books_expanded_field: An interview with Badlands Unlimited: is just that—an interview with Paul Chan, Ian Chang, and Micaela Durand, artists and Badlands Unlimited publishers—by Barcelona-based independent curatorial office Latitudes. I’m not going to lie to you on Tumblr: I haven’t read it yet. What I do find compelling, however, is that Latitudes has published twenty other titles on the same web-based publishing platform, Issuu, effectively creating a conversation around their publishing activities on a website that I don’t immediately associate with experimental curatorial practice in any way, shape, or form—which is what makes it a compelling case, of course.
I feel similarly about the art reviews (of sorts) that Brian Droitcour has been faithfully posting to Yelp for nearly a year now: both projects openly engage with audiences whose likely goal isn’t to engage with contemporary artistic practice—or its rhetoric, for that matter—but rather to publish or read in a social way (Issuu) or navigate a city’s restaurants or services (Yelp). While I am drawn to these projects in their primary form—I will in fact read the interview with Badlands Unlimited!—I am even more interested in the potential moment when the third-party platform used to host a project begins to inform its tone. What happens when a project’s known or intended community meets its host website’s own user community? Archness falls flat fast in these forums, a fact that I attribute as much to the graphic look and feel of the website itself as I do the voice of its user base (an imagined “general public”). After all, isn’t it rather hard to take oneself too seriously in a piece of writing knowing that it will be read in direct visual proximity to advertisements for Budweiser, a banner ad for which happens to be emblazoned across Yelp.com as I type.
I’ve often viewed my engagement with the (largely unsuspecting) twitter community in this capacity.
Wherein tweets are both discrete, disembodied messages as well as interconnected components of a long-running ideological declaration. *What* that declaration is, is ever-evolving. But yeah. I dig this subversion/methodology.