Openness in 0P3NFR4M3W0RK

On December 7, 2008, 0P3NFR4M3W0RK was shown at the Nightingale in Chicago as a part of the program THE WEB OF COKAYNGE; CANDLE AND BELL curated by Dain Oh.  0P3NFR4M3W0RK hasn’t been shown in a screening context before. By employing both 0P3NFR4M3W0RK and animated GIFs in a screening program, Dain Oh created an interesting situation where the artworks rub against the fixed-liniar structure of a screening. I enjoyed the program and was super excited that Dain  instantiated 0P3NFR4M3W0RK.

Jake Elliott harvested the recently uploaded submissions while JonCates and I worked on resurrecting the database from a previous r4wb!t5 microFest in Knoxville, TN at the Gallery of Knoxville. 0P3NFR4M3W0RK was initialized at the second r4wb!t5 microFest in 2005.

Jon Satrom 0p3nfr4m3w0rk submission

Jon Satrom 0p3nfr4m3w0rk submission

The 2005.08.27 r4wb!t5 microFest was held at Alterspace in Chicago. Alterspace, now defunct, was an apartment-gallery in Logan Square run by Carter Lashley and Tano Ferrer. It was an excellent space for the one evening microFest and it was perfect timing. Carter and Tano were in the process of moving, so, we had all but one room in the place install the show.

0P3NFR4M3W0RK bubbled up from a grey gooey area in the new-media meets art-world that r4wb!t5 tends to inhabit. It’s an area that physically rests within bars, basements, and alternative spaces; while being informed by, and resonating within, new-media art exchanges. It’s an area where conversation is as important as participation. It is experimental; it is messy; it is constantly in a state of flux.

Annonomous 0p3nfr4m3w0rk Submission

Annonomous 0p3nfr4m3w0rk Submission

0P3NFR4M3W0RK was initiated as a playful populist reaction to the closed curatorial structure found at work within a majority of gallery/white-wall-based art-shows. In a way similar to the r4wb!t5’s effort to muddy the utopian plasma-screens of technology-based festivals/exhibitions/shows, 0P3NFR4M3W0RK blows a hole in the gallery wall and patches into the network-data-sphere to break down exhibition barriers by re-interperting, re-mixing, and re-writing, the rules and assumptions at the core of these situations.

By providing a model with a flexible time-based approach to the exhibition of digital still art-works, 0P3NFR4M3W0RK hands the following issues over to the mechanics of a simple rule-set:

  • the taste and choice of the gallery, organizer, and/or curator;
  • the artistic merit of the work and/or the artist;
  • the reception and assimilation of the artwork.
Annonomous 0p3nfr4m3w0rk Submission

Annonomous 0p3nfr4m3w0rk Submission

The rule-set of 0P3NFR4M3W0RK states that each piece of digital still art-work in the database will get an equal duration of “wall-time” for the duration of the “art-show.” The duration of the show is calculated in seconds (D) by the number of artworks (A), which determines their display time (X), where frames-per-second are determined by the technical limitations of the display hardware. (A/D = X) Any person can submit any number of images. Every person is considered an artist of the exhibition and every file in the database is considered a digital still artwork. Every participant is credited and notified whenever 0P3NFR4M3W0RK is exhibited.

Of course rules are made to be broken. Within the anarchistic/dirty-new media context of r4wb!t5, such a ridged structure was bound to be challenged. By re-visiting the database and preparing it for THE WEB OF COKAYNGE; CANDLE AND BELL, I began to re-consider the openness behind 0P3NFR4M3W0RK.

ofw_00 captured by jonCates

ofw_00 captured by jonCates

Presently, the database of work consists of 2,756 files, a sizable chunk of which are photo-documentation of past r4wb!t5 microFests. I run into a conflicted feeling while watching all of the images flicker on the screen. I feel that the documentation images, when displayed within 0P3NFR4M3W0RK, affect the weight of the other submissions/uploads. This is interesting to me and I think could be a spring-board for conversation.

Ideally, every image in the database should have equal weight and equal time. Obviously, if someone was to dump a directory of images in the database, their work would stand out a bit. (Take, among others, NoisyDaughter‘s work.) Presently, the only way to submit a directory of images is to have access to the database. JonCates and I dumped directories into the database ourselves from the r4wb1t5 archives. We made decisions when faced with directories tagged “0P3NFR4M3W0RK” on the social-software-systems we harvest submissions from. (, flickr, blogger, etc)These decisions were necessary and were made with openness in mind, yet they were situations where we were making executive/curitorial decisions, rather than the allowing the rule-set. Is that a bad thing? I don’t know… There is something oddly pure in wanting the rule-set to act on its own…

Noisy Daughter OP3NFR4M3W0RK Submission

Noisy Daughter OP3NFR4M3W0RK Submission

The thing that bothers me, I think, is that the inclusion of the r4WB1t5 documentation pictures reflects a position of privilege that often exists between organizers/curators and participants/artists. 0P3NFR4M3W0RK seeks to subvert these positions, yet, I have a gut reaction that it is not succeeding. While traversing the database, I begin to read the project as an egotistical “yea, we did that” vacation-slide-show rather than considering the issues of choice, merit, and reception — of what the project grew out of.

r4wb1t5 documentation in OFW database

r4wb1t5 documentation in OFW database

By curating oneself out of the curating process, interesting developments like this arise. These actions cannot be un-done. We cannot go back and pull images out of the database. That action would undermine the entirety of the project. These hic-ups, blips, and unanticipated developments seek revisions within the rule-set and through further consideration and participation there is a chance that my concern will be neutralized.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

In 2005, social-software-systems, such as (2003) and Flickr (2004) were popularizing user-generated keywords, or “tags,” as a means of making collections of data highly searchable. 0P3NFR4M3W0RK set out to infiltrate these methods of organization. (See also Folksonima)
BUG: When harvesting via tag from if the participant tags a directory or URI.
CURRENTLY: Attempt to find the directory hosting the images for the site and include all images within that directory.
CONS: Many sites have more than one image directory. Participant’s intention may be unclear.

The playback order of the files is undefined
BUG: Currently the order of images is undefined.
CURRENTLY: Depends on the harvesting and production process
SUGGESTIONS: Playback is in the order of submissions.

FPS 01
0P3NFR4M3W0RK rests within and promotes the formula (A/D = X), however, it has been shown in a 1 FPS incarnation.
BUG: If the loop is stopped mid-cycle, it potentially creates a situation where the stills are not given equal “wall-time.”
BUG: Is un-documented and undefined as an option for display.
CURRENTLY: The 1FPS mode seems to resonate more.
SUGGESTIONS: Some sort of script-based playback system: 1 frame-per second mode stops at the end of the loop and counts how many times each image has been shown. The OFW formula can then be derived from the count.

FPS 02
BUG: There is a loop-hole if the FPS exceed the maximum duration of the exhibit.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

r4wb1t5 2005.08.27 documentation in OFW database

r4wb1t5 2005.08.27 documentation in OFW database

TXT Composed 2008.12.09 – jon.satrom


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