Saturday, May 2, 2009

Co-Modify Begins May 3, by An Xiao

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Photo by superciliousness on Flickr

This past week has been quite a whirlwind, with 42 performers signing up, with companies as diverse as Twinings tea and Windows Vista, on social networks like blogger, Twitter, Facebook and even OkCupid. Before the performance officially begins, I wanted to pass along four thoughts before we start:
1. Add each other. What I learned from Project I is that public art in social media is only effective insofar as we're all connected. So check out the links to each other's Twitters and Jaikus and Blogs and add each other on Facebook (be sure to introduce yourself!) to see the performance in action. This is open source art in action, spread out from Riverside, CA to Toms River, NJ, to Helsinki, Finland to Westbury, Tasmania. We are librarians and art critics and painters and office workers and dads and moms. So be sure to check out the final list.

2. Be creative! Use lots of pictures, puns and imagery. Change your background image, change your profile picture, update your bio. Of course, not everything you do online has to be part of the performance; do what you think makes sense for your company and your sponsorship. Look through your spam folder. Look at ads, in magazines, on the streets, in your Gmail account and social networks. This is a free-form statusing, and there's so much potential here. I'm thrilled to see what comes up. (One I'm looking forward to: @raggedj is a bald guy, and he's being sponsored by "Aussie: Strong Hold & Touchable Soft Hair"!) This is open source art, and whether you identify as an artist or not, you're doing art. So have fun with it :)

3. Document your performance. Like any performance, Co-Modify is going to be fleeting and fun, but since it's entirely on social networks, it's a little easier to document. Be sure to make liberal use of screenshots and the copy and paste function. Our steering committee is going to be blogging May 4 - 9 right here, but there are only six of us and 40 of you. Do something you felt was particularly creative? See someone else's performance in action? If you did, take a screenshot and upload it to Or, email it to Or, send an @reply or DM to @platea on Twitter or to one of our SC members. Catch our attention, and we'll try to blog about it. Or, like neene is doing, set up your own Tumblr where everything will feed to.

4. Read this great article by Farhad Manjoo in Slate for inspiration. It just came out and couldn't be better timed: "Why would Google want a social network? To get to know you better—and, thus, to serve you more profitable ads."

Se o Google dominasse o mundo, terĂ­amos Google Bus AdSense!
Photo by Daniel F. Pigatto on Flickr.

Frequently Asked Questions
I've had a few common questions come my way that I thought I'd address:
Is there a hashtag for this?

Nope, not at all. This is a subversive art project, and using a hashtag would alter the effect. However, feel free to set up your own hashtag for your company.

Do I have to mention my sponsor any time I update my Twitter/Facebook/etc.?

That's up to you and the level of sponsorship you've received. Tiger Woods almost always wears his Nike hat, but Keira Knightley doesn't always wear Chanel.

Can I [insert interesting idea here]?

Yes, yes and yes! This is a free-form online performance, not a structured Shakespeare play. Anything's game. We're trying to keep the blog family friendly, but your performance is your performance. As with The Great Yawn, I'm interested in seeing how it all comes together, everything from the very literal to the highly imaginative. Call it Art 2.0--art that's crowd-sourced and crowd-created.

The Steering Committee

And now, I'm pleased to introduce our amazing Steering Committee, who've put in a ton of work to help launch Co-Modify. The SC and I are going to be fanning out each day and documenting and highlighting the performance. Be sure to reach out to them and ensure at least one of them (or me) is following your performance. We'll be doing our best to catch all the cool things going in the coming week.

Courtney Bryan (Canyon, TX)
Brought to you by Burt's Bees
Courtney will be managing our Facebook group throughout the week and documenting the performance. She's an artist, printmaker and graphic designer. Follow Courtney on Twitter at @printgirl08.

Ingrid Murnane (Portsmouth, UK)
Brought to you by Sirdar Knitting Company
Ingrid's doing everything from promoting to blogging to documenting the performance to gathering names and links. She calls herself a "Maker of things, textile artist, craft skills researcher and teacher, museum interpreter and writer." Follow Ingrid on Twitter at @innym.

Edgar Roldan (Riverside, CA)
Brought to you by Honda
Edgar contributed his Honda sponsorship photo for our publicity images and gathered and updated all the different performance links. He'll be blogging and documenting the performance throughout the week. He describes himself as a "Middle class guy who loves Technology, music, automobile, art, and sports." Follow Edgar on Twitter at @eroldan.

Jennifer Ng (Lugano, Switzerland)
Brought to you by Pringles
Jennifer's been helping promote the event and will be blogging and documenting the performance during the week. She's a "By-product of gig-based economy. Trained for museum work, but making a living as blogger, web editor, freelance translator and writer. " Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @jenniferwyng.

Joanie San Chirico (Toms River, NJ)
Brought to you by Target
Joanie's been promoting the event and drumming up interest amongst arts blogs and will be blogging and documenting the performance. She's an all-around artist and arts aficionado, a "painter, photographer, textile artist, curator, multi-tasker." Follow Joanie on Twitter at @joanie_s_c.

Sarah Timson (Livonia, MI)
Brought to you by Diet Coke
Sarah contributed her Diet Coke sponsorship photo for our publicity images, and she'll be documenting the performance this week. In true status update-format, she tells me she "is still trying to figure herself out". Follow Sarah on Twitter at @sheepwithblogs.

Let's Do This!
Alright folks, T-1 day till the performance begins. Let's do this!


  1. Think for myself at least wil try puting everyone in a seperate subdirectory in my brower's "bookmarks". Hoping that works.

  2. Well I was just outed by a curator on Facebook. Now I really love this curator so I won't disparage her, I am going to ignore that and see if I can redevelop steam. Nice conversation coming up around this though...

  3. @remaerdyaD - Great idea. Thanks for sharing it on Twitter too.

    @rubaiyat - Would love to hear more about the conversation and how people are responding to your sponsorship.

    @kid Neutrino - You're welcome to join us!

  4. I'm having a couple of issues with LJ and can't make public posts there for the moment.

    I've had an idle Tumblr acc (tbh i'm still learning how to feed stuff to it) and am going to use that for the rest of the week instead.

    Sorry to be a pain...

  5. Not a problem - have updated the link!