CryptoPuppers

https://twitter.com/IsDecal/status/1044900069693108229

CryptoPuppers (2018), blockchain-registered gold plated metal cast from 3D printed model, inkjet prints.

This new incarnation of Rob Myers’ classic work “Balloon Dog, Shareable Readymade”, originally commissioned by Furtherfield, comprises an edition of 1000 miniature gold balloon dog sculptures linked to the blockchain. Each handmade version of the 3D printed original is unique in its own way and functions as a non-fungible token.

“Balloon Dog” was originally created as an ephemeral digital file for 3D printing that anyone could use to re-democratise an icon of blue chip contemporary art. It was a post-scarcity commons approach to art that everyone and therefore no-one can own.

In contrast, this is a limited edition of luxurious physical instantiations of the artwork (each with its own own “certificate of inauthenticity” signed by the artist) anchored to the art historical world of provenance and ownership as well as blockchain verifiable value via Arteïa’s collection management system.

From post-scarcity abundance to artificial scarcity and provably rare digital ownership as a way to establish and protect the unique value of artworks. This is a provocation for artists and collectors to engage with new digital critical and financial value in contemporary artworks.

More details from DECAL.

Massive thanks to Dr. Charlotte Frost and Ruth Catlow of Furtherfield for making this happen.

Beg, Steal & Borrow

“Beg, Steal & Borrow – Artists Against Originality”, Robert Shore, 2017, ISBN 9781780679464

Buy here –

http://www.laurenceking.com/en/beg-steal-and-borrow-artists-against-originality/

Robert Shore’s excellent new book about artistic originality and appropriation art contains an installation image of my “Shareable Readymades” (models by Chris Webber & Bassam Kurdali, title by Charlotte Frost) at the 2016 show “Jerwood Encounters: Common Property”.

My lasting interest in art comes in no small part from endlessly re-reading a large Andy Warhol catalogue in art class at school. When I went to art school the indebtedness of art to its past and the creative potential of appropriation art and sampling made perfect sense to me. So “Beg, Steal & Borrow”‘s canon of art that follows Steve Job’s maxim about great artists is one I love and that I’m very pleased to see the Shareable Readymades in.

Urinal At Cabaret Voltaire

dada-3d-drucke-live

(Image via http://www.3d-model.ch/3d-druck-dada/ )

Cabaret Voltaire hosted an event to celebrate the centenary of Dada led by McKenzie Wark.

It featuring 3D printing including the Urinal:

http://www.makery.info/en/2016/02/05/hacktion-dada-data/

Afterwards a print of the Urinal showed up in the gift shop:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10207412269439235

Neterarti – Net Art Social Networking Freedom

neterarti-screnshot-marc

(Image via Marc Garrett)

https://neterarti.furtherfield.org/

Neterarti is Furtherfield‘s new social network for net artists based on the GNU social Free Software social network system. If you’re familiar with Twitter it’s very similar, and it’s easy to access via the web or desktop and mobile apps.

Sign up and start netting and arting!

The People’s Platform

The People’s Platform” (TPP) is a frustrating read. An anti-techno-utopian critique of the economics and politics of culture on the Internet, it contains much interesting research and some useful ideas but is hamstrung by a year zero activism approach to the history and current state of the struggle for liberty and sustainability in technology and media.

Year zero activism has two planks. Firstly, the situation has never been worse and only now are activists starting to tackle it. Secondly, anyone who may appear to have previously done so is actually part of the problem. Previous activism is at best ineffective and at worst exacerbatory, previous activists were tone deaf to or in reality made worse the very issues they sought to address.

In TPP this leads at times to an almost ‘pataphysical identity of opposites. Google and Wikipedia are both “open”. Chris Anderson and Richard Stallman both use the word “free”. The nadir of this approach comes later in the book when TPP is explaining the economic and thereby cultural harm of free culture and free software:

Cohen is highlighting a value that has long been central to any progressive movement: respect for labor. From this angle it’s clear that “copyleft”, as the free culture position on copyright is sometimes called, is not “left” in the traditional sense. As Richard Stallman told me, he designed copyleft to ensure the freedom of users to redistribute and modify copies of users to redistribute and modify copies of software. Freedom to tinker is the paramount value it promotes, but a left worthy of the name has to balance that concern with the demand for equality, for parity of wealth and power.

There’s no part of this that’s right.

Stallman’s creation of copyleft was a product of the political development of Free Software in reaction to the alienation of the products of hacker labour. It’s an answer to the property question, which is a question of the left “in the traditional sense”. It entails respect for labour, and ensures that workers can charge for and be paid for their labour.

