Kickstarter Conversation and Interview



Kickstarter, the funding platform for creative projects, will host a panel tomorrow at the New Museum at 3pm, as part of the "Free" exhibition. We posted an mini interview with panelists filmmaker Zana Briski and artists Michael Crow & Lenka Clayton to the Free blog. You can read the interview here. Short description of the event below.

Founded in 2009, Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Every month, tens of thousands of people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields. Kickstarter is a new form of patronage and commerce: creators offer products and experiences that are unique to each project, and keep 100% ownership and control over their work. What underlies Kickstarter’s straightforward premise is a powerful alternate model of funding for the arts: one that enables creators, of all stripes, to realize their projects without the support of the grants, galleries, or the larger art world apparatus. It also raises certain fundamental questions: such as, does art lose its mystique if it is financing is laid bare? How do artworks exist outside the parameters of the art world? Is art, in 2010, at home in mass culture? For this panel, Kickstarter founders Perry Chen and Yancey Strickler will be in conversation with artists who have successfully used this platform to realize projects: Michael Crowe & Lenka Clayton (of Mysterious Letters), Zana Briski (of Reverence & Born Into Brothels), Zach Lieberman (of EyeWriter).


Required Reading


Picture 1.png

This rich pamphlet grew out of The Internet as Playground and Factory, a conference organized at The New School and held in November 2009. In this seventh pamphlet in the Situated Technologies Pamphlets Series, Trebor Scholz and Laura Y. Liu reflect on the relationship between labor and technology in urban space, where communication, attention, and physical movement generate financial value for a small number of private stakeholders. Online and off, Internet users are increasingly wielded as a resource for economic amelioration, for private capture, and the channels of communication are becoming increasingly inscrutable. The Internet has become a simple-to-join, anyone-can-play system where the sites and practices of work and play, as well as production and reproduction, are increasingly unnoticeable.

Norbert Wiener warned that the role of new technology under capitalism would intensify the exploitation of workers. For Michel Foucault, institutions used technologies of power to control individual bodies. In her essay “Free Labor” (1999), Tiziana Terranova described what constitutes “voluntarily given, unwaged, enjoyed and exploited, free labor on the Net.” Along these lines, Liu and Scholz ask: How does the intertwining of labor and play complicate our understanding of exploitation and “the urban”?

This pamphlet aims to understand “the urban” through the lens of digital and not-digital work in terms of those less visible sites and forms of work such as homework, care work, interactivity on social networking sites, life energy spent contributing to corporate crowd sourcing projects, and other unpaid work. While we are discussing the shift of labor markets to the Internet, the authors contend that traditional sweatshop economies continue to structure the urban environment.

The pages of this pamphlet unfold between a film still from Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer on the front cover and an image by Lewis Hine on the back. Set in the near ...


Background Story (2010) - Kristin Lucas


A sequence of fair use background images arranged for aesthetic and formal reasons, paired with a short story assignment generated through Amazon's Mechanical Turk in response to the image sequence.



General Web Content



Watermarking or tagging images that appear online is a common security measure meant to prevent the circulation of a particular image without attribution. The ease with which images may be copied, dragged, screengrabbed, or otherwise extracted from their original context and distributed through platforms such as Tumblr means that those interested in selling images or otherwise controlling their distribution often rely on digital watermarking as a blunt proprietary tool.

Digital watermarking can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but is most commonly a name or phrase placed over the image itself, thereby disrupting its visual continuity and making it undesirable to copy. The most recognizable watermarks are those of stock photo agencies such as Getty Images, and many artists, such as Guthrie Lonergan, Kevin Bewersdorf, and Aleksandra Domanovic, have used Getty photos as a means of reflecting on issues of copyright as they apply to affect and art making.

That said, the practice is hardly limited to artists and large corporations, and has become particularly prevalent on eBay for users selling "authentic" or "vintage" photos and prints. The simultaneous need to display the image for the buyer but prevent the buyer from simply copying the file itself makes watermarking a widely agreed upon convention. How this marking is accomplished varies widely, and in some ways produces a kind of self-reflexive visual poetry, one primarily concerned with questions of authenticity and attribution.



















