Free Culture

Successful Open Source Art

Successful open source software projects tackle well-defined tasks
with a sense of shared purpose, good acceptance criteria and good
public rewards. Open source art projects need to be the same. Just
setting up a CVS server or studio and letting people walk in won’t get
anywhere (although such resources will be needed). A show theme, a
mural/installation/public art call or other focus is what is
required. And a good firewall to prevent trolls sabotaging the work.

A good example of a small but practical open source design
project is the SVG Flag repository.

SVG Flag Repository article

The flags are actually in the public domain. An equivalent artistic
project might be a library of motifs or graphical elements. Perhaps
colour schemes, compositions or compositional elements, images to be
modified or sampled. Set a theme each month and let people vote for
the best.

Themes for the Linux desktop projects are open source, and are the
contemporary equivalent of religious art or of still lifes. Religious
art because they are icons of faith (work). Still lifes
because they are objects of regard and show absent wealth
(information). This, rather than the backward “art museums need
something to fill them” of gallery art is the art of the future, but
its Sistine Chapel Ceiling is some way off yet.