Popular blogger Jason Kottke takes the bizarre position Friday that the group image blog FFFFOUND! represents the successful democratization of the web and a new form of art curating. Considering Kottke spends most the day selecting from the net himself, I find it odd he would think any mass curation tool overly effective when most things managed by crowds are mediocre. Underscoring this point, the first two masterpieces I saw on FFFOUND! — Creepy Hands Kid, and a woman posing in her underwear — [pictured above] exemplify images that have had the title art applied to them willie nillie. Nasty Nets, a group
art blog, where art sometimes occurs, also provides a good example of how too many voices can water down the content of merit. To wit, Damon Zucconi‘s post highlighting giant cell phone lodged in a car, certainly goes a long way in testing the notion that the Internet flattens heirarchy.
Kottke takes the concept of art curating further however, going on to observe,
In the case of FFFFOUND! and other RCOPIWSs, I would argue that these sites showcase a new form of art curating. The pace is faster, you don’t need a physical gallery or museum, and you don’t need to worry about crossing arbitrary boundaries of style or media. Nor do you need to concern yourself with questions like “is this person an artist or an outsider artist?” If a particular piece is good or compelling or noteworthy, in it goes.
I hate to be the party pooper on this Internet celebration parade, but one of the problems with this kind of curating lies precisely in the fact that very little background information is ever provided. I don’t always require it mind you, but it is useful to know the historical background on posted images, and the general background a reader might find from wikipedia isn’t necessarily sufficient. While I like the fact that art may reach more people via blogs and websites, you’re never going to convince me that there is an arbitrariness to the boundaries of style and media. I’ve seen enough bad design in the Fine Art World, and easy art championed by culture lovers, to be able to say with some certainty that the skill sets are not as transferable as they are made out to be.