Users who modify and “tinker” with software do so via programming, that is by working as programmers, by performing the labour of software development. Software developers are first of all software users. If you are not free to use software you are certainly not free to develop it. The same is true of cultural production, a point that TPP seems slightly more open to.

“Copyleft” is not a blanket term for free culture approaches to copyright, it is the name of a particular licensing approach that seeks to address the restrictions of copyright. There is no single free culture approach to copyright. There are copyright abolitionists, copyright libertarians, copyright socialists and those, like Stallman, for whom copyright’s ironisation by copyleft is a means to a political end.

Seeking to reduce free software and free culture to a progressive left wing movement rather than retain the nonpartisan approach that has seen their successes (or, as TPP would have it, has led to identity with their proprietary others) would undermine them. It’s classic entryism, finding a successful specific social cause to shame into attempting more general radical politics. It’s an approach that is doomed to failure.

And copyleft is precisely intended to equalise wealth and power in the use of software. You can share that wealth, and you cannot exert power over anyone else to prevent them from doing so as well. What you cannot do without breaking the effectiveness of copyleft, and what each new critic of copyleft is drawn to like a moth to a flame, is to yoke copyleft’s reflexive ironisation of copyright on software or cultural work to extraneous political objectives.

TPP continues:

Copyleft, with its narrow emphasis on software freedom, even when broadened to underscore the freedom of speech implications of such a position, offers a limited political response to entrenched systems of economic privilege, and it does not advance limits on profitability or promote fair compensation. Free culture, with its emphasis on access, does not necessarily lead to a more just social order.

Ignoring the slip from free software to free culture, the slip from social to economic justice, and the inaccurate characterization of free culture as emphasizing access, this is a political erasure. Free software and free culture may not have provided grossly coercive tools to the political left but they have, by TPP’s own explanation of their redistributive and deprivileging effects, led to a more just social order. And it requires precisely the ‘pataphysics of “free” and “open” that TPP develops to argue that they limit compensation but not profit.

Later, TPP calls for the development of more socialised alternatives to Web 2.0’s ad-driven surveillance model, and for the development of more equitable alternatives to unpaid cultural workers trying to live on whuffie while making Silicon Valley CEOS rich. I agree that this is vitally important. I’ve worked on several myself. I’ve seen creators paid, clients satisfied, citizens communicating, audiences enjoying media, with millions of dollars put into the cultural economy and tens of thousands of people engaged each month by projects I’ve been involved in. There is absolutely more work to do, but ignoring existing efforts or worse conflating them with the problems they exist to address will only ensure that this is always the case.

There is another key conclusion of TPP that I agree with wholeheartedly. We need a sustainable ecosystem for culture. That is, we need technological and economic systems that sustainably align consumption and production incentives with each other and with political and creative liberty. And state and corporate mechanisms for spreading risk absolutely have a part to play in this. But as blank media levies and the deep packet inspection consequences of the proposals of “Promises To Keep” show, this is a task that needs approaching with an insight and subtlety that both pro- and anti- free culture activists often lack.

In this sense at least TPP is not year zero, it is business as usual.

Monkeycoin

monkeycoin

Monkeycoin is the follow-up to Facecoin. It is a Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency that uses trying to write the complete works of Shakespeare as its proof of work. You can find out more here.

Surgical Strike – A Glitch And A Result

Hoops

Rotation Fail

F-117 Nighthawk Model by TheVNPrinter www.thingiverse.com/thing:255102 (CC-BY-SA).

Exploring Tate Art Open Data 1

This is the first in a series of posts examining Tate's excellent collection dataset available at http://www.tate.org.uk/about/our-work/digital/collection-data .

I've processed that dataset using code for Mongo DB and Node.js available at https://gitorious.org/robmyers/tate-data/ .

The R and R Markdown code for this series is available at https://gitorious.org/robmyers/tate-data-r/ .

This document has been produced using Knitr. Text in light grey boxes is R code or the output of that code.

Let's get started by loading the data.

source("../r/load_tate_data.r")

That file reads the comma separated value (csv) files containing information about the Tate's collection and generates some useful extra tables of information. Now we have everything in memory we can start examining the collection data.

