Tagging Artworks : Crowd-Curated Contemporary Art Exhibition

Gunho Chae, Republic of Korea , Jihee Kim, Republic of Korea

With the emergence of the Web 2.0 era, James Surowiecki’s “The Wisdom of Crowds” introduced to the world the general public’s potential in problem solving and creativity. Later, the public became a new source of strength in areas such as economics, mathematics, marketing, in which it later becomes to be known as a new and efficient concept called “Crowdsourcing”.

This Crowdsourcing was first introduced to the culture and arts through a new photo exhibition called “Click – A crowd curated exhibition” in 2008 by the Brooklyn Museum. Through this exhibition, the potential of crowdsourcing in the museum field was confirmed with rising interest in crowdsourcing. Presently, crowdsourcing has become an increasing trend in GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) according to the research by Johan and Lora in 2011.

However, the main use of crowdsourcing in culture and arts was in the form of providing collected data or votes, as in the previous examples such as the history museum, library, and archive, presented by Johan and Lora and the exhibition by the Brooklyn Museum. On the other hand, the public’s potential in curating artworks, especially contemporary art, in which one interprets the meaning of the artworks and creates spaces using new themes based on the interpretations, has been underestimated or even ignored.

Thus, we design a new comteporary art exhibition in which interpretations of artworks are gathered and curated in a gallery, based on the public’s participation. We use “Social Tagging”, a method that is well known in making the participation of the general public possible. Social tagging is a system in which a user directly participates in the interpretation of an artwork and becomes to understand the artwork through sharing such interpretations with other users, and has paved the way for museum amateurs to create new information on artworks.

The exhibition is the result of research and analysis of approximately 100,000 tags on the collections of GMoMA (Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art) that were collected through an online tagging event. This exhibition is an offline platform providing a means for bilateral communication, where the public shares their various thoughts and interpretations of artworks rather than being provided with information by the curator or the artist. The exhibition will be showing the most loved works by the event participants and the artworks associated with the most popular tags (solitude, memory, life, dream). This exhibition, in which the participants take part of a curator's role, marks the beginning of 'social curating' exhibitions. We hope this exhibition shows the importance of the value of social media created by active communication and the possibilities of artworks leaving the artists and being interpreted from various perspectives from the audience.