Thursday, 1 March 2007

UK exhibition - wherefore art thou?

When I first started working on ArtsPlace I had in mind that I would do a new exhibition every month. Yeah, right! That rapidly slipped to doing a new exhibition every two months. And the reality... well, visitors to ArtsPlace will note that I haven't yet got beyond my first two exhibitions :-(.

I'm not too worried by this. Traffic to the current exhibitions remains reasonably healthy - note that I'm still intending to do some analysis of how many visitors I'm getting on a daily and weekly basis.

So, why is it so hard to do my third exhibition? Well, in part, I'd simply under-estimated the time required to build new exhibitions. I have other interests in SL, and therefore the time available for building my next exhibition isn't as much as it was for the first two.

More importantly though, the trouble lies in finding suitable material. In looking around for my third exhibition I set myself the aim of using a UK collection. I've considered a couple of collections at the AHDS, but made little progress - by and large, a lot of digitised UK content is made available on a 'personal use' basis. Re-using such a collection for an exhibition in SL would fall outside of this, and would therefore require significant negotiation to gain the necessary permissions. As an aside I'm slightly worried that such licencing seems to be the norm in the UK and I don't really understand why.

As far as I can tell, almost everything in the American Memory collection at the Library of Congress is in the public domain. Re-using it is therefore relatively painless. This doesn't seem to be the norm in the UK (though perhaps I'm guilty of extrapolating from a very small sample?).

I'm also tempted by putting up an exhibition of Illegal Art - not that this is UK-centric in any way. But it is an interesting collection of stuff. So far though, I've allowed myself to get cold feet about being sued for hosting this stuff in SL. Shame on me!

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