Artists

What can we find out about artists in general?

summary(artist[c("name", "gender", "dates", "yearOfBirth", "yearOfDeath", "placeOfBirth", 
    "placeOfDeath")])
              name         gender                 dates     
 Bateman, James :   2         : 112   dates not known:  59  
 Doyle, John    :   2   Female: 521   born 1967      :  42  
 Hone, Nathaniel:   2   Male  :2894   born 1936      :  38  
 Peri, Peter    :   2                 born 1930      :  36  
 Stokes, Adrian :   2                 born 1938      :  36  
 Wilson, Richard:   2                 born 1941      :  34  
 (Other)        :3515                 (Other)        :3282  
  yearOfBirth    yearOfDeath                      placeOfBirth 
 Min.   :1497   Min.   :1543                            : 491  
 1st Qu.:1855   1st Qu.:1874   London, United Kingdom   : 446  
 Median :1910   Median :1944   Paris, France            :  57  
 Mean   :1887   Mean   :1920   Edinburgh, United Kingdom:  47  
 3rd Qu.:1941   3rd Qu.:1982   New York, United States  :  43  
 Max.   :2004   Max.   :2013   Glasgow, United Kingdom  :  35  
 NA's   :57     NA's   :1309   (Other)                  :2408  
                    placeOfDeath 
                          :2079  
 London, United Kingdom   : 442  
 Paris, France            :  82  
 New York, United States  :  45  
 Roma, Italia             :  22  
 Edinburgh, United Kingdom:  18  
 (Other)                  : 839  

There are more male than female artists, and the yBA and Pop generations lead the births.

Depending on whether we treat place of birth or place of death as more representative, London and Paris are ahead of New York or Edinburgh.

We can smooth out the birth and death dates by grouping them by decade or century.

summary(artist.birth.decade)
   Min. 1st Qu.  Median    Mean 3rd Qu.    Max.    NA's 
   1500    1860    1910    1890    1940    2000      57 
summary(artist.death.decade)
   Min. 1st Qu.  Median    Mean 3rd Qu.    Max.    NA's 
   1540    1870    1940    1920    1980    2010    1309 
sort(table(artist.birth.decade), decreasing = TRUE)
artist.birth.decade
1940 1930 1960 1920 1970 1900 1950 1910 1880 1890 1860 1870 1840 1780 1800 
 363  285  256  255  222  217  197  186  153  151  136  123   77   72   69 
1850 1820 1830 1980 1790 1810 1760 1770 1740 1750 1730 1700 1720 1710 1630 
  69   67   65   58   57   49   45   44   42   38   31   27   15   13   12 
1680 1640 1660 1600 1580 1590 1610 1650 1690 1620 1990 2000 1500 1530 1540 
  10    9    8    6    5    4    4    4    4    3    3    3    2    2    2 
1550 1560 1670 1570 
   2    2    2    1 

summary(artist.birth.century)
   Min. 1st Qu.  Median    Mean 3rd Qu.    Max.    NA's 
   1500    1900    1900    1890    1900    2000      57 
summary(artist.death.century)
   Min. 1st Qu.  Median    Mean 3rd Qu.    Max.    NA's 
   1500    1900    1900    1920    2000    2000    1309 
sort(table(artist.death.decade), decreasing = TRUE)
artist.death.decade
2000 1980 1960 1990 1970 1940 2010 1920 1930 1950 1900 1910 1840 1860 1880 
 224  191  172  157  140  131  112  102   92   89   80   69   59   59   54 
1850 1870 1890 1820 1830 1800 1810 1780 1790 1700 1760 1770 1750 1720 1730 
  53   49   49   46   44   42   40   24   23   15   14   12   10    7    7 
1740 1680 1710 1640 1690 1620 1650 1660 1570 1670 1600 1630 1540 
   7    6    6    5    5    4    4    4    3    3    2    2    1 

That's quite a different result from that suggested by the yearly results. Decade-wise, birth percentiles are clustered around the turn of the 20th century, deaths around the second world war. But the largest number of births are in the 1930s/1940s with the 1960s coming in second. The deaths look like they reflect the distribution of births, although it would be useful to confirm this statistically.

The maximim birth being in the 2000s doesn't mean that the Tate is collecting child artists, the birth data also includes the years that artist groups were started.

How well is gender represented in the collection?

table(artist.birth.decade, artist$gender)

artist.birth.decade     Female Male
               1500   1      0    1
               1530   1      0    1
               1540   0      0    2
               1550   0      0    2
               1560   0      0    2
               1570   0      0    1
               1580   0      0    5
               1590   1      0    3
               1600   3      0    3
               1610   1      0    3
               1620   0      0    3
               1630   0      1   11
               1640   0      0    9
               1650   0      0    4
               1660   0      0    8
               1670   1      0    1
               1680   0      0   10
               1690   0      0    4
               1700   4      1   22
               1710   0      0   13
               1720   0      1   14
               1730   0      0   31
               1740   1      1   40
               1750   0      3   35
               1760   0      1   44
               1770   0      1   43
               1780   1      5   66
               1790   1      0   56
               1800  10      0   59
               1810   0      2   47
               1820   0      1   66
               1830   1      6   58
               1840   0      5   72
               1850   0      2   67
               1860   1     10  125
               1870   0     15  108
               1880   4     23  126
               1890   4     18  129
               1900   8     38  171
               1910   3     37  146
               1920   2     33  220
               1930   4     38  243
               1940  12     62  289
               1950   2     40  155
               1960   6     77  173
               1970   8     70  144
               1980   3     21   34
               1990   2      0    1
               2000   2      0    1

table(artist.birth.century, artist$gender)

artist.birth.century      Female Male
                1500    2      0    5
                1600    5      1   44
                1700    6      4  157
                1800   13     24  576
                1900   39    293 1667
                2000   22    190  422

The first, unlabelled, column is for artists whose gender is not currently recorded in the data.

