CPOV researcher Juliana Brunello interviewed the Amsterdam-based graphic designer Hendrik Jan Grievink about his Wikipedia-related work.
What was the compelling reason for you to get involved in a project concerning Wikipedia?
As a designer, I dedicate myself to inventing new ways of understanding the world through images. I use existing images in almost every project: the Fake for Real memory game I showed during the conference is a good example of this. This is a game that pairs images to make a statement about simulation in ourl world. Another example would be the Next Nature book (to be published early 2011 by Actar, Barcelona). This book talks about what we call ‘culturally emerged nature’, or ‘the nature caused by people’. Through hundreds of images and observations we analyse the influence of technology and design on our daily lives. These projects can be looked up on respectively http://www.fakeforreal.com and http://www.nextnature.net
A lot of images that we use are created by ourselves (co-editor Koert van Mensvoort and me) but even more come from all kinds of sources: some traceable, others not. We strive to credit all authors and would love to pay them a good fee for using their material – if this was possible, which it isn’t. Paying for all visual content would quadruplicate the costs of such a publication, which would make it impossible to get published. As for the credit part: we will always credit artists for creative images, but for small or generic images – even commercial ones, we’re not going to do this, it’s just way too time-consuming. Also, a lot of the times it’s realy hard to trace back the origins of an image in today’s copy/paste culture.
When I heard of the Wiki Loves Art contest I was immediately sympathetic to the initiative, because I think these kinds of best-practise projects are crucial to change the way people (in this case: museums and cultural institutions) think about intellectual property. They have to realise that limiting the availability of resources limits cultural production in a very direct way. Next to that, I am interested in everything that signals new forms of cultural production and the crowdsourced archiving of images certainly does that.