Author: joe

Thursday, 22 December, 2005 - 01:01

I've recently been working on a web site for Cath, to showcase her artwork and to put her reflective writing online. It's been an interesting collaboration, not least because as well as trying a few new experiments myself, the way the site is developing is also feeding into how Cath thinks of her artwork.

My experiments are mostly technical, using Ajax techniques to feed back search result counts in real time to help avoid the user wasting time clicking back after finding no results, and implementing tagging as a way of content management as well as sorting and searching.

What's been more interesting, though, is that the functionality of the website alters Cath's perception of her work.

CB: Seeing a lot of thumbnails of my images makes me 'see' my own style more clearly, makes me realise I do have a style.

Well, I've been saying that her style is 'dipped in LSD at birth' for the last 13 years :)

But there's something else worth noting too. For a long time I worked with visual artists at the London College of Fashion who conceived of their exhibits as something that they controlled. An artist determines which images make a specific collection, and in which order they appear, the name of the collection, etc. This is a strong desire in pretty much all the photographers and illustrators who were learning Multimedia with me.

At, we've taken a different approach, and used Cath's folksonomy of her work (describing the images with 'tags') to create a gallery builder. The user combines different keywords to construct a gallery of their own. This doesn't seem like a particularly novel thing to do - after all that's what using an image search engine does. However, when you apply it specifically in a space where one artist is presenting their work, the activity is not so much about 'looking for images' as allowing the user to 'curate a collection'.

Cath is also looking forward to seeing how the visual representation of her folksonomy develops, and how it will reveal themes and preoccupations as she adds more work. The folksonomy makes the most frequent tags larger than the infrequent.

Maybe it would be an idea to take snapshots of the folksonomy for different periods of work...?

Categories: folksonomy, art,, ajax, interactivity, curation,
Comments: 1


For me, there's so many exciting things going on through the creation of the art website that I don't quite know where to start!

It's the first time I'm able to see all my artwork online in one place. I hadn't realised how prolific my work was! It's enabled to me to see it all at the same time and reflect on it. The tagging has made me realise that I'm fixated by architecture even more than I thought, but also that there are other things I didn't realise I enjoyed so much - lighthouses, piers, illustration. Most of my illustrative work has been copies of pictures from books for friends. I never really saw it as art work, but it has played a major part in training my skills.

It's also made me realise that there have been major creative periods in my life, and that there's a lot of new creative identity wanting to get out through my new work. A lot of what's on the website is from aged 17, 21 -25 - times in my life when I wasn't tied up in time-destroying jobs. It's giving me motivation to build on the past and move forward.

One of the other exciting things about the website has been about creating it in collaboration. Two heads are definitely better than one. Not that you're not a genius with all the techno stuff Joe, but I think there's a lot to be said for understanding entirely the needs of the client. That's much more difficult than any coding, and I think we've got a good development thing going. :-)

Author: catherinebond Sent: 2005-12-23 19:41:01

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