As we saw in the summary, there are more male artists than female artists in the Tate's collection. There is no decade or century in which this trend is reversed. The story is slightly different when we look at artistic movements.

Movements

The data for artists includes information on


Error in movements$movement.name : 
  $ operator is invalid for atomic vectors

artists movements. If we looked at the artwork data there might be more, but we'll stick with the artists for now.

summary(artist.movements[c("artist.fc", "artist.gender", "movement.era.name", 
    "movement.name")])
                       artist.fc   artist.gender
 Ben Nicholson OM           :  6         :  5   
 Dame Barbara Hepworth      :  5   Female: 27   
 Gilbert Soest              :  5   Male  :324   
 Joseph Beuys               :  5                
 Sir Peter Lely             :  5                
 British School 17th century:  4                
 (Other)                    :326                
              movement.era.name
 16th and 17th century : 47    
 18th century          : 27    
 19th century          : 63    
 20th century 1900-1945: 95    
 20th century post-1945:124    


                                 movement.name
 Performance Art                        : 14  
 Conceptual Art                         : 10  
 Netherlands-trained, working in Britain: 10  
 Constructivism                         :  9  
 Body Art                               :  8  
 British Surrealism                     :  8  
 (Other)                                :297  
summary(artist.movements$movement.era.name)
 16th and 17th century           18th century           19th century 
                    47                     27                     63 
20th century 1900-1945 20th century post-1945 
                    95                    124 
summary(artist.movements$movement.name)
                         Performance Art 
                                      14 
                          Conceptual Art 
                                      10 
 Netherlands-trained, working in Britain 
                                      10 
                          Constructivism 
                                       9 
                                Body Art 
                                       8 
                      British Surrealism 
                                       8 
                          St Ives School 
                                       8 
                         Victorian/Genre 
                                       8 
                    Abstraction-Création 
                                       7 
                         British War Art 
                                       7 
                                   Court 
                                       7 
                       Environmental Art 
                                       7 
                            Later Stuart 
                                       7 
                             Picturesque 
                                       7 
                              Surrealism 
                                       7 
                               Symbolism 
                                       7 
                              Abject art 
                                       6 
                                 Baroque 
                                       6 
                  British Constructivism 
                                       6 
                   British Impressionism 
                                       6 
                               Decadence 
                                       6 
                          Pre-Raphaelite 
                                       6 
                                Unit One 
                                       6 
                            Grand Manner 
                                       5 
                             Kinetic Art 
                                       5 
                                Land Art 
                                       5 
                              Minimalism 
                                       5 
                         Neo-Romanticism 
                                       5 
                                Tachisme 
                                       5 
                               Vorticism 
                                       5 
                      Aesthetic Movement 
                                       4 
                       Camden Town Group 
                                       4 
                      Conversation Piece 
                                       4 
                                  Cubism 
                                       4 
                            Feminist Art 
                                       4 
                        Geometry of Fear 
                                       4 
                       Neo-Expressionism 
                                       4 
                             Restoration 
                                       4 
                         Return to Order 
                                       4 
                          Seven and Five 
                                       4 
                                 Sublime 
                                       4 
                             British Pop 
                                       3 
              Civil War and Commonwealth 
                                       3 
                                    Dada 
                                       3 
                           Fancy Picture 
                                       3 
                           Fin de Siècle 
                                       3 
                           Impressionism 
                                       3 
                            London Group 
                                       3 
                    New English Art Club 
                                       3 
                      Post-Impressionism 
                                       3 
                                   Tudor 
                                       3 
             Young British Artists (YBA) 
                                       3 
                            Art Informel 
                                       2 
                             Art Nouveau 
                                       2 
                    Auto-Destructive art 
                                       2 
                          Direct Carving 
                                       2 
                      Euston Road School 
                                       2 
                          Neo-Classicism 
                                       2 
                          Neo-Plasticism 
                                       2 
                           Newlyn School 
                                       2 
                           New Sculpture 
                                       2 
                             Optical Art 
                                       2 
                                 Pop Art 
                                       2 
              Post Painterly Abstraction 
                                       2 
                                Regional 
                                       2 
                               Situation 
                                       2 
              Situationist International 
                                       2 
                  Abstract Expressionism 
                                       1 
                               Actionism 
                                       1 
                           Arte Nucleare 
                                       1 
                  Artist Placement Group 
                                       1 
       Artists International Association 
                                       1 
                                 Bauhaus 
                                       1 
                                   Cobra 
                                       1 
                        Der Blaue Reiter 
                                       1 
                                De Stijl 
                                       1 
                            Early Stuart 
                                       1 
English-born, working in the Netherlands 
                                       1 
                           Expressionism 
                                       1 
                                 Fauvism 
                                       1 
                                  Fluxus 
                                       1 
      French-trained, working in Britain 
                                       1 
                                Futurism 
                                       1 
                    German Expressionism 
                                       1 
                              Grand Tour 
                                       1 
                       Independent Group 
                                       1 
     Italian-trained, working in Britain 
                                       1 
                                    Merz 
                                       1 
                        Metaphysical Art 
                                       1 
                    Modern Moral Subject 
                                       1 
                          Modern Realism 
                                       1 
                       Neo-Impressionism 
                                       1 
                             Neue Wilden 
                                       1 
                   New British Sculpture 
                                       1 
                          Norwich School 
                                       1 
                        Nouveau Réalisme 
                                       1 
                             Orientalist 
                                       1 
                           Origine group 
                                       1 
                        Post-Reformation 
                                       1 
                                 (Other) 
                                       9 

