Thursday, April 12, 2012

Collective Art

Yesterday I talked about one of the reasons I love the Internet - the way people come together for no other return than to make someone happy. Today I have another reason: art and creativity.

Spanish photographer Pep Ventosa has created a body of work called The Collective Snapshot around the idea of sharing by layering dozens of different snapshots of landmarks on top of each other to create one image. The results are striking and beautiful, often looking like slightly abstract watercolors. His statement says "images in this series blend together dozens of snapshots to create an abstraction of the places we've been and the things we've seen. A celebration of our collective memory." (Emphasis added.)

I love the idea that these photos aren't capturing these places as they are in fact, which is how we normally think of photography, but instead are capturing the essence of what thousands of people see in them every day. It's using a camera to see the world through everyone's eyes instead of just one at a time. It's similar, in my mind, to what social media is doing for the first time - creating a saved collective memory of what has happened in our lives.

Making collective art is, in some ways, part of the culture of remix I wrote about a while back. The difference, I think, is that instead of creating thousands of new versions from one original piece of art (music, visual, writing, etc) this is creating one work from thousands, where everyone contributes to make something greater than the sum of its parts.

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