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Jonas Lund's Art World API

A digital installation exploring art through technology and science

by David Graver in Culture on 10 July 2013

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Still abuzz from his shared online experience art piece "We See In Every Direction," the Swedish-born, Amsterdam-based artist Jonas Lund is launching a new project, called Art World API. Lund's interdisciplinary attack on art combines internet-embedded works with video and installation art, as well as a performance element. Utilizing networked systems, Lund gathers volunteer explorers and charts social interactions on the web. Known just as much for his denied attempt at a Guinness World Record (for a Facebook post with the most comments), Lund continues down the path of immersive, shared digital experiences that defy location and time with this new concept. All his work stands at such a crossing of art, science, data and performance.

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Presented by The New Institute and V2_ Institute For The Unstable Media, Lund's soon to be launched Art World API is a system that will be able to forecast the future of the art world. Lund presents an argument that the algorithm itself is a work of art. However, this open-access database—which charts artists, exhibitions, curators, critics, institutions, galleries and publishers—is more than a list. It features a compilation of moments across the art world, which Lund assembled himself.

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Anyone will be able to query the API, drawing information about art world relations. As the site explains, "how many times has a curator worked with a specific institution," or "how many artists under 35 from France have exhibited in solo shows in London in 2012" are the types of queries yielding results. As an initial demonstration of its capabilities, Lund utilized the database to produce an art piece within an art piece, called "The Top 100 Highest Ranked Curators in the World." The database project was fed a curator-ranking algorithm which drew upon who each had worked with, and where. The database generated a list of the most influential in the field, and Lund set to building a gallery showcase of their images. The next step for Lund's Art World API will be an attempt to predict what will happen next in the art world, via another algorithm he has created. In essence, Lund's next actual art piece will be mapping the future, as the links and webs between owners and artists, curators and collaborators appear. The database and his specific predictive queries cross the line of arts and data sciences and, in a way, Lund's work continues to state that there isn't really a line at all.

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You will be able to visit the experiential project online, or check out Lund's previous project, We See In Every Direction, which is still up and running. Commissioned by the non-profit arts organization Rhizome for their online exhibition space, the application allows for a shared browser experience with users competing (or working in tandem) to control the screen. Imagine visiting your homepage, and knowing your friends or complete strangers were also hovering about, mouse arrows swirling and chaos erupting over who gets to use what first. That's the core of Lund's work: access, community and experience.

Images courtesy of Jonas Lund

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