The artists included in the most movements are some of the grand elders of British 20th Century art. Being in an art movement doesn't improve gender representation.

The most movements are post-1945. Performance art is more popular than Conceptual art, which is interesting given public discussion of state art funding in the UK. “Netherlands-trained, working in Britain” clearly isn't a movement, as with the birth dates the movement name field doesn't always describe a movement per se.

Let's break down gender by movement.

table(artist.movements$movement.era.name, artist.movements$artist.gender)

                             Female Male
  16th and 17th century    5      0   42
  18th century             0      0   27
  19th century             0      0   63
  20th century 1900-1945   0      9   86
  20th century post-1945   0     18  106
movement.gender <- table(artist.movements$movement.name, artist.movements$artist.gender)
movement.gender <- movement.gender[order(movement.gender[, 2], decreasing = TRUE), 
    ]
movement.gender[1:20, ]

                                Female Male
  Performance Art             0      5    9
  Feminist Art                0      4    0
  Abject art                  0      3    3
  Abstraction-Création        0      2    5
  Constructivism              0      2    7
  St Ives School              0      2    6
  Body Art                    0      1    7
  Camden Town Group           0      1    3
  Kinetic Art                 0      1    4
  Minimalism                  0      1    4
  Rayonism                    0      1    0
  Seven and Five              0      1    3
  Surrealism                  0      1    6
  Unit One                    0      1    5
  Young British Artists (YBA) 0      1    2
  Abstract Expressionism      0      0    1
  Actionism                   0      0    1
  Aesthetic Movement          0      0    4
  Arte Nucleare               0      0    1
  Art Informel                0      0    2

Representation improves slightly over time. Unsurprisingly, feminist art has more female than male artists represented. Abject art is a tie, and there are more than half as many female performance artists as male ones.

Artworks

There are


Error in eval(expr, envir, enclos) : object 'artwork.title' not found

artworks in the dataset.

summary(artwork[c("artist", "title", "dateText")])
                            artist                    title      
 Turner, Joseph Mallord William:39389   [title not known]: 3659  
 Jones, George                 : 1046   [blank]          : 3520  
 Moore, Henry, OM, CH          :  623   Blank            : 1995  
 Daniell, William              :  612   [no title]       : 1883  
 Beuys, Joseph                 :  578   Untitled         :  627  
 British (?) School            :  388   Mountains        :  540  
 (Other)                       :26493   (Other)          :56905  
           dateText    
 date not known: 5993  
 1819          : 2908  
 1801          : 1331  
 c.1830–41     : 1194  
 1833          : 1171  
 1831          : 1170  
 (Other)       :55362  
summary(artwork$year)
   Min. 1st Qu.  Median    Mean 3rd Qu.    Max.    NA's 
   1540    1820    1830    1870    1950    2010    5397 

JMW Turner has tens of thousands more works in the collection than the next nearest artist. Is this a glitch? No, it's due to the fact that the Tate holds the Turner Bequest of around 30,000 works on paper.

What are artworks titled? Usually Untitled, or simply no title. “Mountains” appears to be the most popular actual title, although if we stemmed or otherwise abstracted and clustered the titles other popular ones might emerge.

