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geek week 3


this week has been all about web specs.

and i don't actually know how the rest of the world goes about developing their online spaces.

presumably in big corporate land there's a fair amount of outsourcing to peeps who do it all day everyday. and then there's your extremely ugly SME (small-medium enterprise) site that never gets updated because, really, whose got the time to develop that stuff when you're so time poor as it is.

the nature of the artist-run-initiative (ARI) as a cultural space (similar to that of an SME, in business terms) is one of nimbleness - projects can turnaround quite quickly and they are dynamic and responsive projects. i believe that's why they're important spaces to exist and support - they feed back into the culture quickly and allow for current and relevant thinking. they can also allow for flexibility and mobility in the presentation of works, which is vital for most contemporary art practice.

considering that artists and ARIs are SMEs, i think most of us have pretty spanky sites. compared to your local plumber, electrician or even bookstore, say. and, having said that, for the larger, more established and pro-active ARIs, it can still be pretty difficult to maintain a decent online space, when the real world is taking up an extraordinary amount of time.

especially when the site has outgrown you.

in empirical terms, try building a new gallery building, on your own (or with minimal contractors), whilst still maintaining, programming and staffing the current one. not really an easy task.

which is where i've come in. i'm helping these kids design, spec-up and hand over for development a new site. yeah, i know, doesn't sound all that fantastic really.

BUT, what we will be doing is setting up a template and a documented process for such a renovation. these scribbly, scrawly notes, lines of links and cool widgetty bits that we've used in the mean time will be compiled and edited. then put out into the world somehow.

other artist-run-initiatives can then use them and learn from what we've done, to do their own version.

we don't want to make it oh-so-modular-cut'n'paste, but we want to open up the dialogue. the business/structure of making art is not actually our IP. if we can share the process a little, it can save everyone time. which leaves more room for art production, curating, writing, performance and the goodness of making/presenting art.

we don't actually want to be administrators, believe it or not.


and hey artists, all those exhibition proposals and grant applications you hate? well, they help write web spec documents! yay! you too can spec up a website. it's just like proposing a massive group show in an open gallery space. huzzah!

this week some of the other highlights include: rediscovered my love of basecamp.
and iplotz is totes rad too - wireframe a website online to share, save, export with html-ness. good times.
printable checklist has been in fine form
as has word tables. very daggy, but really helpful in project managing for the time being.

i'm almost looking forward to talking to the developers now....

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At 29 May, 2010 07:54, Anonymous Adrian James said...

Interesting stuff Lauren. I've been helping Dave organize his works into a website recently. Currently it's just a gallery of his last show but I plan to include a bio, contact page, multiple gallery support, and possibly a news feed. I think twitter might be a good fit for Dave to post thoughts as he doesn't tend to have time for a blog.
I've hosted it on the free MS Small Business Office Live portal but I think this won't suit his needs as it doesn't allow any server-side scripting or database. Given that this is really just a reference site and won't draw much traffic by itself I'm trying to avoid monthly hosting fees (any suggestions? ;).
hope you're well.


At 30 May, 2010 11:12, Anonymous lauren said...

AJ!! well, hello!

aren't you an excellent husband doing dave's site for him!

i have a regular site too - which is pretty simple and could easily do with some more work. but it is on its own server and i actually found the investment of some online real estate to be as important as having a studio so i don't mind the yearly hosting fees.

and i guess through the traffic stats, referrals, etc, i can also begin to know who/where my audience are and take a bit of ownership over that too.
most people go to it from here (because i invest more time on the blog really).

i think most artists don't have a massive amount of time, which i guess is the reason to share this kind of stuff. i use iweb because it's super easy to just update when i have a new show or news, or whatever. i've been trying to schedule it in once a month. kinda.

indexhibit is another good format for artist websites and every time i update mine, i consider the switch. and has good gallery templates - which is more like the ms office you've got there.

twitter has been an amazing platform for me to share thoughts with people over the years and if you've got a link to your site from there, it's easy for peeps to find out a little more about you. but, i guess the important thing is that dave needs to be excited about it too - otherwise it will die pretty quickly. it's like a tamogochi i guess :)

hopefully all of that techno rambling was useful AJ - i'd love to hear more from you about this stuff. you are a much more qualified geek than i am, that's for sure!

love! xx


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