FCJ-098 ‘Web 2.0’ as a new context for artistic practices, Juan Martin Prada


FCJ-098 ‘Web 2.0’ as a new context for artistic practices, Juan Martin Prada

The Fibreculture Journal



The economic model for what is called ‘Web 2.0’ is based on promoting the desire to share and exchange things, an attempt to make profits from the voluntary collaboration of its users and its potential for compiling data and making them available to the public. The new companies operating on the Internet base their role on promoting cooperative communities and managing access to the data and files contributed. This business model increasingly tends not to sell any product at all to the consumer, but rather sells the consumer to the product, integrating the user and the files he or she contributes into the actual service being offered. (정리 요약)

That is, what is exploited (if we can understand something like that happening today in the field of networks) is users’ capacity to produce sociability and their desire to do so. Now the actual user (instead of only his or her needs) is the true origin and destination of new technological developments.

The inclusive logic of Web 2.0

it is understandable that the new companies on Web 2.0 are striving to generate a need for belonging and participation, to stimulate our need to feel tied to a group, a digital community, to collaborate and contribute things to share them on the new social networks (be they videos, photographs, comments, etc.).

we are all turning into software components or ‘bionic software’, and that Web applications ‘have people inside them’.

The ‘input’ for the new Web is the users themselves. 

The fact that the central axis of Web 2.0 today is the production and management of social networks proves that it brings together social and economic production.

The promotion of collective experiences of users, the enhancement of emotional interactions among participants, and making the aggregation of information originating in those networks based on affinity groups possible has required the development of huge efforts to advance in ‘social software’.

There is a proliferation of constant strategic games of personal initiatives and freedom. The system aims to correspond to the multiplicity of singularities forming the connected multitude by forcing the multitude into submission through its involuntary conversion into a transmitter of the new forms of power.

Web 2.0 would be a Web ‘for’ users and also generated ‘by’ users, on the basis that any of its services improves if more people use it.

The fact that anyone can be a producer and distributor of visual and audiovisual materials of all kinds has led to an unstoppable, intense ‘amateurization’ process of the creative practices that statistically comprise a significant part of the contents available on-line. This ‘amateurization’ is clearly a contrast to the professionalism that characterized the 20th century on all levels.

An increasingly minor part of aesthetic innovations occur nowadays in a professional or industrial environment. Many of those aesthetic innovations occur in thesocial fabricformed by users; that is, after industrial production (Söderberg, 2004). That is why there has been talk of an emerging process of ‘democratization of innovation’ (von Hippel, 2005), or of ‘open innovation’ (Chesbrough, 2003), related to the “customer-made” formula. It implies an active connection between companies and users in the production of goods and services. What is happening is that this way, consumers are becoming producers of certain products, which means they are both consumer and producer, giving rise to the newly coined term ‘prosumers’.

The contradiction between producers and consumers is certainly not inherent to current digital means. And while that is true for creative fields, it is even more so in information technology environments.

A new challenge of the utmost importance in the field of ‘non-amateur’ creation is posed by the fact that much of the visual production that is enjoyed and shared on the networks is not made by professionals in image-making fields.

At this point, in the field of the networks, the possible differences between ‘art’ and ‘not art’ are a matter of nuance in terms of the intensity with which each creation reveals and expands upon the essential aspects and potentials of living and of the critical consciousness possible in that connected multitude.

What we could call ‘art’ in the context of Web 2.0 is certainly what most reinforces our belief in the potentials of the connected multitude, in its possibilities for the free production of critical thought and new life.

Through the most interesting artistic proposals an attempt, at least, would be made at a poetic reconfiguration of the social interactions of the connected collectives.

An extremely important step forward in collectivized, mutualised knowledge. It is the arrival of a stage of broadened ‘co-intelligence”, of the reciprocal production of knowledge among infinite persons, of a multitudinous cooperative development and of the increasingly open possession of knowledge, all channelled through inclusive systems, and not designed to prevent anyone from the possibility of contributing. Undoubtedly, the potential illuminators of ‘general intellect’ are none other than teleology of the commons on linguistic interchange and cooperation.

The essential character on Web 2.0 of activities such as classifying, tagging, selecting, voting, scoring, etc. makes data organization methods for the culture of the networks one of the areas of greatest interest in on-line artistic creation.

Perhaps the critical thought innate to artistic practices can help us immensely in gaining a better understanding of what we can consider as truly social with respect to some new technologies and applications that, as in the context of Web 2.0, are always presented to us as completely social media.

That is, one of the major commitments of the best artistic creations in the context of Web 2.0 would be to design new paths for taking the interpretive experience model inherent to artistic practices to the field of social and communicative interaction. It behoves us to give intensive thought to the possibilities of artistic practices in the face of an ecological recomposition of communication (Guattari, 2001).

The great challenge of artistic creation then is, in the boundary-crossing dynamics of human presences in network environments, to build flows of value and meaning independent of the logic of markets and corporate interests.

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