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Everyone Likes to be a Judge: ART or NOT (Make it a Fun Holiday Game)

Go on, you know you want to pass judgement

If you’re familiar with David Fincher‘s, The Social Network, adapted from The Accidental Millionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal, you may remember the scene where Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, creates Facemash in one evening. [If you’re not familiar with the movie, click on Facemash to learn more about it.] Although comparing women’s level of attractiveness is rather offensive (to many, not all), people do this everyday (yes, break out your Malcolm Gladwell). People are critical especially when there’s a high level of anonymity to the judgement.

OKFocus created ART or NOT, which is a way for you to rate whether something is art or not. Quite honestly, it was challenging for me to rate anything because much of the art experience depends on context. The environment and space around a work is just as important. Or, is it? With so many works of art across disciplines and mediums, anything is art. Right? Well, here’s your chance to pass judgement. ART or NOT allows you to rate works (or non-works) and see what percentage of the population believed whether it was art or not. You will find, soon enough, that you question what you believe and perceive as art. Quite the mental exercise if you ask me. Make it a family activity, if you want to avoid the awkward obligatory holiday conversation, this will definitely be a good discussion topic. Enjoy!

Lastly, Happy Holidays to you! 🙂

By Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina American writer, artist, and educator whose academic and research interests include feminist media histories, critical medical anthropology, technology, race, and ethics. She is a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow. She received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco. Her work as been exhibited at Ars Electronica, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the GLBT Historical Society.

Her writing appears in art21, Art in America, Ars Technica, Hyperallergic, Rhizome, Vice Motherboard, and SF MOMA’s Open Space. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture. She is a co-founder of REFRESH, a politically-engaged art and curatorial collective and serves as the Executive Director for the Processing Foundation.

2 replies on “Everyone Likes to be a Judge: ART or NOT (Make it a Fun Holiday Game)”

I agree with you, Dorothy. You say ~Quite honestly, it was challenging for me to rate anything because much of the art experience depends on context.~

Sitting here in a living room (any room anywhere) and experiencing the Twitter Map piece, I find myself already mesmerized by my own personal Twitter experience of the day (see and so I was impressed, ready even to accept the Twitter Map piece as Art. I think of Acid Jazz and my exposure to it in the early ’90s. I then think of the inclusion of ambient urban noises (children, traffic) as part of the music. Without the casing of ‘song’, one might not think of ambient urban noise as music.

Context in this way imposes focus for a counter impression. Think of how the letter W to Americans (and the World) would mean less before 1999 or how the letter X is now associated for so many with the life of Malcolm X. You say it softly. I say, context is everything. Love the post, Dorothy. Expecting great things for you in 2012.

The funny thing is, I write critically about art but the art I write about is typically because it’s presented specifically as art. ART or NOT actually made me wonder what my ideas of art actually are. Your reflection regarding music and the very wording, “without the casing of ‘song'” speaks to the way many people view and experience art. This is what is so exciting and amazing about contemporary art but it’s about discussing and having a constant dialogue about art. I’m incredibly happy for your engagement. 🙂 Thank you!

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