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Responses to recent developments over at the National Security Agency (NSA), and growing concerns about privacy in general, point to our desire for a certain amount of control over our online activities. Crowdsourced artworks give users some authority, if even just a little, and the creators are usually transparent about how user participation gets tracked. Sometimes, that’s part of the fun. Following are some thoughts and observations on two recent crowdsourced sound works that provoke questions about virtual engagement.

Moniker for Light Light, “Do Not Touch” screenshot, 2013. Crowdsourced music video.
Created by the Amsterdam-based design and technology firm Moniker, the crowdsourced music video Do Not Touch (2013) was made to accompany “Kilo,” a song by the European band Light Light. “After 50 years of pointing and clicking,” says the website, “we are celebrating the nearing end of the computer cursor with an ever-changing music video where all our cursors can be seen together for one last time.” Upon clicking the play button, the viewer is presented with a frenetically moving mass of arrow cursors, representing the users who participated in the video’s creation. Text at the top of the screen shows the instructions they received on how to move their cursors, reading for instance, “Catch the Dot” or “Stay in the Green Zone.” When presented with a map, users were given questions like “Where are you from?” and “Where would you like to go?”

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Crowdsourced Beats
art 21
Online
August 30, 2013

art21 July / August 2013 Issue // "Networks" // Blogger-in-Residency