Hi, please

First findings–including my need to get better skills.

Ok, so following Mushon’s sound advice, I tried to focus my research in:

1)      Finding what collaborations between new media and the Arts exist out there.

2)      After that, the next step is to evaluate what has worked well and which problems do exist and need to be changed—and also evaluate which applications/ideas can be adapted to a lesser-wired context.

What I’ve found so far I’ve  can be divided in three main usages:

1. User-generated content/interaction projects

Most of the projects that I found rely on engaging the audience (old and new) into generating new content; through social media like Tweeter or Facebook, their mobile phones, or the web. The projects go across all art genres:

DANCE– Check out Twitter Community Choreography: an ongoing experiment from Dance Theater Workshop. On Tuesdays, they ask their Twitter followers to send one movement (or nonmovement), to form a choreography. They put all the responses together and engage the audience into choosing the order in which the moves should be interpreted, and afterwards they ask them to participate in the music and sound editing. The final result is executed by a professional dancer and filmed.

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LITERATURE— Another super cool project is Penguin’s “We Tell Stories”- they challenged some of their top selling authors to create new forms of story, designed specially for the internet. Over six weeks writers created tales “that take full advantage of the immediacy, connectivity and interactivity” The stories are targeted for young people and have different styles and levels of interaction. “The 21 Steps”, for example, is a homage to “The 39 Steps” in a story that must be followed around the world through Google Maps. In other stories the author would do a real-time writing of the story on a blog-type app, one hour each night for a week; or a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type of story where the reader makes the decisions. A cool catch is a contest that involved a seventh story hidden through the web, with clues both online and in the real world that led the readers to win prizes.

2. Access to archives

Besides YouTube and Hulu, there are many resources that offer great quality content totally or almost free. Two great findings:

FILM— Less than a year ago, Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s archive was completely uploaded and disclosed on the Web for anyone to enjoy. Screenplays, photos, his beautiful watercolor storyboards, drawings, notes, newspaper clippings, etc can be accessed for free .

The guys from The Auteurs (if you haven’t yet, definitely join) have managed to offer super good quality streaming for tons of high-quality movies, either for free or for as little as $1.

3. Social media—on the side findings.

Although it may not seem very exciting, for me it was a treasure to find a super useful study conducted by Marc van Bree, http://mcmvanbree.com/about.htm#resume a top PR and MKT man for the arts, who actually put the effort into gathering information and in-depth interpretation of a pool of 81 orchestras—which can basically can be traduced into most types of cultural institutions.

It is not news that social media is a powerful tool for gaining advocacy, branding, funding and general diffusion of any topic. But in my experience, arts institutions have been very slow in incorporating this new media to their communication and marketing strategies. One important element is the lack of feedback and research on social media & the arts impact and concrete results. To that, this study proves to be an invaluable tool for gaining support and budget from high executives in arts organizations.

This is what I found more interesting from many other sites, but am still looking for examples that help delivery of existing content into new audiences. I also found that I need to improve my search skills because I need to get more time-efficient. Sorry to post this late today!

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  1. Leslie 16:46, Feb 11th, 10

    Hey Jimena- Your talk about user generated content/interactions sounds really cool- I’d definitely love to hear more about that! I thought some of those literature projects seemed like some great creative ideas. It made me think of National Novel Writing Month (better known as NaNoWriMo). The organization challenges you to write an entire novel (50,000 words) in one month. You can upload your novel to the website and interact with other NaNoWriMo contributors. Check it out here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/. You don’t directly interact with other people’s stories as they write it (and I don’t think it involves any real new media), but it’s a cool integration of how the Internet can help spread interest in the arts.

  2. HoniehLayla 18:57, Feb 11th, 10

    I would be interested in find some type of scale or marketing research tool that would help you in your research in analyzing the actual impact of new media or social media in the Arts. Is it possible that the artistic world might be in “essence” too creative to be pushed into a format that limits them such as a blog, fb page, twitter feed. Your example of Dance was very interesting – but I wonder how what purpose does it serve to create choreography that is based on twitter – is this a new type of dance in itself – Modern Twitter Movements. Sound’s like a really cool idea, but how will it promote the Dance Theater Workshop. So far this specific video you have posted has 3 rates, and over 1500 views. I would like to see what type of value this might have to this organization.

