Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Attention, crowdfunders: set Chopin free!

September 6, 2013


Frédéric Chopin by Eugène Delacroix, Musée du Louvre

Frédéric Chopin by Eugène Delacroix, Musée du Louvre

Musopen is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing copyright free music content: music recordings, sheet music and a music textbook. In 2010, they raised $68, 359 (well over the $11,000 requested) on Kickstarter to hire an internationally renowned orchestra : Musopen recorded and released the rights to Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, and Tchaikovsky symphonies.

Today, Musopen has decided to tackle a far more ambitious project: record and release for free (meaning royalty-free) the entire works of Frédéric Chopin.

A little bit of explanation here: true, it is 164 years after Chopin’s death. So his music is well into the public domain. Yet, as Musopen explains, most people still consume it as if it were still copywritten: from CDs, iTunes, or Youtube videos (many of which are copywritten).

The new fundraising campaign aims at hiring talented performers to record all of Chopin’s works and then release this music for free, both in 1080p video and 24 bit 192kHz audio. This is roughly 245 pieces.

To do this, Musopen needs $75,000. The fundraising campaing is going through October 20th, 2013.

To learn more about their project : Set Chopin free Kickstarter’s page.

Wiki Art: collective works in search of an author?

June 8, 2010

Crowd, photo par James Cridland

One of the characteristics of Web 2.0 as described by Tim O’Reilly is its “hackability”: sites, services and applications are built by successive strokes, by continuously rearranging existing bricks. This is the spirit of mash-ups (aggregation of content from other sources) or applications using other web services’ API (Google Maps, Twitter, etc..)

This trend is not only technical, it is behavioral. It has an impact on various aspects of life, including art. The Los Angeles Times provides a good analysis of this in their article “Essay: Technology changes how art is created and perceived”.

The article relies on several examples. One of them is the Johnny Cash project . It is a tribute to Johnny Cash  on which Web users are invited to collectively build a video clip for the song “Ain’t No Grave”. Participants can submit a drawing for each frame of the video and / or vote for their favorite designs.The result of this process of collective creation (crowdsourcing) will be the final clip.

Another example is Reality Hunger , a book by David Shields, made as a collage of 600 fragments from other books.

The phenomenon of “remix” or enhancements of existing works has gained an unprecendented momentum. True, works inspired by earlier pieces of art are not new.  Pop art has extensively used this creative process, with Andy Warhol or Lichtenstein, for example.  But until now a person was at work, crafted the overall plan, provided a direction, an intent.  It is still the case with Reality Hunger.  But will the sum of thousands of  uncoordinated edits in an initiative such as the Johnny Cash project result in a coherent piece of art? If so, it will not necessarily be anonymous (participants can register a user name) but it will be apersonal if not impersonal ; it will be a one thousand contributors work without an author. Unless we suggest that this collectivity of users  is driven by an invisible hand, a metaphysical collective being,  and that the final work reflects a person transcending the multitude …