Conversation, Writing

Hello Wikipedia, it’s the blogosphere calling

If you have any experience contributing to Wikipedia, you’ll appreciate “Wikipedia Art,” an online project launched today by artists Scott Kildall and Nathanial Stern. Of course, by the time you read this, the whole project may have been deleted by the anonymous band of pedantic Wikipedia editors (see Update below). The artists want everyone to sign on as Wikipedia contributors and keep the project alive.

Here’s an excerpt of Kildall’s and Stern’s Wikipedia entry for “Wikipedia Art:”

“It was performatively birthed through a dual launch on Wikipedia and MyArtSpace, where art critic, writer, and blogger, Brian Sherwin, introduced and published their staged two-way interview, ‘Wikipedia Art – A Fireside Chat.’ The interview ended with Stern declaring, ‘I now pronounce Wikipedia Art.’ Kildall’s response: ‘It�s alive! Alive!’ “Within one hour, it was marked for deletion. Following that, the Wikipedia entries on Stern, Kildall and Sherwin suddenly had Wikipedia standards problems which were non-existent before (in Stern’s case, for nearly 2 years before). Later that day, in response to Kildall and Stern’s call ‘to join in the collaboration and construction / transformation / destruction / resurrection of the work’, Shane Mecklenburger linked every word on the page, a move to ‘clarify’ which arguably highlighted the Quixotic, absurd utility of Wikipedia’s enterprise. Artintegrated erased highlights from the original article only that were made by Shane Mecklenberger referencing Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Erased Dekooning’.
“The Wikipedia Art page is a self-aware exploration of Wikipedia’s mission of collective epistemology. It enacts and describes Wikipedia’s strengths, weaknesses, potential, and limits as both a system of understanding and as a contemplative object of beauty. It demonstrates how a Wikipedia page can transcend the medium of Wikipedia while retaining its basic utilitarian Wikipedia function. The page is similarly a self-aware example of the strengths, weaknesses, potential, and limits of new media art. Wikipedia Art also calls into question the basic function and purposes of the encyclopedia itself. “

Don’t forget to check out the ongoing debate on Wikipedia Art’s “Articles for Deletion Page,” where you can watch the Wiki editors spar with artists and advocates over the project’s right to exist. Ironically, Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, does not accept online sources (like art blogs) to verify references. Even more curious are the unsophisticated ways they apply their Guidelines for Notability…but that’s another matter.

Update: The “Wikipedia Art” entry was deleted from Wikipedia on 2/15/09 by “Werdna,” an eighteen-year-old Wikipedia buff from Australia who recently graduated from high school. Werdna (real name Andrew Garrett) has been tinkering with Wikipedia since he was 14 years old. According to his user page, Andrew thinks that “we should delegate decisions to trusted users instead of involving the whole community in everything; that democracy is the worst system of government, except for all the other ones that have been tried; that it is perfectly fine to specialise away from article-writing, so long as you’re doing something useful; and that we should give the fairy penguin populations more rights and freedoms.”

“Wikipedia Art’s” Facebook Group can be found here.

A list of project collaborators can be found here.


  1. The joy of youth. 🙂

  2. I re-wrote a Wiki entry just so I could include an external link to my own website (or related topic).

    It has pretty much stood for 6 months, someone has readjusted the subheadings or compartments, but generally because I did not delete very much from the preceding version – merely expanded it generously I take it other like-minded users agree with my contribution.

    But this was a pretty academic entry – way off the hot topics like blogging and popularity of art blogs – which are shamelessly self-serving and little more than promotion.

    Wiki contains many mansions I guess.

  3. Ouch. Yes, some blogs are “shamelessly self-serving and little more than promotion,” but others are more akin to online journalism and are important to contemporary art discourse.

  4. Oh yes, I’m not dismissing blogs – I have one myself! (not the site linked to a Wiki entry). But there are a lot driven by supposed ‘hit stats’ and advertising that are led down this path of hype, irrespective of the information or journalism their sites contain.

  5. posted on Andrew Garret(Werdna’s)
    ‘Public’ pastbin

    Those who respond to a call or challenge from the present moment, which asks them to consider and reflect on the nature of one’s existence, with the immediate impulse to kill or erase, illuminates the need for said call or challenge to act as a mirror, a revelation, for all, of those impulses as an expression from our collective lack of understanding and experience with regards to the interconnected clarity and possibility the present moment affords us. Don’t be afraid to STOP and consider why things appear to us the way they do, and if it is necessary to continue on without some degree of reflection.

  6. I just read the Delete: discussion page on Wikipedia.
    Fascinating! Allot of Shane Mecklenburger’s comments were right on,and helped increase the radius of the debate, by which the Wikipedian Authorities couldn’t simply state their interpretation of the 5 golden rules and then press delete with out consequence (well they did the Delete part – but not without consequence ). It was amazing to see how quickly they – the Wikipedian Authorities grew agitated with the prospect of having to reflect upon and consider the wider implications of “their” collaborative project (Wikipedia), even if the consensus would still have been to find the Wikipedia Art entry inappropriate for what ever reason – their vehemence and almost fascist adherence to the bureaucracy they enjoy was spine tingling. In a world where everything is ultimately ‘Subjective Only’ – there are those who like to question and then there are Librarians.
    my favorite comments came just at the end when the impatient rally cry to DELET came to a crescendo –

    * Delete as non-notable, self-referential mess. Tried by others, and deleted. Kill kill kill. � Huntster (t � @ � c) 06:24, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

    * Delete. As the contributor of ten percent of Wikipedia’s featured pictures and twenty percent of its featured sounds, assuring fellow editors that this can be safely deleted. Most of the citations fail WP:RS and the rest fail WP:NOR. ‘Wikipedia Art’ as such does not exist in any way that merits an article. And serious efforts toward building a collaborative media restoration undertaking would only be undermined by the existence of such a page as this. DurovaCharge! 06:29, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

    Speedily deleted. No indication that the content may meet our criteria for inclusion. � Werdna � talk 06:32, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

    First Judge says – “Off With Their Heads!”

    Second Judge says – “Trust Me guys – Im the Authorities’ Authority – I can safely assure you that these upstarts don’t have a leg to stand on with us! Go ahead and Delete!”

    Third Judge says – “Hear Hear, Sentence Has been passed! DELETED as ORDERED!

    Great Stuff!

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