist. I will jump right in with a thought from having discussed these ideas while participating in the project. I remember deciding that in a non-consumer/product based artistic culture - perhaps simpliefied broadly as time-based work (that I and all of the artists participating find ourselves a part of), the product, the item to be consumed is the artist themselves. In relation to this we can say that artists themselves are the source, in every way. Every aspect of themselves is the source, from personality to skills to ideas to conceptual frameworks. The question is what do they want to share? What programs do they want to work on today? And what other programs are accessible to combine code with? In a collaborative situation such as Lounge.Lab, who is around to build relations with and in which way?

It may be more of a semantic argument but I disagree. I think the 'source' in Open Source software is a set of non-tangible components and techniques that can be reproduced to build a copy or appropriated to make a variant or unique work. It's a set of instructions and concepts. To me, open source does not necessarily imply collaboration, just that the process is completely (as much as possible) transparent.

Some artists are very secretive of their techniques for fear of being copied or criticized. This is akin to proprietary software where you can see the result but you cannot look under the hood to see how it was made and how it works. Pride and economics are the main motivations I see for this sort of proprietary attitude. This also reinforces the romantic notions of the artist as a heroic mysterious genius.

Open Source art would attempt to document the techniques to create a work and the concepts that drive it. I think there's quite a lot of art that fits into this category already.

I agree that the social aspects are very important and that social factors have lead to the success of Open Source software but I don't think it's inherent in the definition. But to me the essence of Open Source is to produce some kind of work and to make it completely open to inspection. The social connections that result are just a wonderful consequence of people being willing to share.


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