Although the internet has created a plethora of opportunities for contemporary media art practitioners to make and distribute their work across a global network, their livelihood and financial situation has become increasingly precarious. Giving away works for free online has certainly helped nourish online communities that otherwise would not have existed, but at the cost of having to use supply chains and distribution channels that are often in the hands of large digital corporations. Though these services provide a great amount of cultural capital for artists, the labor involved in making is often financially unrewarded. As a result, new models for media art distribution must be considered ones that simultaneously plays to the strengths of the internet while also helping creating sustainable models for long term cultural support.
In this lecture, Nicholas O’Brien will examine three different models of collective ownership, decentralized property, cooperative distribution, and other alternative cultural models of sharing property. O’Brien speculates on the ways in which contemporary media art can borrow and emulate these three models in order to create a new paradigm for cultural organizations to adopt or consider. By looking at Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), the indie video game company Humble Bundle, and the American football team the Green Bay Packers, O’Brien will map out a possible trajectory of alternative media distribution. Playfully examining these
different case studies will help foster a more open conversation about the current state of media art ownership, distribution, preservation, and community building. Over the course of the lecture, O’Brien will attempt to reconfigure the current methods of media art distribution and consider how potential new model might rekindle the growing disconnect between makers and audiences.

Nicholas O’Brien

Nicholas O’Brien (1985) – the American net-based artist, curator, and writer. His work has appeared and featured in several publications including ARTINFO, Rhizome at the New Museum, Junk Jet, Sculpture Magazine, Dazed Digital, The Creators Project, DIS, Frieze d/e, San Francisco Art Quarterly, the Brooklyn
Rail, and the New York Times. His work has also been exhibited at The Museum of Moving Image, Eyebeam, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Portland Art Museum, Copenhagen Place in London, Western Front in Vancouver Canada, the Baryshnikov Art Center, the Sandberg Institute in the Netherlands, and numerous online venues. Currently he teaches as a visiting artist professor and gallery director for the Department of Digital Art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

(source: PAF catalogue 2014)

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