The most popular years for artworks are in the early 1800s. This, and possibly the titles, are again attributable to Turner. It would probably be productive to remove Turner's works on paper (or more simply just remove all Turner's works) from the dataset and try again, as his presence is clearly skewing the analysis.

Both artists and artworks have movements. Let's look at how artwork movements differ from artists.

summary(artwork.movements)
   artwork.id    
 Min.   :    22  
 1st Qu.:  6050  
 Median : 11496  
 Mean   : 21962  
 3rd Qu.: 21954  
 Max.   :114918  

                                                  artwork.title 
 [no title]                                              : 674  
 [title not known]                                       : 169  
 Untitled                                                : 116  
 Insertions into Ideological Circuits 2: Banknote Project:  54  
 Walking the Dog                                         :  39  
 Exquisite Corpse                                        :  37  
 (Other)                                                 :5894  
      year                   artwork.medium movement.era.id
 Min.   :1545   Screenprint on paper:1301   Min.   :  8    
 1st Qu.:1920   Oil paint on canvas :1113   1st Qu.:290    
 Median :1963   Lithograph on paper : 527   Median :415    
 Mean   :1936   Etching on paper    : 393   Mean   :327    
 3rd Qu.:1973   Graphite on paper   : 205   3rd Qu.:415    
 Max.   :2009   Bronze              : 113   Max.   :415    
 NA's   :303    (Other)             :3331                  
              movement.era.name  movement.id             movement.name 
 16th and 17th century : 177    Min.   :  293   British Pop     : 846  
 18th century          : 469    1st Qu.:  363   Conceptual Art  : 445  
 19th century          :1004    Median :  433   Pre-Raphaelite  : 405  
 20th century 1900-1945:1156    Mean   : 2421   St Ives School  : 400  
 20th century post-1945:4177    3rd Qu.: 1683   School of London: 373  
                                Max.   :18626   Neo-Classicism  : 310  
                                                (Other)         :4204  
summary(artwork.movements$movement.name)[1:20]
                British Pop              Conceptual Art 
                        846                         445 
             Pre-Raphaelite              St Ives School 
                        405                         400 
           School of London              Neo-Classicism 
                        373                         310 
                    Pop Art Young British Artists (YBA) 
                        246                         226 
          Independent Group              Constructivism 
                        178                         147 
            British War Art                  Minimalism 
                        141                         138 
            Victorian/Genre           Neo-Expressionism 
                        125                         111 
            Neo-Romanticism      Abstract Expressionism 
                        107                         102 
                 Surrealism            Geometry of Fear 
                         96                          84 
            Performance Art          British Surrealism 
                         81                          75 
summary(artwork.movements$movement.era.name)
 16th and 17th century           18th century           19th century 
                   177                    469                   1004 
20th century 1900-1945 20th century post-1945 
                  1156                   4177 

Pop and Pre-Raphaelitism gain in popularity, but Conceptualism and Surrealism are still popular.

Subjects

Each artwork is tagged with descriptions of the subjects that it depicts. Subjects have levels, from general to specific, which I've named the category, subcategory and subject. We can group the subjects of artworks by artists and movements to find out what their characteristic subjects were.

summary(artwork.subjects[c("artwork.title", "artwork.dateText", "category.name", 
    "subcategory.name", "subject.name")])
           artwork.title          artwork.dateText       category.name  
 [title not known]: 13992   date not known: 29732   nature      :76796  
 [no title]       :  8146   1819          : 12948   places      :60314  
 Untitled         :  2148   1833          :  5865   architecture:57507  
 Mountains        :   899   1801          :  5023   people      :52820  
 Shipping         :   462   1831          :  4817   objects     :22990  
 Walking the Dog  :   412   1840          :  4498   society     :20032  
 (Other)          :316957   (Other)       :280133   (Other)     :52557  
                      subcategory.name              subject.name   
 landscape                    : 32722   hill              :  9737  
 adults                       : 22048   wooded            :  8223  
 townscapes, man-made features: 21272   man               :  8164  
 seascapes and coasts         : 12202   figure            :  8118  
 water: inland                : 11839   townscape, distant:  7916  
 countries and continents     : 11704   England           :  7661  
 (Other)                      :231229   (Other)           :293197  
summary(artwork.subjects$category.name)[1:20]
                 abstraction                 architecture 
                       13304                        57507 
emotions, concepts and ideas                      history 
                       11583                         1948 
                   interiors         leisure and pastimes 
                        2467                         3446 
      literature and fiction                       nature 
                        2977                        76796 
                     objects                       people 
                       22990                        52820 
                      places          religion and belief 
                       60314                         4376 
                     society   symbols & personifications 
                       20032                         6242 
        work and occupations                         <NA> 
                        6214                           NA 
                        <NA>                         <NA> 
                          NA                           NA 
                        <NA>                         <NA> 
                          NA                           NA 
summary(artwork.subjects$subcategory.name)[1:16]
                       landscape                           adults 
                           32722                            22048 
   townscapes, man-made features             seascapes and coasts 
                           21272                            12202 
                   water: inland         countries and continents 
                           11839                            11704 
        UK countries and regions cities, towns, villages (non-UK) 
                           10800                            10160 
            non-representational                 transport: water 
                            9583                             9537 
   actions: postures and motions                      UK counties 
                            9055                             8867 
                        features                         military 
                            8694                             7091 
                formal qualities    UK cities, towns and villages 
                            6934                             6695 
summary(artwork.subjects$subject.name)[1:20]
              hill             wooded                man 
              9737               8223               8164 
            figure townscape, distant            England 
              8118               7916               7661 
             river              woman           mountain 
              7549               7303               5932 
            castle             bridge              rocky 
              5298               3769               3759 
             group              coast              Italy 
              3694               3545               3509 
     boat, sailing          townscape             colour 
              3381               3157               2859 
               sea              tower 
              2810               2803 

