Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Artists and Web 2.0

We enjoyed presenting our module in your class last week and introducing you to Chuck Bauer and Chuck Beckwith--artists and founders of The Soap Opera in Madison. Their engagement with art, community, politics and life has been an inspiration to us since meeting them while undergrads at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the early 1980s. Our research for our module lead us to contemplate Spin Hand Spun and projects such as Obsessive Consumption in the context of so many past art movements. Spin Hand Spun was conceived of by our former student Kristin Boehm ('09) who started it in our Digital Processes course a few years ago. We knew Kristin had focus and vision when she produced the below video as one of her earliest digital projects using online voice synthesizers and animated the dolls she'd made with yarn and fabric hence combining handicrafts and technology in an engaging way.

Subsequently, Kristin's blogging has provided a venue for her ideas, interests and artmaking in Minneapolis. She wrote us recently that her blogging gave her a way to pursue her art after school when she was away from all the rich resources a college campus can provide. She makes felted cozies for technology items (iPods, laptops, cameras) which she sells on etsy while pursuing grander knitted public sculpture projects.

We plan to explore the possibilities of Web 2.0 for artists in our ART 340/540 Intermediate/Advanced Digital Processes course Winter Term 2011. Students will work to define their "online identity as an artist" through a WordPress blog connected to a self-designed art project. We hope to bring Kristin to campus as a "visiting artist" so she can tell her story and offer advice to students based on her real life experiences. As of this writing, she reports that her blog and her art are self-sustaining and on the verge of generating enough energy and income to keep her active in art as well as cover the rent!

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