Week 20: Beyond Participation: Toward Massively Collaborative Worlds of Art

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Carl Skelton of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center, co-initiator (with Martin Koplin, University of Applied Sciences, Bremen) of Beyond Participation: Toward Massively Collaborative Worlds of Art. The project focuses on the case study of the digital platform Betaville.

While in recent weeks, we have tended to celebrate usership and participation, these terms may be fraught with a side-effect that Betaville is designed to prevent: the implicit acceptance of a separation between active designers, determinant clients, and taking-it-or-leaving-it-end-users.

The extensibility of concepts and practices of “participatory culture” to fully peer-to-peer collaboration with citizens beyond the art world is a practical matter and a challenge to artists. The session chairs work together on Betaville, a massively multiplayer online environment for previsualization, development, and public participation in new proposals for public art, urban design and development – stretching the current “city limits” of participation by artists in public culture. With Betaville, the project seeks to enquire into “massive participation”, that is, an extreme form of relational aesthetics praxis, within which the role of the artwork is as a framework, rather than a procedure or product, and subject to evolution/adaptation at the behest of anyone with the gumption to do their own work with/on it.