“It can collide with mainstream culture but also exist deeper in the networked shadows, in accordance to the needs of whoever participates at any given time. It is creativity with a radical edge, asking questions through peer engagement, as it loosens up infrastructural ties and frameworks. It is a contemporary way of collaborating and exploiting the advantages of living in the Internet age.”
Inspired by the above quote from Garrett, we aimed to pursue his interpretation of D.I.W.O. in the most literal sense.
For our project, we decided to collaboratively produce a simple piece of artwork with an Internet audience. The mechanics of our project was simple: starting with a blank canvas, our Instagram viewers will – through a series of votes on our account – choose what is the next item for us to draw.
The voting between 2 simple choices – examples included “moon or sun”, “sand or grass” – could only be done via Instagram. This in turn meant only those viewing that Instagram account at that point in time were able to participate. We were literally “asking questions through peer engagement”, with the final artwork created being “in accordance to the needs of whoever participated at any given time”.
With Instagram being arguably the most influential social media platform for millennials right now, it is the most “contemporary way of collaborating and exploiting the advantages of living in the Internet age.”
As the voting progressed, we realised that while we have ceded the decision making to the voters, we still retained a large amount of creative control of what was actually drawn.
For instance, while the voters might have decided on “moon” instead of “sun”, there were many ways we – as the artist – could have interpreted this. While we eventually drew a simple crescent moon in the sky, ideas brainstormed along the way included using the surface of the moon as the setting for our artwork; drawing a rocket on its way to the moon; and even aliens.
That prompted us to realise this effort was truly collaborative in the spirit of Garrett as it has flipped art making on its head. Whereas traditional art making installed the artist at its head and with it – full autonomy and control – this project ceded the decision making to the audience.
Yoko Ono’s Conceptual Art Performance
While not to the same extent as Yoko Ono (her’s involved ceding total artistic and physical control), she remain motionless and the audience had the freedom to cut off as much cloths as they wish. I would argue that our project is more in line with the spirit of what Garret has described as it is more collaborative.
After all, D.I.W.O. stands for Do-It-With-Others, so it is imperative that the artist also has some artistic license and creative control. Otherwise, the artist would just be another cog in the machine producing exactly whatever was dictated of him, which would tragically be the very thing that inspired the emergence of D.I.W.O. in the first place.