Punk Rock 101 (2006) - Cory Arcangel



A while back, I made a web page which paired Kurt Cobain's suicide letter with Google Ads (google ads are generated from the text of the page they appear on). It was up for a while but after getting digged google decided to remove the ads from the page. I took some screen shots while it was up and below are two examples of what it looked like. Also below are the checks that google sent me!



Yes No Party (2009) - Samara Golden




Live video installation constructed out of altered found objects, lazer prints from ebay and blogs, mirrors, wood, and foamcore. This piece includes a video camera that broadcasts live images to a monitor at its base. A viewer observing the sculpture is captured by the video camera, and then is able to see an altered version of themselves (via a video mixer) on the monitor.


[For more on Golden's work, read "Interview with Samara Golden" by Chloe Gray]


eBay TV (2008) - Steve Or Steven Read





Ongoing series of collected photographs from depicting televisions for sale. To market the sets, the eBay sellers also used found images. In particular I enjoy the complex interactions of the 2-dimensional screen image, its display device as a 3-dimensional product/subject, a 4th dimensional surrounding environment, your computer browser screen (the 5th dimension), and so on.


Originally via VVORK


The Most Infamous Girl in the History of the Internet (2010) - Parker Ito



Every time I tell someone about my idea for this painting they say, "Who?", and then I show them the jpeg and they're like, "Oh yeaaaaaaa." Everyone knows the "The Most Infamous Girl in the History of the Internet", but nobody knows her. Basically shes like Warhol's "Marilyn", but the 21st Century "golden-age-of-the-Internet" version, and a mega babe. The above painting is being painted somewhere in Asia, probably China. I got a painting made through Ebay before and it came from Thailand. The painters in Asia are really good. Since this is the best idea I've probably ever had I'd like to try and make like 100 of these paintings by 100 different "custom oil painting" painters. If anyone wants a painting email me and I'll make one just for you. Special shout out to Dustin for taking this pic, and to Hannah for posing so good.



A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter (2009) - Caleb Larsen




Combining Robert Morris' Box With the Sound of Its Own Making with Baudrillard's writing on the art auction this sculpture exists in eternal transactional flux. It is a physical sculpture that is perptually attempting to auction itself on eBay.

Every ten minutes the black box pings a server on the internet via the ethernet connection to check if it is for sale on the eBay. If its auction has ended or it has sold, it automatically creates a new auction of itself.

If a person buys it on eBay, the current owner is required to send it to the new owner. The new owner must then plug it into ethernet, and the cycle repeats itself.

This work is discussed in the catalogue for The Value of Nothing, a 2009 exhibition. Buy or download it.

Follow the current auction here:



World Community Grid Water Features (2010) - AIDS-3D




A fountain and its natural form, the spring, are symbols of the miraculous life-begetting 'élan vital' that permeates the universe. In fact, life on earth is now thought to have begun in the nutrient-rich plumes of undersea hydrothermal vents, real-life fountains of life. But, when the image of the source is mimicked as Water Feature, a merely decorative, self-contained electric fountain, the maternalistic life-force is perverted into what amounts to abject MILF porn. The Water Feature is so wasteful and self-indulgent that it becomes the straw man in the argument against contemporary art as useless blubber for the tasteless elite. But— can't home and garden decor give back a little bit? Can't we efficiently retrofit some of our 'criminal ornaments' for a fairer future? If there is some leftover space inside their faux-marble fiberglass hollowness, we can definitely squeeze some useful nanotech in there— right? Let's finally answer Joseph Bueys famous challenge, “Kann Plastik die Welt verandern?"—can sculpture change the world? with a resounding “YES!"…as long as that sculpture contains a state-of-the-art-kick-ass-energy-efficient-linux-micro-PC that is totally discovering a cure for cancer.

A group of spectacular cast-fiberglass fountains stand together on an elevated server-room floor. A Fit PC 2 (the smallest PC currently available, 96% more energy efficient than a standard desktop) is installed in each water feature. Whenever the fountains are plugged in, the Linux PC's will automatically boot up and run World Community Grid software, a distributed computing project which uses a massive network of PC’s around the world to model solutions for various humanitarian problems, such as: “Clean Energy Project”, “Influenza Antiviral Drug Search”, “ Fight Aids@home” and “Nutritious Rice for the World". The delightful splashing of the water and twinkle of the energy-efficient LED’s act as relaxing and meditative status-light ...