mnartists.org Community Manager Colin Rusch creates a collection of work using the search function and some help from his friends.
In the last month mnartists.org has reached a few milestones. We passed 4500 artists registered (now over 4600) and 22,000 art works on the site. And for the first time this April we had more than 30,000 visitors in a single month (that is over 1000 people a day). A good friend of mine, David, likes to say, "More is more." We have more artists and content than any other self-generated web site for artists. The only downside is that with so much to choose from, finding something specific can be difficult.
In light of the deep content on mnartists.org, the search function on the site was the perfect tool for creating our next featured collection. The recent announcement of Google's impending IPO seemed timely in this regard. But, the irony of that news on the eve of traditional a Communist holiday, May Day, was not lost on me. So, I decided to make the creation of the collection a community effort.
As an artist devoted to improvisation, I am constantly in the position of making choices on the fly. Often improvisational dance artists work with a score, or set of rules, to create a performance. I created a simple score to create this collection.
1. Email fifteen friends and ask them to send three words that start with the letter "C."
2. Search under each of the words.
3. From the first ten results pick work for this collection.
4. Choose only work that immediately conveys a sense of "aliveness."
5. Include the word the piece was found under as a comment in the collection.
Fourteen of my friends responded (not so bad) within a day. I then searched under each of those words. The results included artists, art works, news items, reviews, resources, etc...
The tricky part is the bit about aliveness. Through my work in the arts I have become convinced that, as artists, the commodity we trade is "aliveness," our life force shaped in particular ways to convey the specificity of what we find important, meaningful, and aesthetically satisfying. When we create things well the aliveness or life force comes through the work clearly and powerfully. I chose pieces of content based on this idea. Whether it was a news item, review, painting, or an artist, the pieces included in this collection carried the life force of the creator's intention directly. Sometimes that was an informational intention like an Opportunity and Deadlines listing or a news item. Sometimes it was an artist who just wanted to get started on their profile. The intention came through as a work record with just a title and no media files. And other times it was just plain pretty pictures. Currently, the pieces are in the order in which I chose them. Each week this month I will make a new arrangement to highlight different aspects of the work in relation to the other pieces. Watch for it on Mondays.
Obviously, my preferences differ from most people's. So, given my intention to make this a community endeavor, I will publish any collection based on the above score that has at least 20 works as a featured collection with mine. The featured collections will be displayed on the home page at random by the mnartists.org server. To include your collection, email a link for the collection to email@example.com. In case you want to use words from my friends, they are listed below. Happy searching!
May 6, 2004 - Minneapolis, MN
Community Manager, mnartists.org
Week One Frame - Chronology
Work was presented in the order it was chosen for the collection.
Week Two Frame - Red, Yellow, or Blue
These decisions were based on my initial reaction to which color the work related to most directly for me. The work is organized by color: red first, yellow second, and blue last. The order within each color is the reverse of its order in the first week of the collection, i.e. Gladys Beltran's, The Red Quilt 2 - La Manta Roja 2 was the last work in the collection and is the first work in the red category.
The Red Quilt 2 - La Manta Roja 2, Gladys Beltran through Dance Review: Hijack’s 10th Anniversary Shows
Ecchy Homo, James F. Cleary through Stephen Rife
Gone Fission, James F. Cleary through Vampire Bunny, Robert Cavey
Week Three Frame - Reverse Alphabetical
Growing up I was always at the end of the roster in school. This collection gives me an opportunity to champion the end of the alphabet. The works are listed in reverse alphabetical order... pretty much. Titles that start with, "The" are included in the "T's." Also, artists are listed under their first name. In short, whatever text is listed for an entry is taken at face value.
Week Four Frame - Square, Circle, Triangle
Like Week Two these decisions were based on my initial reaction to which shape the work related to most directly for me. The collection is organized by shape: square first, circle second, and triangle last. The order within each shape is the reverse of its order in the third week.
Robert Meier's 4th Floor Hallway, The Great Northern through Lori Tews's White Parament Set
Naomi Savolainen's 1045 Blue sponge coral through Jaime Kleiman's What Is a Minnesota Artist?: Results of the Meeting
Franz Kamin's Aleatoric Systemic Reactory Bulletin 1 (ASRB1) through Todd Bruse's Waking Virginia: Life is a Dream
Original Words Searched