Flight Paths and Implementation are both pieces that depend on collaboration to succeed. However, the collaborative aspect of these projects manifests in different ways. While Implementation posts pictures and descriptions of user involvement after the project debuted, Flight Paths used collaborative material from participants in order to create the project.
Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph were interested in the Guardian story, “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” They created a blog in which interested users who shared an interest in the topic of the article could post videos, pictures, poems, and memoirs. When Pullinger and Joseph created the short flash videos that we watched for class, they used material that users had posted on the blog to formulate the characters and create visuals for the piece. This project revisits a current theme of our class: authorship. Who is really the creator of this piece? What constitutes as authorship – ideas or the editors eye that brings these ideas together? This piece shows an example of a successful (in my opinion) collaborative web based art project. What makes this piece successful? I think the set up of the blog brings together ideas that allow for collaborative brainstorming. However, the fact that two artists worked to achieve the vision and the final artistic direction allowed for the end piece to come out with a cohesive look and message. Are there examples of web projects that were entirely collaborative from start to finish – with no real “leader”?
Implementation takes a different approach. Nick Montfort and Scott Rettberg wrote a sticker novel and then asked participants to distribute this novel and take pictures of where they had put the stickers. While Montfort and Rettberg created the original idea, collaboration occurs on the website with the uploading of photos. As a viewer of the project today, a vital part of experiencing the project involves looking through the material of how the story was implemented. Therefore, while Montfort and Rettberg may have created the original story, there are now multiple authors of the project. Pullinger and Joseph were able to take users stories and pictures and decide exactly what the finished piece would look like. On the contrary, Montfort and Rettberg relied on participant involvement and creativity to take the project to the next level. Both projects were “successful” in that that they gained media attention, and are now analyzed in the aftermath.
New media narratives allow for an expansion of the conception of authorship, which is what Web 2.0 as well as new Creative Commons copyright tools are all about. As a society, I think individualism and ownership dominate the way we think about intellectual and artistic property. With new collaborative projects, as well as pieces online that allow you to use the material, remix it, and re-post it, we are changing these previously held assumptions. What are the societal implications and benefits from this change? Maybe we will be able to work together, combine our ideas and creative visions, and produce tools, projects, and ideas never imagined or conceptualized before.