Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Social art

One of the advantages of today's social web is that you can get a constant stream of recommendations and tips from friends and applications that can sometimes lead you to discovering new books, music, films and interests. In the early days of the net we simply surfed, often aimlessly from one link to another and now and then you stumbled upon something really interesting that you didn't know existed.

Today we get recommendations based on profiles, previous purchases, friends and preferences. Amazon were one of the first to offer this and now you can't go far without a message telling you that if you liked A you might also like B, C and D. It's all highly mathematical of course, based on increasingly complex algorithms, but the aim is that the recommendations will eventually reach the level of serendipity - when you stumble upon something you didn't know you wanted but realize is exactly right. A future web 3.0 will allegedly know so much about our preferences and interests that it can serve us with serendipitous links.

Now the art world is going social with a new social art site called Artfinder . The concept is similar to other social applications; you are lead through a selection of paintings and asked to select your favourites. Artfinder will learn your preferences and then begin to suggest other works and artists that you might also like. The more you use the service the better the recommendations.

They can't cover the entire art world since many art galleries are not so keen to share their works on the net but Artfinder has signed up a representative selection from many famous galleries. The idea is to help beginners learn about different styles and schools of art and to build on their interest. Once you dip in you can soon get immersed and the recommendations keep coming.

It's a bit like Spotify for art and you can build up your own virtual collection, share with friends, discuss and collect. For that serendipitous effect there's even a shuffle button that offers a random selection of works.

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