Furtherfield and Alexandra Reynolds from Kingston University London
Furtherfield, Ruth Catlow
Alexandra Reynolds, Kingston University London
Professor Stephen Barber, Kingston University London
Reviewing and Open Sourcing VisitorsStudio
VisitorStudio is one of the first major projects conducted by the Furtherfield gallery and arts centre. Created in 2003 by Ruth Catlow, Marc Garrett and artist-programmer Neil Jenkins the co-creation software is an early example of an online real-time, many-to-many platform for artistic performance and play. The programme allows the free uploading, manipulation, collaging and remixing of audio-visual files, prompting an exploration of collective creativity by both established and amateur artists. In 2009 VisitorStudio was awarded the Machida Grand Netart Prize.
Alexandra Reynolds’s residency took the rich history of VisitorStudio as a starting point, assessed contemporary equivalents and cultural / technological changes, and reviewed the potential for a contemporary re-design of the programme. Reynolds began by surveying thirty cultural co-creation projects that are comparable to VisitorStudio, they were assessed in terms of site aesthetics, content development tools and the ways in which communities were established and sustained. The second stage involved in depth conversations with thirteen members of Furtherfield’s community regarding their uses of VisitorStudio, interviews and workshop sessions were conducted.
Out of the research Reynolds produced a fifty page research document that revealed ethical and practical issues relating to attitudes surrounding network participation and user interfaces. Both Catlow and Reynolds presented at a Creativeworks London Women in the Digital Economy event. Elements of the residency have factored into Reynold’s thesis. including a interview with Catlow.
Catlow has surmised that the residency “achieve a deep, wide ranging review of an old project that was very important to the formation of our values and that had informed our understanding of what digital networks could mean to the creation and experience of art.”
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