The summary looks like Turner is skewing the results again. The subjects are mostly English landscape of the early 19th Century. But the categories are led by more non-representional subjects, before the subcategories and subjects return to landscape. People (“adults”, “man”, “woman”) emerge as popular subjects as well, indeed they are the second largest subcategory.

summary(artist.subjects[c("artist.name", "category.name", "subcategory.name", 
    "subject.name")])
                                          artist.name        category.name
 David Lucas                                    :1653   nature      :991  
 Jacques Lipchitz                               : 301   places      :551  
 Colin Lanceley                                 : 181   people      :471  
 Bernard Leach                                  : 104   architecture:345  
 Langlands & Bell (Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell):  78   abstraction :275  
 Linder                                         :  65   objects     :256  
 (Other)                                        :1091   (Other)     :584  
                 subcategory.name    subject.name 
 landscape               : 287    figure   : 157  
 adults                  : 250    England  : 144  
 weather                 : 198    wooded   : 138  
 non-representational    : 186    cloud    :  99  
 UK countries and regions: 151    man      :  84  
 animals: mammals        : 145    geometric:  74  
 (Other)                 :2256    (Other)  :2777  
summary(artist.subjects$category.name)[1:20]
                 abstraction                 architecture 
                         275                          345 
emotions, concepts and ideas                      history 
                         132                           16 
                   interiors         leisure and pastimes 
                          18                           36 
      literature and fiction                       nature 
                          36                          991 
                     objects                       people 
                         256                          471 
                      places          religion and belief 
                         551                           70 
                     society   symbols & personifications 
                         153                           51 
        work and occupations                         <NA> 
                          72                           NA 
                        <NA>                         <NA> 
                          NA                           NA 
                        <NA>                         <NA> 
                          NA                           NA 
summary(artist.subjects$subcategory.name)[1:16]
                    landscape                        adults 
                          287                           250 
                      weather          non-representational 
                          198                           186 
     UK countries and regions              animals: mammals 
                          151                           145 
                  UK counties townscapes, man-made features 
                          129                           118 
UK cities, towns and villages                 water: inland 
                          118                            99 
             formal qualities     from recognisable sources 
                           92                            89 
         seascapes and coasts actions: postures and motions 
                           66                            62 
             transport: water                   residential 
                           57                            49 
summary(artist.subjects$subject.name)[1:20]
       figure       England        wooded         cloud           man 
          157           144           138            99            84 
    geometric         woman       Suffolk          hill        colour 
           74            62            58            52            47 
          cow         river         horse          rain      ceramics 
           40            38            37            35            32 
monochromatic   River Stour         Essex       sunbeam      farmland 
           29            28            27            27            26 

The results from artist subjects don't differ appreciably from the artwork ones. We wouldn't expect any difference, but some artworks have more than one artist or have none, so this introduces variations.

