Showing posts with label museums. Show all posts
Showing posts with label museums. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Delivered a keynote on Automating Culture


A few days ago, I delivered a keynote on ‘Automating culture: How Digital Platforms are Shaping the Art World’ for an international conference organized by Prof. Filip Vermeylen. For about a decade now, we both have been working on the democratization possibilities of the art world through the rise of social media and globalization through the new cultural commons project.

The talk was about how the art world has entered the platform economy. The art industry is being subjected to similar fears and possible opportunities of automation as other cultural industries such as the music, film and the publishing business. Hence, it asks some key questions: Can the traditional art intermediaries still compete in the platform economy as data mining companies enter the fray? Has the divide between the high and the popular culture collapsed as user behavior, platform design and engineering staff circulate between these worlds? Do customers no longer care about the aura of the art piece before buying it online? In other words,

...do algorithms rule today and are they making the art world more democratic?

With the rise of automation and platformization, the International Art Market Studies Association (TIAMSA) second international conference organized itself around the theme and key question of, “Art for the People? Questioning the Democratization of the Art Market.”

The call reflects some of the contemporary issues and debates taking place in the art world nowadays. The art world and the market have traditionally been the domain of the elites and have thrived on exclusivity. However, the art world has arguably become much more democratic in recent years thanks to the digital revolution, the inclusion of emerging economies in the world art market system, and the vastly improved access to art and information. The price histories of works of art can nowadays easily be reconstructed using online databases; the threshold for art buying is significantly lowered by online sales platforms; and new buyers in emerging economies are making the art market much less Western-oriented. Moreover, an ever broader range of artworks in different price categories has put (fine) art within reach of the middle classes across the globe. At the same time, art institutions such as museums are under tremendous pressure to be less exclusive. Some of these democratizing tendencies are of course not new. For instance, publishing houses in Europe started disseminating prints on a massive scale already in the sixteenth century, thereby enabling larger segments of the population to acquire images. Whether or not the internet and globalization are genuine game changers in the contemporary art world, we can assume that new platforms through which art is mediated – both offline and online – are reconstituting the manner in which art is being viewed, valorized, acquired and enjoyed. These developments could have far reaching implications.

TIAMSA’s second annual conference explored to what extent the art market was affected by comparable developments in the past, how it is embracing today’s democratic potential, and at what cost. Are digital innovations, from search engines and big data analytics to virtual auctions, transforming the long-existing modus operandi of the art world and the traditional structure of the art market? And if the art market is indeed living up to its democratic promise, is it also becoming less opaque and therefore more transparent?

This event was held in Vienna from Thursday 27 Sept –  Saturday 29 Sept 2018. It was the result of a joint collaboration of the Belvedere ResearchCenter, the Dorotheum and the Department of Art History at Vienna University. The conference presented a selection of papers approaching the theme from different, fascinating viewpoints, and combined it with two special events, namely a guided tour of Viennacontemporary, Austria’s international art fair, and a tour of the Belvedere Research Center. There was also a round table on the art market and the internet. 



Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Paper out on 'YouTube as the art commons' in the Digital Culture & Education Journal


I am so proud of my recently graduated master students Jessica Verboom and Daria Gladysheva for successfully working together on this paper and getting it published in the Digital Culture and Education Journal. So far, in the last 5 years, I have co-published 4 articles with my students and I hope many more to come. Its good to see their work reaching the public as we are mainly targeting open access journals for wider readership.

So this paper is about the phenomenon of museum communication through online video hostings, either by using YouTube or a customized platform. The videos uploaded by museums present a combination of educational and entertaining content depending on their objectives, attracting users to watch art content online. While the literature on uses and gratification is highly represented in media studies, few studies exist about the specific user motivations and gratifications of new media platforms in a museum context. Three types of users were identified in this study. The first type – art-oriented users – display extrinsic motivation towards art exploration and seek for videos with educational content. The second type and the most widespread on these spaces – entertainment-oriented users – are intrinsically motivated and concentrate on the entertaining content of museum videos. Users of the last type are averse to exploring art content online, unless they are defined as non-art related. Overall, this paper argues that as art becomes a cultural product to be consumed online, popular video portals such as YouTube serve as an important platform to facilitate this democratizing effect, with varied implications for the art world.

