Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The future is calling + WSPA

Right now I am in the process of deciding where I am going to go to grad school. I'm close to making my decision, and I'll post as soon as I do. I'll be getting my masters in Museum Studies, more info coming soon!

In other news, I'm actively involved in Wikipedia Saves Public Art. What is WSPA? Well, we aim to "encourage the creation of accurate, informative and up-to-date articles about public art." You can learn more about WSPA here. The project is spear-headed by Jennifer Geigel Mikulay, public scholar of visual culture and a professor at IUPUI, and Richard McCoy, conservator of objects at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. What started as a project involving bringing public art to Wikipedia via an IUPUI museums studies course (you can read more about that on the WSPA Wiki page) has blossomed into a passion and obsession involving Web 2.0 in many forms.

How did I get involved? Ever since I got an iPhone, I've been fanatical about it. I love it. While browsing applications, I found something called FourSquare, an application that allows you to politely stalk your friends - the program uses the phone's GPS capabilities to locate you and you "check in" at locations that are listed (and you can create). By exploring and going to various locations, you can unlock badges and become "mayors" of locations. I thought this was great, but, FourSquare still needed to be tweaked a bit. Regardless, the majority of locations on FourSquare consist of bars, restaurants, shops, etc.

Then, while using the Genius option on the iPhone application store, Genius recommended Gowalla. I loved the layout of the program - it was like FourSquare, but sexier. And instead of becoming the "mayor" of locations, you find virtual objects - everything from prairie dogs and pints of beer, to holiday objects like Mardi Gras beads and Olympic torches. I fell in love with Gowalla - the format, the look and the energy behind those who created the program. I had a few friends who used it, mainly fellow Twitter folks. One day, I got an email from Richard asking me to get involved with WSPA, explaining what the project was, and how he had interest in incorporating Gowalla into the project. How can we use geolocation programs to bring awareness to public art?

I became obsessed. Richard, myself, and friends of mine (who I forced onto the Gowalla bandwagon) started fanatically adding public art locations. See an example here. We hope that with Gowalla we are able to not only validate locations, but, bring awareness to public art in peoples environments. With the Gowalla interface we are able to describe the object or talk about the history of the location and take photographs and upload them for friends and users to see. Perhaps we are the only one's that care, but, we like to think otherwise.

We've also started creating Google maps documenting public sculpture in Indy. This features all of the original Save Outdoor Sculptures! entries from the 1993 survey. Eventually we'll have a map of SOS and non-SOS sculptures, but, our priority is to physically document (and use Gowalla!) and verify locations of the original SOS! sculptures. We're getting there, and it's great that Spring is here - makes stomping through graveyards more enjoyable (since the majority of the one's we need to document still are in graveyards).

Alright, I'm sick, so I'm going to zone out here on the couch to bad TV and Love & Hate in Jamestown by David Price.

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoy a walk around the museum, all the historical value makes me feed my knowledge and i feel that i grow up like a person. I like to try what i want to prove. this is when i buy viagra for my husband. whenever i have a doubt, i mus to satisfy my curiosity.