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Assignment 11: Interactive Art (Deck Article) – Jodi Kiefer


Deck, Andy C. (1999) “In Search of Meaningful Events: Curatorial Algorithms and Malleable Aesthetics.” In D. Bearman & J. Trant (Eds.), Museums and the Web 1999, Archives & Museum Informatics, Pittsburgh, PA, available at:

Briefly discuss the following issues:

1. what did you find (articulate the answers in your own words)

1.1. interesting about the article?

I did not find this article interesting in the least.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

After reading the article, I’m still unclear as to the point the author was trying to make. It read like a Thesaurus was used to formulate each sentence. Whenever I started to comprehend what the author was saying or recognize flow within the statements, the subject would change.

2. what does the author mean by curatorial algorithms?

Criteria to monitor submissions by a user are encoded within the system. (i.e. Programming criteria to weed out “bad” art submissions within a program.)

3. what does the author mean by malleable aesthetics?

Aesthetics (system functionality, uses & data) are constantly changing depending on interests and preferences of the participants of the system.

4. what do you consider the main message of the article?

I can not come up with a concise message of the article because I was unable to interpret it myself. However, the author was expressing the struggle artists face being noticed on the Internet due to being outnumbered by advertising sponsored, venture capitalist websites.

5. Please comment on the following claim: “As an artist using the Internet, the question of how to involve people in meaningful events is paramount. Inspiring participation in something useful or fun, or enlightening is okay. But better still is orchestrating contributions to something good that lasts longer the event itself…”.

5.1. agree / disagree?

I disagree. Who is to say that participation in something useful, fun or enlightening won’t become a long-lasting contribution? Along the same lines, it is unclear how one would be able to determine what “something good that last longer than the event itself” is.

5.2. which are the personal consequences which you draw from this statement?

I believe that most people hold a desire to leave a lasting contribution on the world, however small it may be.

5.3. are the educational programs you are involved addressing this claim?

My Object-Oriented Analysis and Design class focuses on designing flexible and maintainable software for future renovations. This class (D,L,&C) has also touched on some lifelong learning principles and learning lasts longer than the event in which something is learned.

6. Please comment on the following claim: “Due to the manipulative capacity of interactive systems, designs should be open to revision and debate… The term “malleable aesthetics” as I mean it refers to the ability to accumulate not only statements, or data, but also the structural changes brought by users of the system. Incompatible with forced enclosure, the purest forms of this category of production are licensed to assure that programming code remains in the public domain”.

6.1. agree / disagree?

I agree with this statement to a degree. I agree that some systems (not all) should be based on the open-system concept and provide open source code. This allows users to have control over the functionality and customization of the system. However, I believe that their should be some guidelines to insure that not only good programming principles are followed but also morals for the betterment of all are incorporated to prevent malicious use. Due to the complexity of implementing these guidelines leads me to believe, for security reasons, some systems should not be open-system based.

6.2. which are the personal consequences which you draw from this statement?

Open-systems require motivation by the user to contribute to the program. Although I have not had any experience with open source coding before, I am intrigued by it and believe that I will contribute in the future.

6.3. are the educational programs you are involved addressing this claim?

This class has discussed open-systems and the motivation behind such systems. We have also talked about meta-design.

7. Do you feel that the “Design, Learning, and Collaboration” course addresses these two claims?

Yes. See questions 5.3 and 6.3.

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