艺术家能成为记者吗?纽约非营利组织认为新闻业将受益于艺术家的参与

在2013年Google时代精神会议上,时任Google CEO的埃里克·施密特(Eric Schmidt)在达沃斯和TED会谈之间的一个高级英语酒店举办了一年一度的会议,讨论技术的解放力量。施密特猜测,手机摄像头如何通过曝光来防止暴行。在谈到卢旺达种族灭绝时,他说,有人会想到,有人会做出反应,阻止这场可怕的大屠杀。这是硅谷高管宣传技术革命潜力的无数例子之一。但是,随着我们的安装公司,平台和算法不被信任,这些企业,平台和算法在为我们提供信息的同时获取了我们的私人信息,这是具有讽刺意味的。对大型科技和媒体的怀疑表现出我们的机构有很多缺陷,但这是否意味着我们应该放弃它们?Eyebeam报道的一位来自布鲁克林区的技术型艺术家,并不这么认为。
Can Artists Be Journalists? A New York Non-Profit Thinks the News Industry Would Benefit From Artists’ Involvement - 艺术家能成为记者吗?纽约非营利组织认为新闻业将受益于艺术家的参与
ECFJ编辑部主任,Marisa Mazria Katz,2018年。照片:Nicole Katz。
Eyebeam新闻中心(ECFJ)上周发起了一个艺术计划,将致力于支持有兴趣创作有关技术在社会中作用的新闻的艺术家:从数据隐私,人工智能和反对政治活动中的虚假信息。任何关注过2018年信息的读者都会认识到该计划的紧迫性和及时性。 ECFJ将促进在已有报纸、杂志和其他新闻来源上的艺术家和编辑之间的联系,同时在财务上支持艺术家的项目(该倡议由Craigslist基金会的Craig Newmark承保)。
认为像新闻媒体这样高度编纂的行业可能会受益于非专业人士的声音,这看起来是一种信仰的飞跃。但是,新闻业不仅仅总是由不同工作人员组成的乌合之众:从匿名来源到特约记者,到摄影师,摄像师和平面设计师。这是一个越来越容易被大众舆论和流行看法所左右的领域。在保持对“社交媒体革命”或埃里克施密特Eric Schmidt民主品牌合理怀疑的同时,不可否认是的,新闻媒体越来越依赖于崇尚残酷、高效,以社会为先导。在埃及革命的第一天,看看在Twitter上#J25话题标签的影响,以及YouTube如何在早期揭露叙利亚内战的广度(和恐怖)方面扮演的主要角色起到的作用。或者以匿名的叙利亚电影团体Abounaddara为例,在战火与反人道主义迫害期间,他们坚守一种“对图像的权利”(rights to the image),持续地通过互联网传播平凡叙利亚人的日常片段,以此来进行对国家真实情况的披露,以及公民监督政权、质疑政府的要求。
Can Artists Be Journalists? A New York Non-Profit Thinks the News Industry Would Benefit From Artists’ Involvement - 艺术家能成为记者吗?纽约非营利组织认为新闻业将受益于艺术家的参与
Arundhati Roy和John Cusack,《能说和不能说的事》,2016年,书籍封面。图片:Haymarket Books。
Arundhati Roy and John Cusack, Things that Can and Cannot Be Said, 2016, book cover. Courtesy: Haymarket Books。
除了这种信仰的飞跃之外,ECFJ还提出了一个问题:艺术家是否有责任和能力在媒体主导的政治话语中发挥作用? ECFJ强调技术在社会中的作用,这与其编辑总监玛丽莎·马兹里亚·卡茨在创作时间报告(CTR)上所做的一些项目相呼应。 CTR是一项长达五年的计划,直到2017年在纽约非营利组织创意时间,CTR委托艺术家调查当天的紧迫问题。一个CTR项目Katz引用当我们通过电话谈论ECJF时看到艺术家Trevor Paglen用直升机拍摄美国国家安全局NSA总部的夜间视图,目的是创建美国监视机制的图像,这是一种故意在黑暗中保存的装置。与The Intercept合作制作 - 由电影制片人Laura Poitras和记者Glenn Greenwald和Jeremy Scahill创作的数字杂志 - 这些图像是根据知识共享许可证发布的,用于在“卫报”等媒体网站上展示国家安全局的文章,以及John Cusack和Arundhati Roy 2016年出版的“能说和不能说的事情”的封面,以及对举报人Edward Snowden爱德华·斯诺登的采访和访谈的集合。
ECFJ将采用CTR支持的联合出版模式,支持从媒体机构获得佣金的艺术家的项目(此外,Katz正积极寻求建立潜在媒体合作伙伴网络)。 “报纸不一定能够进行这类项目,”Katz在我们的谈话中解释说,“所以我们可以成为那个机构。”同样,已经拥有艺术家新闻驻留的Eyebeam将使用ECFJ计划作为一种将其艺术家网络扩展到其布鲁克林居住地之外的方式,与世界各地的艺术家联系,他们的工作与技术紧密结合,并可能从主流分销渠道中受益,观众和读者也一定会受益。
艺术家的声音——音乐家、诗人,从事数据可视化工作的艺术家、制作纪录片、制作图像或撰写他们作为公民和文化生产者的经验——在媒体这个包罗万象的领域比以往任何时候都更加必要。面对新技术带来的挑战和可能性,我们已经学会了利用各种数据漏洞,渗入,操纵肉鸡和造谣等方法,将技术进步与社会进步等同起来是一种危险的游戏。
新闻传统——询问和怀疑,报道和揭露——也必须告知我们与技术的关系。我们都应该扪心自问,是否如此甘愿接受平台和网络,是因为它们很方便,或是因为它们很快就变得如此根深蒂固,以至于我们无法自拔。许多人面前的技术进步,对艺术家来说,可能只是一种抵制自我感受的无能为力,无力感的根源在于这些结构太大而无法抗争,或者需要用已有的知识储备来参与其批判性话语。
再看一下ECFJ旨在涵盖的主题列表:人工智能,数据隐私,错误信息——以及一个简单的事实:这些对于艺术家来说都是新闻记者的命题。
题图:Eyebeam办公室,布鲁克林,2018年。照片:Joanna Gould
作者:
Orit Gat
Orit Gat是一位驻伦敦和纽约的作家,他在当代艺术和数字文化方面的文章在各种杂志上发表。

