Commentary: Crowdsourcing creativity at the cinema

Laura Sydell, NPR News, 4/9/13

These days, if they can't find a producer to fund their latest film, a lot of artists turn to crowdsourcing to raise money for production. But here's a new twist: a project headed up by director Ron Howard that is crowdsourcing the inspiration. Canon approached Howard about heading up Project Imaginat10n and the idea was to get people to contribute photos that would be used as the inspiration for five short films. Howard and his staff got thousands of entries and whittled them down; a group of five directors narrowed them further. All of the directors [are] first-timers -- among them actors Jamie Foxx and Eva Longoria [and] Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter. Stone says the method he's using to make his film fits in with the ways he hoped social media would change the world. He thinks photo-sharing sites like Flickr and Instagram are proving you don't have to be a professional to be an artist. Stone and other social-media entrepreneurs are a threat, in some ways, to the traditional Hollywood model. Nick Childs, a filmmaker and creative director at the PR/marketing firm Fleishman-Hillard, says audiences are no longer content to sit around waiting for the next movie by their favorite director with their favorite star. He says there's a lot of pressure to involve audiences -- but it can go too far. "Suddenly you're pleasing so many different people, or there's so many pieces trying to be told, that you're not doing the work that a movie needs, which is a discrete viewpoint. [An artist makes] decisions to do this, not that ... not everything for everyone."  Howard says he has been amazed at the creativity being unleased online. He thinks Hollywood shouldn't ignore it. "I think it's an absolute movement, and I think the people who don't embrace it are kind of not paying attention.  Because when you look at the Internet and you look at the democratization of creativity -- look what people are capable of creating!"


Commentary: A crowdsourced dance piece is a standout for Minneapolis ballet

Rob Hubbard, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/5/13

Crowdsourcing is an increasingly common catchword for accomplishing something with contributions from a disparate collection of people who might be linked only via the Internet. But who would think to create a dance piece that way? Well, James Sewell would. Since last fall, the Minneapolis-based choreographer has been asking visitors to his company's studio, performances and other events to create a movement, gesture or even a brief dance sequence and allow themselves to be videotaped doing it. And now he's taken dozens of these dance moves and shaped them into a piece called, appropriately enough, "Your Move." It's the finale of James Sewell Ballet's spring program, which opened at Minneapolis' Cowles Center on April 5. And what could have been a tossed-together collage with little coherence was instead a captivating piece of work, imaginatively assembled by Sewell and expertly performed by his company's seven dancers. It topped off a very satisfying program in which a vintage Sewell work received an update and a solo work was premiered.  But the work that will linger longest in my memory is "Your Move." Videos of local folk demonstrating their dance moves are projected above and behind the dancers, but what starts out playful takes on a dark, hypnotic urgency, thanks in part to composer Bill Ryan's increasingly conflicted soundtrack. The tone becomes one of mourning moments lost in a powerful center section, but regains its exuberance as the dancers flip, flop and fly through the finale.


Commentary: Using crowdsourced music at a concert to save a Dutch orchestra

Igor Beuker, Viral Blog, 4/9/13

The Dutch government is cutting costs due to the crisis and art and culture are being hit very hard. Professional artists and musicians are being forced to be more pro-active and to commercialize their future activities to survive. The Metropole Orchestra teamed up with Havas Worldwide in Amsterdam and together they invented the Metropole Tweetphony. Tweetphony, [allowed] Twitter users from around the world to tweet their own 140 character composition to have it added to other crowdsourced compositions and played out in near-real-time. The brand and business objectives might seem pretty clear: Getting more people to buy concert tickets. We have seen Twitter Radio stations and Twitter Jockeys - aka "TJs" -- already, but this one was new to me. [You can watch a video here about the Metropole Tweetphony.] How does Tweetphony work? In a crowd-composed concert, they asked people to let the orchestra play via Twitter. Literally. Tweetphony was a symphony of music compositions created entirely of tweets based on the letters associated with notes. By accessing a special campaign site, which makes use of a digital piano interface, participants could compose music and listen to other musical tweets. The entire concert was streamed live and a video of each Tweetphony was immediately sent back to its composer. To artists and musicians that are being cut on subsidy, I would like to say: It does not have to be the end of your passionate era. It might be the start of a new one.


Commentary: "Shared creativity is people glue," connecting the world through art

Sheron Long, Oh I See blog, 3/14/13

Shared creativity has been a theme of my life, a great way to stay connected with others. So, when I heard about the Virtual Sunset, created by Studio Tobias Klein, I was intrigued. In a three-year project, Tobias Klein is creating the first crowd-sourced choreographed global sunset. It relies on the compilation of sunset images uploaded to his site by people around the world. Visit Virtual Sunset to see the collection thus far (and add your own). Klein digitally stores these sunset images, geolocated by time and place. [He's created a physical exhibition of these images, hanging] three kilometers of silicone translucent tubing in strips from a rig on the ceiling. He then projects the images in real time onto the tubing. The installation first appeared at London's Victoria & Albert Museum [and was recently] on display at the Industry Gallery in Washington, DC. At the Industry Gallery, projections from one side of the room [showed] the actual sunset from DC, while those from the other side show a composite of the crowd-sourced images from the global collection in real time. For example, the sunset taken in France at 7pm shows up in the projection at 1pm in DC. Each future installation will vary based on its physical location and the sunset images that continue to populate the collection. Meandering through the tubing in the Virtual Sunset invites you to sense the power of creative collaboration. Shared creativity is people glue. Even when you don't know the other people with whom you share your creative expression, you're connected to them in the moment. Together with the Virtual Sunset team and galleries, those of us who participated in this project made something bigger than ourselves. Find the thrill of shared creativity in one of these [other] crowdsourcing projects or read "Creative Ideas: Dishes Feed a Community Art Project."


FROM TC: If you're interested in reading even more about crowdsourcing creativity,  has tagged a number of stories on this topic.

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