    I really enjoyed your post. :)

  3. Marc van Bree 23:38, Feb 11th, 10

    Thanks for the kind words. Glad you found the study useful. The sample was fairly small, but I still think there’s some valuable info in there.

    I’m very intrigued by this whole blog and the class. Glad I found it!

    And please, do let me know if you have any questions, on the study or otherwise. I’d be happy to help.

  4. Jimena 01:58, Feb 12th, 10

    Thanks so much for your comments! They’re really helpful.

    Leslie, I think too that cultural institutions offer great possibilities for user-generated content—that’s probably the richest field for interaction between culture and the Web. And by what I’ve found these past weeks, in fact creative organizations are very good at generating unique, attractive ideas that engage their users and produce original content. But there seems to be a missing link between that great content and a broader strategy that guarantees a bigger payoff for the organization—by helping it promote its work, generate substantial audience growth, obtain new members and/or funding, etc.

    Although this kind of institutions might have a freer, more flexible way of developing projects that could have something to do with this, I don’t think that their creative nature makes it difficult for them to comply with a certain framework such as a social media platform. There are some examples, such as the MoMa (http://www.facebook.com/MuseumofModernArt?ref=search&sid=701037343.1960031079..1&v=wall#!/MuseumofModernArt?ref=mf) that make excellent use of its possibilities. Even if it’s not precisely interactive, the guys at NaNoWriMo (thanks for the lead, Leslie!) do a pretty good job and they keep their audience engaged throughout the year even though the event takes place in November.

    Rather, I think that the problem is caused because those institutions don’t really know what they want to achieve through social media, so there is no clear strategy to follow—and a great idea, such as the Twitter Community Choreography, stays in a basic level without reaching its full potential.

    I will definitely explore further in that direction—these organizations should be getting so much more out of such great endeavors.

  5. Jimena 10:44, Feb 12th, 10

    Hello, Marc! What a great surprise. Welcome to the blog!

    The sample is extremely helpful. I’ve found it really hard to get hold of solid information about cultural institutions and their usage of social media– there’s a lot to explore!

    I think that the report that you kindly share is a much needed insight into these organization’s relationship with networking sites– it’s great that it goes all the way from budgets (not an easy topic to talk about with them!) to general attitudes and fears about the media. Why do they do it, what’s their aim, and exactly how they’re doing it. Invaluable!

    I would love to contact you by email and go over some thoughts about the topic! Thanks so much.

  6. Marc van Bree 11:04, Feb 12th, 10

    Please do contact me any time. I’m at marc (at) mcmvanbree.com

    Also, I recently found another study on performing arts and social media. Have yet to go through it in detail, but it looks promising.


    (Found it through Beth’s Blog, I’m sure you’re familiar with her work. If not, check out http://beth.typepad.com/ )

  7. mushon 10:12, Feb 13th, 10

    Marc, thanks for the input. Interesting stuff.

    Re: User Generated Content (UGC)
    my concern with many of these outreach through UGC experiments is that while they might generate some hype for the cultural institution, they attract users not to consume art but to produce (some sort of) it. This is a huge shift in what these organizations are there to do. This shift from consumption to consume/produce/share is inspiring bothe audiences and arts institutions but we need to be critical of what’sactually going on. The users no longer come to “be exposed to art” they come to create art, to be seen, heard… This is great but this is not the mission statement of most of these organizations, and that should be acknowledged.

    It comes down to what is the mission statement and how can new media tools can help acheive it. One can argue the mission statement should change, but that’s another point to make. I think Dan’s travelogue is also very relevant to yours.

    Interesting stuff.

  8. nadine 13:12, Feb 15th, 10

    Jimena, have a look at this project: http://opensolacehaiti.org/
    It is not related to the arts, but it is also built on a chain reaction. The objective is to produce and exchange video messages between Haiti and the US/or other countries, like “messages in a bottle”…