Get Paid to Shift Your Space

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Shiftspace is a project that enables users to create layers on top of the web. Often compared to ambling public parks or recreational areas, these areas allow people to navigate and interact with the web on their own terms, as opposed to the surrounding online territory which, to extend the parks metaphor, can be understood as privately-owned malls. Founded by Mushon Zer-Aviv and Dan Phiffer, Shiftspace was developed in response to the questionable creative freedoms that circumscribe user-generated content. While it ostensibly embodies principles of democratic, grassroots participation, the process of user-generated content is always pre-determined by the site's creator. Shiftspace sets out to subvert these inherent limitations. By downloading the application and pressing the shift and space keys, participants can, in Zer-Aviv and Phiffer's words, "invoke a new meta layer above any web page to browse and create additional interpretations, contextualizations and interventions--which are called 'Shifts'." Rhizome and fellow new media art organization Turbulence provided initial support to Shiftspace; and recently the latter organization, in partnership with the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, gave additional support enabling Shiftspace to distribute 10 grants (for up to $2000) for the creation of new kinds of authoring tools in two categories: 1) Spaces, which allow web users to annotate, modify and shift the content of a page, and 2) Trails, which are maps of shifts (shiftspace content) that create meta-layer navigation across websites. To me, this seems like a win-win proposition. Contribute to the ongoing innovation of a unique, open source project of great vision and potential impact, and have your labor paid for. Why not? Applications are available on the Shiftspace Commissions site. - Lauren Cornell