The Outsourced / Outsourcing User (part II)
Net culture BWPWAP was characterized by intimate communities based on shared special interests. In turn, the Web 2.0 era commercialized these communities into a mass culture based on harnessing user content. Today, we see cultural producers such as artists, researchers and journalists appropriating the mass culture of participation to their own ends. In this discussion about artistic and cultural production (following the logic that "crowdsourcing is the new outsourcing") we encounter two different approaches: “A Crowded Apocalypse” from the IOCOSE artist group and Florian A. Schmidt, whose research investigates the impact of the open-source movement on modes of production in design, with a particular focus on crowdsourcing methods. In IOCOSE’s project a detached global conspiracy is created by micro-outsourcing services and employing workers globally to become protesters in public space. In Florian A. Schmidt’s thesis, the ambiguity of the space in which crowdsourcing platforms operate is examined, with collaboration wavering between common-based peer production and the exploitation of a free workforce for commercial means.
Does crowdsourcing signal the advent of a simultaneously outsourced and outsourcing cultural producer turned prod-user? That is, would a prod-user be increasingly cut off from public support and be actively engaged in both the participation and exploitation of the crowd at the same time? This panel deals with the changing modalities of the user such as: user/prosumer, user/producer, user/outsourcer. It questions these binary relationships even further through artistic projects that play with these user positions between being exploited by and appropriating the imaginary investments of networked crowds.