More on the Rhizome 2007-2008 Commissions, from the comments:
The part of your post that bothered me was where you talked about ShiftSpace. This is a great project. The trend of Web 2.0 has been to wrest order from the chaos of the early web; ShiftSpace is a project that intends to re-inject this spirit of anarchy. For example, the comment criticizing your writing ("how long has your criticism sucked") was removed from this page; ShiftSpace would allow this comment to remain on the page for other users to see. It could be read as a critique of the increasingly moderated Wikipedia, and it's attempt at "authoritativeness"; it's infused with nostalgia for the early web when people produced their own messy pages instead of buying into the myspace prefab system; it's a classic example of a "not just art" project. [...]
- anonymous (guest) 6-24-2007 7:28 pm

With much of this art the proposal is the work. Once you've come up with your sentence explaining the tech innovation and how it benefits others you're done.


The comment criticizing my writing ("how long has your criticism sucked") was fictional. [...] You assumed it was real and I deleted it--interesting.
-tom moody [6-24-2007 8:03 pm, 6-24-2007 8:13 pm]

I would agree that "the proposal is the work" if I wasn't aware of how many artists do a terrible job of writing about their work. Those sentences usually end up being a pale reflection of the work. [...]
- anonymous (guest) 6-24-2007 8:32 pm

The goals of ShiftSpace do indeed sound worthwhile and noble but I have to confess I'm not very interested in art as sociopolitical activism, especially when the success of the project is presumed in the proposal.

I'm as concerned as the next person about the constrictions of these social networking sites but feel the way to approach them is to go elsewhere, and if there's no elsewhere then lobby for more elsewhere.

It feels like a contradiction to apply for a grant to an institution so you can be an anarchist, especially when the steps of your anarchy are carefully planned out and result in another ordered system.
- tom moody 6-25-2007 8:51 am

(previous comment self-edited for tone, substance--ShiftSpace would reveal my first draft--great)
- tom moody 6-25-2007 8:53 am

- tom moody 6-25-2007 6:00 pm

Mark Daggett was working on the same idea a couple years ago. From his Rhizome account: "The "Balance Bar" is a easy to use browser extension programmed to allow any user to editorialize any web page anywhere on the Internet. Once you have an account (which is free) you can use the "Balance Bar" to literally insert your comments/article/ ..."
- paul (guest) 6-25-2007 8:14 pm

Some of these proposals sound more like editorials. You think Wikipedia is too authoritarian so you visualize a software to de-authoritarianize it and request funding. The announcement that you got the grant is way to express your beef and that's the last anybody hears of it.
- tom moody 6-25-2007 10:07 pm

There have been heaps of such "edit any web page" projects in the 1990s, one of them being, others were plugin based, for IE at that time. Don't remember how they were called. In one i was able to draw on web pages even, that was fun.

They all got taken down coz for example BMW didn't like that somebody wrote on that their new car has shitty electronics and costs too much. All the additions to web pages were centrally hosted by the plugin developers, so it was easy to bust them all, and they had way too much traffic and didn't go as far as inserting ads into any web page to make a profit. If they would have done so they would have been kicked out of business even earlier.

As long as such projects are not organized with decentralized data hosting on client machines, they are bound to fail.

Also Web Pages are already "open source", you can copy them and change the code and host the copy on your own computer. Just like with Firefox!
- drx (guest) 6-26-2007 8:10 pm

Thanks for the historical perspective. Mostly what I had was a gut instinct that this was a familiar and not terribly workable idea.
- tom moody 6-26-2007 8:29 pm

a lot of ad/malware uses a similar concept, they just don't let you edit what's added to the pages.
- paul (guest) 6-26-2007 8:51 pm

The coolest one was "Third Voice", that generated the most buzz and lasted quite long!

- drx (guest) 6-27-2007 10:10 am

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