summary(movement.subjects[c("movement.name", "era.name", "artwork.title ", "category.name", 
    "subcategory.name", "subject.name")])
Error: undefined columns selected
summary(movement.subjects$category.name)[1:20]
                 abstraction                 architecture 
                        4977                         2831 
emotions, concepts and ideas                      history 
                        4486                          578 
                   interiors         leisure and pastimes 
                         619                          821 
      literature and fiction                       nature 
                         858                         5634 
                     objects                       people 
                        7516                        11828 
                      places          religion and belief 
                        2635                         1296 
                     society   symbols & personifications 
                        4097                         1843 
        work and occupations                         <NA> 
                        1568                           NA 
                        <NA>                         <NA> 
                          NA                           NA 
                        <NA>                         <NA> 
                          NA                           NA 
summary(movement.subjects$subcategory.name)[1:16]
                          adults             non-representational 
                            4077                             3651 
                formal qualities    actions: postures and motions 
                            2500                             2138 
   clothing and personal effects                     inscriptions 
                            1602                             1402 
       from recognisable sources                             body 
                            1326                             1170 
                       landscape               universal concepts 
                            1161                             1049 
    emotions and human qualities                   social comment 
                             937                              913 
   townscapes, man-made features                      furnishings 
                             898                              868 
reading, writing, printed matter                         features 
                             820                              735 
summary(movement.subjects$subject.name)[1:20]
          woman             man          figure       geometric 
           1854            1649            1197            1191 
         colour    photographic irregular forms     head / face 
           1111             920             563             531 
       standing         England         sitting          female 
            519             503             497             476 
   printed text            text           group        gestural 
            443             428             411             389 
         wooded       landscape        man-made             sea 
            333             305             276             243 

“Insertions into Ideological Circuits 2: Banknote Project” has multiple json records with multiple movements and topics in each, so it's over-represented here. The subjects are still similar, although with more photography.

Conclusions

What can we conclude from this? The collection is dominated by male British pop artists, more from England than from Scotland or the rest of the UK. The subjects of artworks are what one would expect: landscape, human figures, abstracts. The Turner Bequest skews some of the data, and this should be accounted for or addressed in analysis. A few other artworks also skew some results.

Next we'll look more closely at artistic movements with some data visualizations.

Free?!

FREE?!

I was at Free?! (http://freeculture.info/) as a speaker.

The first part of the day was the brunch club:

http://freeculture.info/free-culture-brunch-club/

We gathered around tables to discuss various free culture-related topics and write notes on the tablecloths. These were later hung in the gallery upstairs as part of the “(Mis)Interpreting Free Culture Exhibition” art show accompanying the event. The show is excellent, with a wide range of thought-provoking work.

http://freeculture.info/interpreting-free-culture-exhibition/

I was on the “tools” table. We discussed what makes a useful free culture tool, which came down as much to social and community affordances as technical or legal ones. Blender’s community and funding was repeatedly mentioned as a model. During the discussion I encountered some excellent projects I hadn’t heard of before:

http://cargocollective.com/natashaberting/Free-Tool-Galaxy

https://hotglue.me/

The second part was the Plenary Debate, which brought together some leading free culture film producers to discuss how they made their projects work.

http://freeculture.info/plenary-debate/

It was refreshing to hear a candid discussion of the frustrations and strengths of crowdfunding approaches based on the long-term experience of the panel members. Jamie King in particular communicated the unpredictability of funding, the harsh statistics of who actually pays for downloads, and the joys of being able to pay artists when they do.
It was also good to see the new Blender short film on a big screen thanks to Ton Roosendaal:

http://www.caminandes.com/

The last part of the day was the “Winters Night Copyright Fairytale” event in the evening.

http://freeculture.info/winter-nights-copyright-fairytale/

This brought performances and talks on various free culture themes together with a framing animation and narrative in the form of a fairytale.

With the benefit of hindsight I wish I’d fitted my talks more to the fairytale theme, but I did manage to accidentally fit my slides to its typographic style.

Femke Snelting framed the story with readings from remixed newly out-of-copyright texts by Rabindranath Tagore and Virginia Woolf made using NLTK. Nikita Mazurov’s passion for pirating movies made me wish I could have got to the London Cryptofestival (
http://www.cryptoparty.in/london_cryptofestival ) where he was also speaking. Paul Keller’s presentation of the history and possible future direction of Creative Commons gave me a real confidence boost in that organization. And there was much more. The event was recorded and I think it will be online early next year.

The slides from my talks are available here:

https://gitorious.org/robmyers/free-one-day-event/

Free?! was very much about stepping back and taking stock of Free Culture. I found being reminded (and helping to remind others) of the origins and issues of Free Culture inspiring, and looking seriously at where and how it needs to be rethought invigorating. As a result, I know what I have to do next.

Do have a look at the website if you couldn’t make it to the event.

Importing Tate Collection Data Into MongoDB

You have to feed records into Mongo one per line. Like this:

find artists -name *.json -exec perl -p -e 's/\n/ /' '{}' \; -exec echo \; | mongoimport --db tate --collection artists
find artworks -name *.json -exec perl -p -e 's/\n/ /' '{}' \; -exec echo \; | mongoimport --db tate --collection artworks