FRIZE特稿 ARThing编译

 

Can Artists Be Journalists? A New York Non-Profit Thinks the News Industry Would Benefit From Artists’ Involvement -

At the 2013 Google Zeitgeist Conference, a yearly gathering at a fancy English hotel with a programme pitched somewhere between Davos and TED Talks, Eric Schmidt, then Google’s CEO, discussed the emancipatory power of technology. Schmidt speculated how mobile phone cameras might prevent atrocities by exposing them: ‘somebody would have figured out and somebody would have reacted to prevent this terrible carnage,’ he said of the Rwandan genocide. It’s one of countless examples of a Silicon Valley executive touting technology’s revolutionary potential. But with our mounting mistrust of the corporations, platforms and algorithms that deliver us information as they harvest our own, it reads as ironic. The suspicion of big tech and media communicates just how flawed our institutions are, but does that mean we should give up on them? One institution, Eyebeam, a Brooklyn-based residency for artists whose work engages with technology, doesn’t think so.

 

Launched last week, the Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism (ECFJ) will work to support artists interested in producing journalism on subjects relating to the role of technology in society: from data privacy, artificial intelligence and countering disinformation in political campaigns. Any person reading this in 2018 will recognize the scheme’s urgency and timeliness. ECFJ will facilitate the connection between artists and editors at established newspapers, magazines and other news sources, while supporting the artists’s projects financially (the initiative is underwritten by the Craig Newmark – of Craigslist – Foundation).

It might seem like a leap of faith to believe that such a highly-codified industry as news media might benefit from non-specialist voices. But then, journalism has not only always been made up of a motley crew of disparate workers: from anonymous sources and stringers, to photographers, videographers and graphic designers. Increasingly it is a field where access to popular opinion and citizen journalism shapes its very work. While maintaining a healthy scepticism of ‘social media revolutions’ or the Eric Schmidt brand of democracy, there’s no denying news media increasingly depends on its scrappier, agile, social-prefixed sister. See the influence of the #J25 hashtag on Twitter during the first days of the Egyptian Revolution and how YouTube played a major role in exposing the breadth (and horror) of the Syrian Civil War early on. Or take the film collective Abounaddara, for example, who have been posting videos of Syrian people’s daily lives online, as a way of allowing for an honest image of the country, and citizens’s demands of their contested government.

 

Beyond this leap of faith, the ECFJ puts forward a question: do artists have a responsibility and role to play in our media-led political discourse? ECFJ’s emphasis on the role of technology in society echoes some of the previous projects worked on by its Editorial Director Marisa Mazria Katz at Creative Time Reports (CTR). A five-year-long initiative which ran until 2017 at the New York nonprofit Creative Time, CTR commissioned artists to investigate pressing issues of the day. One CTR project Katz cited when we talked over the phone about ECJF saw artist Trevor Paglen shoot night-time views of the NSA’s headquarters from a helicopter, with the intention of creating an image of the US surveillance mechanism, an apparatus kept intentional in darkness. Made in partnership with The Intercept – the digital magazine created by filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalists Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill – the images were released on a Creative Commons license and were used to illustrate articles on the NSA in such media outlets as The Guardian, as well as on the cover of John Cusack and Arundhati Roy’s 2016 book Things that Can and Cannot Be Said, a collection of essays and interviews with whistleblower Edward Snowden.

ECFJ will adopt the co-publishing model championed by CTR by supporting projects by artists who have secured a commission from a media outlet (in addition, Katz is actively seeking to establish a network of potential media partners). ‘Newspapers don’t necessarily have the means to produce these kinds of projects,’ Katz explains in our conversation, ‘so we can be that institution.’ Likewise Eyebeam, which already has a journalism residency for artists, will use the ECFJ initiative as a way of expanding its artist network beyond its Brooklyn-based residency, to connect with artists around the world whose work critically engages with technology and may benefit from mainstream distribution channels.

Viewers and readers must surely benefit too. The voices of artists – musicians and poets, artists who work in data visualization, make documentaries, produce images or write about their experiences as citizens and cultural producers – are more necessary than ever in a field as all-encompassing as the technologies it uses. To face the challenges and possibilities that new technologies pose, we have learnt the hard way – through the various data breaches, leaks, rigs and scandals – that equating technological advancement with societal progress is a dangerous game. The traditions of journalism – to inquire and doubt, to report and bring to light – must also inform our relationship to technology. We should all be asking ourselves whether we are too willing to accept platforms and networks because they are convenient or because they quickly become so engrained in societies that we can no longer opt out. To look to artists might be a way of countering the powerlessness that many people feel in the face of technological advancement, rooted in the idea that these structures are too big to fight or that a preexisting technical knowledge is required to participate in its critical discourse. Look again at the list of subjects ECFJ aims to cover – artificial intelligence, data privacy, misinformation – and a simple truth emerges: these are just as much questions for artists as journalists.

Main image: Eyebeam office, Brooklyn, 2018. Photograph: Joanna Gould

Orit Gat

Orit Gat is a writer based in London and New York whose work on contemporary art and digital culture has been published in a variety of magazines.

 




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