This is an extract of the full interview to Viviana Mei (Open Art Images) made by Marina Cotugno for Medium.
The first philosopher interested on the impact of the reproducibility of works of art on mass culture, Walter Benjamin, noted in 1931 how easier it is to get a hold of a work of art in a photograph rather than in reality.
The understanding of great works was transformed at about the same time the techniques of reproduction were being developed. They can no longer be regarded as the works of individuals; they have become a collective creation […]. In the final analysis, mechanical reproduction is a technique of diminution that helps men to achieve a control over works of art without whose aid they could no longer be used.
Walter Benjamin, A Short History of Photography, 1931
The digitasation of cultural heritage for a better online fruition amplify even more art’s social function. Looking for and finding reproductions of artworks has never been easier. The same about their consequent creative reuse that makes us producers and co-producers of content, rather than just users.
Nevertheless, finding high-quality images of artworks onto the web is no an easy task. To solve this problem, the art director and web designer Viviana Mei has conceived a search engine for open access images of artworks: Open Art Images.
I spoke with Viviana to discover more about this interesting project.
Open Art Images is a project that you designed and created yourself. It’s still in a beta version, so how would you like to develop it in the future?
Currently, the OAI released is a Beta version of the website, that’s totally self-produced. To make it grow over time and in order to add important new features, we need to find some kind of funding, ideally through partnerships or donations. We are sure that we could find people or institutions interested in collaborating and investing in the project to make it grow together.
However, the website is only a part of the project. The art of reuse as theme is just as important to me. In fact, though the digitilisation process, the artworks became ephemeral and thanks to that they can acquire new concreteness and new meanings through download and reuse, making a flow of creative regeneration. […] I would like Open Art Images to continue to move on these two parallel tracks in the future. The technical one and the creative one.
This is an extract of the full interview made by Marina Cotugno for Medium.