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social media enabled photographic projects…

September 10, 2009
Dave Geeting

Dave Geeting

Heather Marlatt

Heather Marlatt

September 09 2009

I came across this website, Samesies recently, a link sent to me by my friend Jenna Todd.
“A project started to highlight how different people can essentially take the same pictures.
Curated by Alex Carman, Dave Geeting , Sophie Curtis”

It’s a relatively simple concept, and not necessarily a new one, but the simple blog design and elegant imagery works and it’s nice to check in on as it’s updated nice and regularly. However, it highlights some other projects for me that I thought I’d share.

In this blog, sets of 2 individuals use photographs to communicate with each other, sharing their feelings about the weather and its influence on emotion and mood. Combining photos from partners around the world, this blog references both weather and emotion, across geography and time. Two artists, one in NY, the other in Berlin, conceived this project for Transcultural Exchange. ( Project Description )

Hege Don Samset, one of the project curators was at Art school with me, but in the way that the world is now networked via multiple intangible data sets, I came across the project via a very differently related e-mail group. The project is similar to ‘Samesies’ in its use of the blog, the regular, dated posting, the chronology…but it differs in other ways: it is more of a rolling series of photographs, rather than the concrete sets of two; it does not attempt to recreate the same image as posted before, but spring from that image, creating a responsive and work, factoring in the weather and emotion(as noted in the blurb).

Jenna and I participated in this project and you can view our images here. For me, the images became less important than the process of the project…For the first ten days of the project I was in Singapore and the last four, back in New Zealand (where I live). It was, as you might imagine, much easier to take, or be interested in taking images to post in Singapore, with my ‘tourist eyes’ on, not to mention, the lack of distraction and time by every day work.

Networking photography with social media sites is of course not new, if we think of photosets in (and countless other sites), and similarly, being ‘pen-pals’ with people in far-flung countries is not a new concept either.

So my question is, (i think!) is there soemthing new out there? Is there something amidst this social networking with digital technologies, this need to connect over geographical distance, that we can push forward and create?

I recently worked on a project called Intertidal, part of a series of new, national and international commissions in a national (NZ) project called One Day Sculpture. Fellow artist, colleague and curator Caro McCaw and I curated the project for the Blue Oyster’s Commission. Part of the premise of the whole project was a new way of commissioning site-specific work. We both have interests across networked technolgies and through this project saw these as a way to connect a geographically disparate group of artists, callenging a notion of ‘site’ through the internet. This formed the research part of the project, which developed over 1.5-2 yrs, finally culminating in site visits by the artists, and a ‘One Day Sculpture’ on the 20th December 2008.

Similar to the Weather Photos project, the experince of the online networking differed much from the expectation of it, and the realities reflected the people involved, much more than the technologies used.

(For further information on the project see writer, curator and artist Ali Bramwell‘s article about it here. Or an article published in the Blue Oyster Ten Year Anniversary Publication by Caro McCaw and myself here(pages 40-45).)

So my thoughts here are far from complete, and I really wanted to post just to get started pulling some of these projects together. But if I can offer some sort of reflection on what I think I’ve just said and the experiences I’ve had, it might be something about the social, in social media. Do the websites offer enough of the personal experience involved in the creation of the shared/group outcome? And are they meant to?

This might be where my thinking is taking me… more soon!

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