Artistic strategies of participatory culture

How does artistic experimentation with digital technologies lead to new understandings of participatory culture? And, how does a participatory digital culture affect our understanding ofdigital aesthetics and artistic practices?

‘Artistic strategies of participatory culture’ simultaneously addresses how artistic experimentation with digital technologies leads to new understandings of participatory culture, and how a participatory digital culture affects our understanding of digital aesthetics and artistic practices.

Information technology and networks have been game-changers in
cultural production. Traditionally, music, text, images, and so on have been produced by authors (writers, painters, etc.), and offered as works in shops and galleries. In network culture, they
are produced and exchanged collaboratively. Examples of this were seen a decade ago, in
the displacement of the Encyclopaedia Britannica by Wikipedia, and the transformation of the music industry by file-sharing and remixing. Since then, services such as Spotify and platforms such as the iOS have tamed and commercialized this exchange-oriented culture. This suggests that web 2.0 and mobile media have subsumed part of the 1990s artistic and activist network culture.

The ‘Artistic strategies of participatory culture’ research theme addresses how artists and activists today innovatively address the commercialization of exchange-oriented culture, its pitfalls and opportunities. In this, the theme seeks to formulate new perspectives on the creative process, and the role of the cultural producer. Broadly, we will
ask what participation is as an on-going strategy for creativity, innovation, social engagement, and critique.

Theme activities are reflected in the following sub-areas and research questions:

Cultural production and distribution platforms: Participatory platforms for production and distribution, such as Amazon or Appstore, challenge traditional production and distribution platforms (publishers, record producers, etc.), but what are their politics, opportunities and constraints? How are they challenged by cultural producers? How do they affect cultural institutions (libraries, museums, etc.)?

Urban (h)activism: Digital network technologies suggest the idea of the smart and open city, which builds on participation as a driving force for innovation, utility, and social sustainability. What is the history and nature of this cultural economy of ideas? How do urban activists and artists’ communities (DIY, hacktivists, etc.) challenge these ideas?

Computational cultures: When computers produce music, texts, or images, and when their encoding is a collaborative process, the nature of creativity, production, and distribution changes. How do creative communities of computer programmers form new paradigms of creativity, based on collective coding and notation practices?

Artistic methodologies:  Participatory culture is increasingly obsessed with information and knowledge production that recognizes the importance of creativity (cognitive capitalism). What might academic research reveal about artistic strategies? How does research benefit from artistic strategies’ emphasis on social relations and interrelations of knowledge production, and self-organization?