Brooklyn artist David Horvitz has been driving out to west coast landmarks and photographing himself as a lone, strange figure in the otherwise unremarkable photograph. He then uploads the photo to the landmark’s Wikipedia entry. As Flavorwire points out, this has provoked a bit of controversy.
The artist explains his project in full over at Rhizome, and documents Wikipedia’s editorial changes. This is a fascinating look at how an open or unbiased site can fail once the right pin deflates its purported neutrality. (Nothing new; one look at the edits behind “Gaza strip” reflect similar pain points.) My friend Alan Gilbert mentioned a kind of antecedent in Flarf poetry, which is more about taking the art from inside the internet outside. I suppose this would be, what? Dropping it back in?
I suppose what interests me most is looking at this as digital graffiti, in the sense of graffiti’s place in the early 1980’s. Who will be the Basquiat who validates the entire medium? The New Museum has been championing jpeg artists, but the pieces I’ve seen have been awkwardly staged IRL, and lose a good 90% of their power. Whereas Horvitz’s photographs have a real urgency to them because of their tangled medium/message execution.
What do you think? Have you seen other examples of internet art in unwelcome places? I would count the satirical reviews of the three wolf moon t-shirt on Amazon, since that’s some of the best humor writing I read in 2009.