The UK’s Channel 4’s public art ‘mobile blogging’ website – called the Big Art Mob – is now live. The site is designed to build a web-based resource and community ahead of next year’s Big Art Project television series and with a life well beyond the broadcast. [‘Mobile blogging’ involves sending photos, text and other media direct from your mobile phone to appear within seconds on a widely accessible website.]
The Big Art Mob invites people to help make the UK’s first comprehensive map of public art by sending photos (and text, video or audio, if they so desire) to do with public art straight from their mobile phones. Using a combination of Google Maps, a geo-coding facility and ‘tags’ (i.e. labels/keywords – created by the senders and viewers alike), these photos and moblog ‘posts’ will collectively form an interactive map to celebrate and preserve the country’s wealth of public art.
But what is ‘public art’? It’s up to the users to interpret and decide, which is half the fun of it. How far does it extend beyond the sculptures and statues that first come to mind? does graffiti count? does it have to be inanimate? The Big Art Mob is intended to encourage enjoyable discussion about the nature and definition of public art – from figurative sculpture through to architectural and digital to street art.
Adam Gee, Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor, New Media, says: "There’s no comprehensive map of the UK’s public art, simply because there’s so much of it. But now, with a combination of networked media and people power, for the first time it’s an achievable public challenge. As well as documenting the richness and diversity of our public art, the Big Art Mob highlights the fun of moblogging and provides the base for a lively, visually-oriented, UK-centred arts community.”
The Big Art Moblog is part of the Channel’s Big Art Project which will trace the evolution of six public artworks from the commissioning and funding process through to the installation. This highly ambitious, ground-breaking television series is planned for broadcast in 2008.
This is the first UK TV project to launch its interactive dimension and integrate community networks so long before TV broadcast – a full year in advance. It is also the first use of mobile blogging technology by a major UK broadcaster.
The mobile blogging technology behind Big Art Mob has been developed by moblogUK Technology, the technology arm of popular mobile blogging site, moblogUK. Users upload images with the name of the artist and the artwork (if they know) as well as the location. Visitors to the site can also add or edit tags to help complete any missing information and make all the contributions all the easier to find and interlink.
“moblogUK Technology are very pleased to be able to offer Channel 4 our mobile blogging platform for this excellent public project”, says Alfie Dennen, Co-Founder, moblogUK. “The broad scope of this project shows that mobile blogging is consumer ready. With the market conditions of lowered costs for sending unique content from handsets to the web, and consumers readiness to use the higher-end functions on their phones, this project is a great example of how brands, broadcasters and businesses can use mobile blogging in a meaningful way."
About moblogUK Technology
moblogUK is Europe’s leading moblogging community site. Mobloggers are citizen journalists, capturing moments such as the London bombings and the Buncefield explosion. They are photographers, creating beautiful images of every part of the world from Antarctica to Svalbard, from California to Japan, and they are diarists documenting their lives in intimate detail. moblogUK Technology builds upon the success of the site, working with brands, businesses and marketers to bring moblogging to photographers, music fans and the public at large. Our goal is to create great mobile-enabled communities.
moblogUK Technology’s Participation Toolkit is a white-label platform for creating customised environments for user-generated content. Organisations can use the Toolkit to rapidly build full-featured, involving sites which are accessible to all.
About the Channel 4 Big Art Project
The Channel 4 Big Art Project is a unique, nationwide, two-year collaboration between artists and the public examining and showcasing the most innovative and interesting practices in non-gallery art. Communities across Britain are getting the opportunity to commission groundbreaking art for the public in a number of locations around the country.
The Big Art Project television series is being produced by Carbon Media and was commissioned by Jan Younghusband.
The Big Art Project website ( www.channel4.com/bigart ), incorporating the Big Art Mob ( www.channel4.com/bigartmob ), has been produced by Channel 4 New Media and moblogUK Technology and was commissioned by Adam Gee.