Through the arts research project TransCoding (funded by the Austrian Science Fund as
PEEK AR 259-G21) we wish to encourage participation in the development of a musical-multimedia show and an audiovisual installation by offering participatory culture via the web 2.0.
Since February 2014, the TransCoding team has built a network of various social media channels around a main hub, the WordPress site what-ifblog.net. Here we introduce our topics of multimedia art and contemporary (art) music, community participation, and the ongoing creation of our show under the categories "Art we love", "You, us and the project", and "Making of", respectively. In a fourth category we choose "identity" as our main topic for the content of the show and the blog. The concept of identity offers a framework for the project that is universally relevant and unites our otherwise diverse international community members.
The blog is our main contact point with our community, currently at more than 1000 members, and affords them the opportunity to participate in our project. Via calls for entries we encourage our visitors to contribute images, sounds, and texts that we incorporate in our artwork. Through our social media channels we invite to speak out, share discourse and take influence on the creation of our artwork, thus empowering our followers to express their own identities and participate in the creative process.
We afford our community members authority in shaping our work and offer them a platform to meet and make their interest clear. As we invite contributors to exercise influence in the joint artwork, we look at change as viewed through the power relationship between artist and community. The (commonly) hierarchic relationship between the artist and audience/followers is being changed into one of permeability and mutual influence.
Consequently we explore not only how the artist as researcher can engender social change, but also how the participating community can do so through their contributions to the project. By delving into the participants' motivations, we learn more about their interests as well as about their reasons for creating and for wanting to be a part of our participatory community. The romantic principle of the individual composer-genius working beyond established rules or external controls is obsolete for us; we investigate the role of the artist within this community
and ask how granting creative influence to our community alters traditional (power) models of artist-audience relation and if the interaction consequently adds meaning to both.
TransCoding is located at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz/Austria.
1. Introduction: Introduction to TransCoding-From 'Highbrow Art' to Participatory Culture: what is it about and who is involved?
2. Methodology: Positioning ourselves as researchers and artists in the respective fields and introducing the central artworks and the strategies employed in our research project.
3. Case studies: Detailed investigation on the level and the area in which we grant authority in decision-making to our community. Outline of areas of success and conflict our project yields.
4. Conclusion: Demonstration of how TransCoding engenders social and/or artistic change.