Allies in Art
Crowdsourced creativity brings people together to boost their sense of community
Life / 6 Oct 2011
Having reached its fever pitch, the crowdsourcing movement has inspired a seemingly infinite assortment of collaborative concepts, impacting everything from design to journalistic content. Now, artists, too, are putting the trend to use by organizing projects that solicit the public for creative contributions, and, in doing so, help foster community.
INSIDE OUT
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With French photographer JR at the helm, this participatory project transforms digital self-portraits into large-scale street art. As the 2011 recipient of the TED Prize, JR received a $100,000 grant to realize his “project wish” of giving a literal face (or faces) to global communities. Participants can upload their self-portraits to the site for free large-scale printing, then are tasked with displaying the blown-up photo in a high-traffic location. An online gallery features pictures of the portraits in “action” on building facades, office walls, even in home windows. After just seven months, more than 50,000 people have uploaded photos and participants have logged activity in countries spanning the globe.
Papergirl SF
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The original Papergirl was founded in Berlin in 2006, but designer Heather Tompkins recently introduced the concept to San Francisco. Combining art, a budding bicycle culture, and snail mail, the project sources paper-based art (e.g., paintings, drawings, and photos) from participants. Entries will comprise an exhibit at Incline Gallery and, afterward, will be rolled up and randomly distributed throughout San Francisco, like an art-based newspaper delivery service. The recent proliferation of pre-fab care package services suggests that Gen Ys still love a good old-fashioned delivery, and rolls of art should be no exception. The submission deadline is October 8, so would-be contributors should get to the post office, stat.
Ecriture Infinie
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Though e-writers facilitate the sustenance of basic handwriting skills, our society no longer considers penmanship an important art form. Cameroonian artist Bili Bidjocka, however, strives to immortalize the endangered discipline. His Eriture Infinie is a five-year-old project that invites museum-goers to approach a page in one of eight giant notebooks and leave their message and their mark. The books have been installed in Tokyo, Stockholm, and Venice. The eighth and final notebook, built by Moleskine, recently debuted in Mantua, Italy, at the Festivaletteratura. Partakers are filmed making their entries, so while the books document the handwriting itself, complementary footage provides visual clues as to the creators’ techniques.
 
©The Intelligence Group