6PM YOUR LOCAL TIME (6PM YLT) is a networked, distributed, one night contemporary art event taking place simultaneously in different locations,coordinated from one central venue and documented online via a web application.
The locations (institutions, non-profit spaces, commercial galleries, artist’s studios) will address their local audience and, through the dedicated web platform, a global audience. While visiting your local 6PM YLT event(s) will allow you to experience a single portion first hand, the only way to get the whole picture will be to access its online documentation: all exhibits will be documented and shared in real time by organizers and audience on the dedicated web platform, thanks to a web application aggregating content from different social platforms.
The lead partner will coordinate the event from one central venue, and will put on display the event itself, screening the live feed from all the locations involved, and eventually making additional documentation available in different ways, ie. arranging video conferences with specific venues, or printing out images in real time and displaying them as a wall installation.
An Open Format
6PMYLT is a format conceived by the Link Art Center and developed in collaboration with Abandon Normal Devices (AND) and Gummy Industries. These lead partners will develop the platform and work with a network of artists, galleries and institutions to organize a small “pilot” event, 6PM YLT UK, and a massive launch event, 6PM YLT Europe.
After the launch event, 6PMYLT will become an open format available for anyone to utilise. The lead partners will maintain the platform and support the coordination of events all around the world.
Anyone will be able to organize a 6 PM YOUR LOCAL TIME event following these simple instructions:
1. fix a date for your event;
2. invite your network of artists, museums and art institutions, no-profit organizations, commercial galleries to take part in it;
3. contact the lead partners to get access to the web platform and download the customizable logo.
Today, art is mostly experienced through its documentation. Even if globalization made it easier and cheaper to organize exhibitions, ship artworks, invite artists and move audiences to any part of the world, the excess of cultural activity all around the world makes it impossible to be everywhere at the same time. Bits are still faster and cheaper than atoms, and we can enjoy them more comfortably on different devices.
The border between first hand and second hand experience, reality and media documentation becomes increasingly blurred. This had a profound impact on the way art is produced and documented, and spawned the rise of a number of exhibition spaces – that artist and writer Brad Troemel dubbed “dual sites” – whose main target is an online audience reached through online documentation.
This, together with an economic crisis that is becoming endemic, invites us to rethink exhibitions as a way to circulate artworks and make a cultural statement. Why to ship artworks when they can be put on show in your own space, and become part of a global art event through their own documentation? Why to work on a specific node, when you can rely on a network?
The context in which documentation is perceived not as representation but primary experience (Oliver Laric) has been nurtured along the last years by such websites as VVORK and Contemporary Art Daily.
The second decade of the century has seen the advent of different platform projects, such as Bring Your Own Beamer (BYOB), launched by artist Rafael Rozendaal in 2010, and Speed Shows, conceived by artist Aram Bartholl in the same year. Both formats are based on the application of simple rules to allow the organization of events that are documented on dedicated web platforms. Although dozens of BYOBs and Speed Shows have been organized, the single event is less important than the format itself, as it becomes part of a perpetual flow of images.
6PM YLT is also indebted with various online projects based on content aggregation in order to provide a live feed on a specific topic of interest: how the way a city is represented by tourists change over time, or how memes like the “artselfie” develop and change over time.
How it works
Almost every art-addict is now using social networks like Instagram and Twitter to take photographs and short clips during art exhibitions and to share them with their contacts. The pictures already have some meta-data that we could use to trace them and to collect them: most of the people use #hashtags or captions to describe them, some pictures have geographical data in them and all of them have a “publishing date”.
By suggesting the use of a given #hashtag to all the organizers and audience participants, we can collect and show all this documentation on a dedicated web platform.
Our software will automatically collect all the pictures, tweets, and videos produced about the 6PM YLT event, and will show them on a map (using geographical data) or on a timeline. Technically speaking, the software (a web application, that runs in the browser) will search for all the content with a specific #hashtag (for instance: #6pmuk or #6pmeurope) and display it.
Additional information (location, time of the shot, etc.) may be associated to each image as a caption. Unrelated images associated with the event with an improper use of the #hashtag will be detected and removed from the flow. Before the event we will see the attention and the number of pictures growing, and during the day of the event we will see a massive increase of the content produced. After the event we will be able to collect all of the content that would have been produced, store it and use it for a publication.