Competition entry: Collection of Crowds exhibition

Yesterday we submitted our entry for the so-called Fifth Curator Competition, a jont initiative of the British Council and Whitechapel Gallery in London’s East End. The competition brief stated that:

“The Fifth Curator Competition is a unique opportunity for an aspiring curator to select an exhibition of works from the British Council Collection. The winning curator will be given unlimited access to the Collection, which includes over 8,500 key works of British art, and the resulting exhibition will be shown at the Whitechapel Gallery in the vibrant east end of London in April 2010. We are looking for someone who is based permanently outside the UK, who believes they have the passion and knowledge to be a leading curator.

Fifth Curator

Well, that sounds interesting and challenging. But how can you make a selection out of such a vast and varied body of art works? Is it possible to choose from over 8.500 collection items in any authoritative way? And can one deal with the physical limitations of a gallery space, no matter how spatious and elegant? These are the most important questions that we addressed in our exhibition proposal, titled “Collection of Crowds“.

The concept is based on the ideas of James Surowiecki who, in his critically acclaimed book The Wisdom of Crowds, asserts that a diverse crowd is often wiser at making decisions than expert individuals. Collection of Crowds explores whether this concept can be applied to an art collection, raising the question whether a diverse crowd is just as “wise” at evaluating art and making a selection as professional curators.

Collection of Crowds

For our proposal we adopted and combined three highly influential phenomena from the world of (online) media: data visualization, user generated content and augmented reality. Collection of Crowds (hopefuly) will be an exhibition in three consecutive parts:

  1. We first provide a new way to navigate through the collection, comparable to SFMOMA’s ArtScope.
  2. Secondly we enable (online) visitors to choose their favourite work from the collection and to tag, rank, discuss and share it, by applying folksonomies the way that our dear friend Seb Chan is doing to radically open up Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.
  3. The online process culminates in the actual exhibition, presenting the highest ranking works in each category in an interactive data sphere. You can think of it as an updated version of the Digital Depot by Kossmann.Dejong at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, this time adding real time (user generated) data.

By transforming (user generated) data into information, information into knowledge and knowledge into new layers of meaning, we can enrich our understanding of the British Council’s Collection and of the way it is perceived by people. Instead of a ‘grand curatorial decision’, we leave the shaping of the exhibition to the ‘wisdom of crowds’.

The final idea for the exhibition took shape during a lengthy and lively conversation with Ben Cerveny, our ‘digital daddy’ who told us about Karsten Schmidt, a computational designer based in London who builds unique, highly adaptable platforms, installations, services and systems for some well known brands and cultural institutions.  In the event that our proposal is short listed or selected as the winner, we hope to be able to collaborate with both of them.

The (six) short listed applicants will be selected and notified at the beginning of October, so pray for us..

By Michiel — Posted September 5, 2009 — 6,426 Comments

CDR – create, bounce, burn.

CDR was picked up by Time Out Amsterdam

The August edition of CDR was picked up by Time Out Amsterdam

Create, bounce, and burn. This is the vernacular of a new generation of beat makers around the world. They use software with swanky names as Logic, Reason or Live to contribute to the ever growing architecture of rhythmculture. Forming scenes in Glasgow, Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam, and in many other outskirts, they are the dark metabolism of nightlife and music culture of today. With social networks reaching semantic cruising altitudes, the exchange rate of music is getting more spectacular by the day. Virally communicating and freely sharing through Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, iChat and (even) MySpace, a faceless herd of avatars and monikers roam the digital present in search of a beat.

With CDR, Viral Radio and Beat Dimensions have joined London’s Burntprogress in creating a common ground for these producers to present their music. CDR, which takes place in De Verdieping in the ‘Berlinesque’ Wibaustraat in Amsterdam, acts as a hub and social hive for musicians, music professionals and the general public to exchange new beats. The process is basic: people bring their music on a CDR, hand it in to the DJs of the night, who will play them over the weighty club soundsystem. Each artist name and track title will be projected on the wall. The night will be opened by interviews with the visiting artists from the following Viral Radio night upstairs at TrouwAmsterdam. Entrance for musicians with a CDR is free; 5 euros is charged for other visitors. As a bonus everyone can stay for Viral Radio later on.

The third edition of CDR is about to start tonight at 8.30 PM at De Verdieping. We look forward to seeing you there.

By Juha — Posted September 4, 2009 — 6,598 Comments

Viral Radio returns with CDR and survivors of the demilitarized zone

A few months ago we asked our good friend Aardvarck, if he was given the chance to invite someone for Viral Radio, who he would choose. “Mala,” was his immediate answer, followed by an endless stream of unintelligible animal noises, “hoer” and “zijn we er al?” Mala will now play alongside Aardvarck, Cinnaman and Juha at the sixth Viral Radio event at TrouwAmsterdam. He will be joined by his friend, brother-from-another-mother and fellow demilitarized zone pacifist Sgt. Pokes.

In the evening, starting around 8 PM, Viral Radio will present the second CDR night. Adopted from London, the night is intended to create a social network, platform or hub for aspiring producers, avid supporters and kindred spirits who enjoy new ventures into electronic music. Hosted by Juha, Cinnaman and Mamiko Motto, a line of guests will be interviewed about their music practice, amongst whom Mr. Aardvarck himself. Visitors can bring their music on CDRs, which then will be played on our professional club soundsystem, while their names and track titles will be beamed on the wall.

CDR has been adopted by De Verdieping as a monthly night to share ideas and music. It has been transferred from the Wednesday to the Friday, to connect with Viral Radio and to benefit from the presence of international artists as Hudson Mohawke, Mala, Nosaj Thing, Harmonic 313, and all the others that come through the Viral Radio hub.

Viral Radio starts at 10.30 PM. Tickets are 12 euros, and are available at Rush Hour, online and at the door of TrouwAmsterdam. CDR starts at 8 PM. Tickets are 5 euros, but entrance is free of charge with a CDR of your music. Visitors of CDR can stay for Viral Radio without paying any more.

By Juha — Posted August 6, 2009 — 3,025 Comments

We’re going deeper underground

Cross section of the Noord/Zuidlijn

Cross section of the Noord/Zuidlijn

It is unclear whether construction on the new North-South line of the Amsterdam metro will ever be completed. After a long history of technical and financial setbacks and disputes with the construction company work on this megalomaniac project has virtually halted. In anticipation of a possible cancellation of the project, we wonder what will happen to the huge subterranean vaults that were already created by the enormous drills that are tunneling through the city like huge, metallic moles.

There are several stations, platforms and tunnels in other cities that were constructed but never opened, as well as those that have been abandoned following planning changes. One tube station underneath the British Museum in London was used as a military administrative office and emergency command post for a long time. In Berlin, several U-bahn stations that became redundant after the German reunification have been converted into locations for events and exhibitions or used as a storage area for theater props. And an increasing number of homeless people in large cities can and will make use of accessible, abandoned underground structures for shelter.

Here are some other ideas:

Passona O2 is a subterranean farm underneath a bank building in Tokyo

Passona O2 is a subterranean farm underneath a bank building in Tokyo

Take a look at some of the other beautiful photos at pruned.

Fashion show at Old Billingsgate near the Thames in London

Fashion show at Old Billingsgate near the Thames in London

Theatre at a depth of 26 meter during the Amsterdam Underground Festival

Theatre at a depth of 26 meter during the Amsterdam Underground Festival

By Michiel — Posted February 21, 2009 — 380 Comments