Micro-Project 2 – Crowd-Sourced Art

“Survey with one question”  

A crowd-sourced work about crowd-sourcing (with Ayesha and June)

We sent out a message on all the relevant group chats on Whatsapp and Telegram with our friends and classmates, asking them to help us complete an anonymous Google Forms survey that required of them to answer only one question. The survey was postulated to be accepting responses for only 5 minutes since it was set up (7:03PM-7:08PM), while we continued to collect responses past that window. Respondents are allowed to view the responses of other participants after completion of the survey, allowing them to compare their own guesses/expectations with the actual numbers of participation in real-time, as well as the responses of other participants who might share similar or vastly different expectations of the survey’s participation rate. A catch of the survey was that participants were not allowed to edit their responses after viewing others’. In this sense, the nature of social interaction allowed within the work is given a layer of complexity; participants are able to view the reactions of others, but not allowed to react (or express their reactions) to them.

Responses to the message were mixed. Some expressed confusion, others expressed interest, while there were also those eager to convey that they had participated in the survey (and the 77 other participants who did not).

Data collected:

Responses at the end of the 5min window, 24/1/2019, 7:08PM. These results can be viewed by respondents after completion of the survey.
Responses climbed from 23 to 65, almost 3 hours after the 5min window, 24/1/2019, 9:54PM.
Responses as of 30/1/2019, 8:22AM.

We didn’t specify or limit the range of numbers that respondents could give nor give them context to the number or profile of people that the survey was sent out to. Giving our participants this freedom in answering the survey allowed us to collect responses that reflected the individual’s attitudes in participation; some responses were clearly thought out and reflected the respondent’s desire and attempt to get the best estimate, while others reflected a lack of seriousness and jokester attitude with purposely exaggerated responses. I thought this to be an important part of the work: capturing not just participation (and non-participation), but also the nature of participation captured.

Summary of data collected. People continued to respond to the survey even after the postulated 5min window [yellow highlight] was over and some even responded the next day [blue highlight]. A range of responses were given, showing how people had great/little faith in others’ receptiveness to participation. There were also null responses [orange highlights]- possibly by people who were confused or thought the question to be meaningless. The exaggerated jokester response [in red] contrasts with numbers like “357” and 41″ that show greater attempts at estimation.

The content of the work is the participation of the survey respondents themselves, with the data collected—both their question responses and participation timestamp—serving as tangible records of this.

In this work, we intended to explore the concept of participation. Frequently, we send out surveys to our friends and classmates on group chats asking them to help us out for school assignments. Receptiveness to such requests for participation vary: the messages are either ignored, postponed (and eventually forgotten) or given the attention desired (participation in the survey). A variety of factors affect the individual’s receptiveness/participation, including convenience, required time for completion, social/relational obligations (favour exchange) etc. We wanted to explore these factors and what drives participation; where there is no (appealing) incentive for participation, what makes people participate? From the data collected, people’s expectations of others’ receptiveness to participation (arguably conflated with kindness/helpfulness) are also revealed. The work is a discovery of our crowd-sourced community’s reception to participation for us, as much as it is for the participants themselves.

As opposed to a work created by a single artist/creator, this crowd-sourced work is much more dynamic and spontaneous in its creation process and outcome. We all had our own expectations of the number of responses (I wasn’t the most optimistic) that the survey would collect. Arguably, these expectations were a form of “control” over the work, and were relinquished with the unexpected data and participation rates that emerged from crowd-sourcing. It was rather refreshing to approach the concept of expectations (about participation) with the method of crowd-sourcing that rides on uncertainty and unexpected outcome.

Micro-Project 1- Creating the Third .

The (physical) space I chose to photograph is the corner with the hot water dispenser and cooler outside the drawing studio.  It’s always cold in ADM and it is the one place I find myself ever wanting to go within the school (at every chance of break between classes we get). I edited the image of the hot water dispenser a bit to reduce the tonal intensity of its red, to allude to the idea of it dispensing warmth to me upon my interaction with it. The picture is however also meant to refer to “spaces” in general that bring me warmth within the school: these include the spaces created by and offered to me from my friends, as well as physical ones I ascribe pleasant memories to.

Collage/tapestry of different spaces and times inhabited by others

The alternative virtual space created through the exercise was notably dynamic and expansive as opposed to static and confined, transforming in real-time by admitting cumulative spaces/times posted by my peers (most apparent from the ‘Recent’ page filter and its updates). While my photograph of the hot water dispenser captured only my perspective and connections with the space, the space “on/within/bound to” Instagram revealed those of others in relation to the same space.

Another person’s post on the same subject matter of the hot water dispenser, but with a different caption and personal connection with the space.
moontripping and zl.debyu both expressed personal connections they have with the hot water dispenser in ADM (moontripping through her photo post and zl.debyu in her comments and responses to our pictures)

The virtual space created was not only a tapestry of different spaces and times, but also of different spatial connections different people made with a single space. These spaces/spatial connections were expressed not only in the photographs posted but also in the comments and responses to one another’s posts. Individuated experiences and expressions of space piece together this space collectively created and shared. The project curiously embodies both the “DIY” and “DIWO” culture—its “DIWO” nature is based upon a “DIY” activity.  Perhaps this is my biggest takeaway from the exercise: that “DIWO” does not require individuals to occupy the same physical and psychological space, nor participate in the same activity/action; “Y” and “O” do not need to share an (explicit) interest in co-creation. A collective artwork/entity can be conceived in such an unintentional and spontaneous state.

Maybe any subject and its origin/creation process really, can be said to be a (continuously evolving) product of a “DIWO” culture and set of collective actions—so long as one chooses to view it from such a perspective. Alternatively we could re-evaluate the concept of “DIWO” and more strictly define what it means to do something with others. A stricter definition however, might deny/undermine the presence of others alongside individuals and the possible connections and relations between them, where they are not explicitly designed or observed to be so, and prevent us from discovering subjects as (beautiful) spontaneous and chance co-creations.