We should not be too quick to celebrate democratization though as quality comes to question and the age old issue of pandering to the popular taste lingers through this conversation. That said, this has most promise to engage the youth and folks in emerging economies who perceive museums as a predominantly white and elite institution that excludes rather than democratizes culture. For more details on this, click on the link here

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

2 New Papers Out on First Monday: Museum 2.0 & the Fashion Blogosphere

What a wonderful day to see 2 of my Masters students get their thesis published as papers in one of my favorite journals - First Monday. This journal is one of the first open access journals dedicated solely to the study of the Internet. It has published excellent and pioneering texts from several renowned scholars such as Howard Besser, danah boyd, John Seely Brown, Edward Castronova, Paul Duguid, Nathan Glazer, Eszter Hargittai, Lev Manovich, Helen Nissenbaum, Trevor Pinch, and Richard Wiggins.

So proud of Jessica Verboom, and Kristina Sedeke, both wonderful young scholars and practitioners.

So the first paper by Jessica Verboom , 'Museum 2.0: A study into the culture of expertise within the museum blogosphere' is on how museums are addressing the rise of social media and how this challenges the notion of expertise in the art world. The abstract below gives a glimpse of what its about:

Abstract
While studies on popular culture have a more vast understanding of the impact of the participatory culture on experts and expertise, there is a dearth of literature on the impact of Web 2.0 on museums, which are established authorities within the cultural field. We aim to answer the following research question here: who are the experts and what is the nature of their expertise in the museum blogosphere? In addition, we look at the spatial culture on these museum blogs and its role in shaping expertise. We address this question by conducting a content analysis on a sample of the top ten ranked museum blogs, and find that new experts have entered the playing field and expertise is constructed in the personal and social context of an entertainment-oriented blogosphere. Click here for the full text

The second paper by Kristina Sedeke, 'Top ranking fashion blogs and their role in the current fashion industry' is about how the fashion industry is responding to the rise of the blogosphere and the new role of experts in this realm and their influence in this fashion arena.The abstract below gives a glimpse of what its about:

Abstract
Within the last decade, fashion has become more of a global industry catering to complex and transnational customers of diverse lifestyles, religions, and cultures which makes the recognition and identification with particular customers more complex. Simultaneously the radical change in communication allows users to participate, follow and discuss any trends and fashion news easily for any collection and purchase them online. In particular, the blogosphere has become a prime arena within which fashion consumers reside online, bringing to question who and what are the influencers within these new digital and cultural spaces in the fashion industry. Blogging in general is considered as a new form of online journalism, enjoying great attention of users, based on a personal and interactive approach, versus the standardized treatment through mainstream media. Fashion blogs are perceived as a street of fashion, as a source of authenticity and a display of the actual use of fashion by the general public. However, fashion bloggers are looked upon skeptically by the fashion industry as they may not have the proper expertise guaranteeing quality and credible reporting. This new cultural sphere continues to be resisted by established and well-known fashion brands and designers who do not incorporate them into their corporate communication. This is not to say that fashion bloggers are not influential; in fact, these amateur-experts have proven an impressive capacity to build up a wide audience following, and have even influenced mainstream media and the fashion industry. While we are aware of these trends, few studies have shed light on the nature and characteristic of this new cultural and online domain of the fashion industry. Thereby, this paper focuses on some of the most effective blogs and bloggers, delving into who they are, what kinds of strategies do they employ to attract a wide audience and what are the range of characteristics that make an effective blog. The aim of this paper is to enhance the understanding of this new cultural realm, especially in three avenues: identity of bloggers, the culture of space of their blogs, and their actual or possible use as a tool of fashion marketing and brand management. Click here for the full text


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Annual Museum Night in Rotterdam- Art becomes life!





What a wonderful idea isn't it? To make "high" culture a popular event is a challenge that the Netherlands seems to have met and even superseded expectations. Here's a glimpse of the program of the night:

All 45 museums and galleries participating in the ninth edition of the Rotterdam Museum Night have announced their programmes, inspired by the theme XS/XL. The spectacular opening at 20.00 hours outside the Laurenskerk will kick off with a musical highlight of XS singing tones, XL music and 999 eyes that will be let off to wander through the night by the minister of Culture Ronald Plasterk. The programme of the Museum Night is varied and consists of pure highlights. The Witte de Withstraat and the Museumpark is the booming centre of the night. Let yourself be surprised by the eccentric circus at Alliance Fran├žaise or relive your puberty in the National Museum of Education (Nationaal Onderwijsmuseum). Make your own inventions in the Kunsthal, create your own dream world in Boijmans or get the creeps in a show with monsters only: kids are allowed to stay up extra long on the Museum Night! Or you can join in the rhythm of a spectacular performance with the “Journey through the city”.

Now to see if we can make the popular, run-of-the-mill life of ours art!