Art and the Power of Web

Today morning, I read about this great experiment launched by Google in collaboration with some artists from Tate Modern gallery in London. The origins of this experiment is based on a method started by Parisian artists called ‘The Exquisite Corpse’ (cadavre exquis or exquisite cavader in French). This method involved words or images collectively assembled where each contributor only sees the end of the previous contributors work or by following certain rules (like put a action word here). The Parisian artists who started this were called Surrealists and this method, over a period of time, evolved to using images or drawings. So for instance, an artist could draw, say, an arm. The next artist could then draw a head (without looking at the arm), the next artist could draw the knee and so on. An example of this, using only two contributors, is available here.

As is obvious, the web is really well suited for this sort of an experiment or method. So Google and Tate Modern yesterday launched ‘The Exquisite Forest’ – except that the art form is now animation. The site has some starting point animations by artists from Tate Modern. For instance, Dryden Goodwin has created an animation of a man whose head and body takes shape and the rest is up to the rest of the world…….

There are some rules that need to be followed though and the contributors need to build their animations within those parameters – like ‘draw the scene the man sees’, ‘keep it black and white’ and so on. This was launched yesterday and you can already see some contributions like the man’s skin falling off to reveal a skeleton or the man turning into a sparrow and flying away and so on. The Forest (or Tree) part comes in because all contributions to the first level (i.e, the original animation) become a branch in the tree stalk (the first level). If some adds to level 2, then the tree expands to a sub-branch and so on. If this did not make sense, take a look at the video at the end of this post and the The Exquisite Forest site.

I think this is the first time that anyone has tried ‘Crowdsource’ art on the web and I am very eager to see what it turns into!!! And if you are an artist – a great opportunity to get your work to Tate Modern!!!


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