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Friday, May 20, 2011

From New Museum to Nerd Museum: Assessing the Arty Inventions Hatched at AOL's 7 on 7 Conference

By Karen Archey
Published: May 16, 2011

Compelling and ambitious was Emily Roysdon and Kellan Elliot-McCrea's, a site prompted by, among other things, a shared interest in considering Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's recent disappearance. The site creates a platform through which one may bring various moments of political history or forgotten ideas from the past "forward" in hope of rekindling discussion of them. Roysdon and Elliot-McCrea did an excellent job of creating a clear, utilizable structure, though maintaining dialogue about such slippery concepts may be tough in the long run (among ideas people have so far decided they would like to see brought "forward" are "Goddess Worship," "Zeppelins," and "The Holistic Organics Movement.")

Next up were young internet darlings Ricardo Cabello (mr. doob) and moot (Chrisotpher Poole). Inspired by the ideas of metalayering, Youtube annotation comments, as well as mr. doob's multiuser sketchpad and the collaborative, anarchic online game, the duo created the fantastically-titled, a site that allows annotations on webpages.

Camille Utterback and Erica Saduncame together around the Japanese concept "sabi" — roughly translated to English as the beauty and authority that an object gains with age — and how this idea might be applied to the mercurial realm of consumer technology. Sadun set to work writing code for an iPad2 photo application that captures images by the prompt of a violent shake, and another that burns images into the iPad picture plane based on the length of time that a user just lets the device be. The results are odd Cubist style abstract photo-mosaics with a Zen undercurrent. While it remains dubious how well the duo engaged the notion of "sabi" (it seems as if the idea of creating a patina on software remains paradoxical), Utterback and Sadun did succeed amazingly in producing an iPad2 app that may well have commercial viability — and the results looked pretty cool to boot.

Last up was team Rashaad Newsome and Jeri Ellsworth, a collaboration seemingly lacking a "a-ha" moment, which likely could have used additional time. Ellsworth simply created a monstrous-looking instrument-thing that distorts and "yodelizes" sound imput. The two then put this to work in relationship to Newsome's "Shade Compositions" video, which turns the body language and tics of African American women into a kind of symphony.

The final verdict? While it's apparent that a few of the 2011 "Seven on Seven" teams didn't necessarily hit a magic moment in their day-long collaborations (and who could blame them?), others most certainly did, notably Bell-Smith and Baio, as well as Roysdon and Elliot-McCrea. Although "Seven on Seven" will never certainly predict sure-fire successful collaborations, there's much beauty in watching the experimentation and alternate success or failure of its participating duos. And in the end, there's a lot to be said for a technology-oriented initiative in which some shooting blindly and failing is not only supported, but built into its core.

This article comes from Art Info

Sent to us by Tom Sergott

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