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ArtWiki.org started with the 7th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art as an open platform for artists to share artist biographies as a free and open historiography for contemporary art.

In November 2010 curator Artur Żmijewski announced a call to artists from all over the world, asking them to send in artistic material as part of the research of the 7th Berlin Biennale. In addition to the standard information usually requested in such a call (documentation of art works and projects, CVs, etc.), it included the following addition, which generated attention in and of itself:

As the research also focuses on the question of whether artists consider themselves to be political, please inform us about your political inclination (e.g. rightist, leftist, liberal, nationalist, anarchist, feminist, masculinist, or whatever you may identify yourself with) or whether you are interested in politics at all.

The call was published in various languages. The Berlin Biennale ultimately received over 5,000 submissions in reaction to the Open Call.

In response, we invited all those who sent materials to become artists of the digital venue of the Berlin Biennale. Together with Berlin-based media activist and writer Pit Schultz we developed ArtWiki, a digital art library based on the model of Wikipedia, which is a sustainable project that will continue into the future. It aims to present artists as political and social entities, to lay open the artistic resources of our society and abandon the typical curatorial stance of a politics of selection and exclusivity. Furthermore, art representation on the Internet has been strongly dominated and positioned by market speculation and financial interests, and artists are often hesitant to upload their work for fear of it being misappropriated or even stolen.

ArtWiki is the tool through which we want to extend the Biennale exhibition and create an open, not-for-profit platform for information exchange for artists, their activities, and their political standpoints, to show today’s spectrum of artistic attitudes. ArtWiki is also a form of social contract, which is about free exchange of information and trust—something very unusual in times when the art system is based on fully controlled access to art works, images, and even ideas.

 by Joanna Warsza

On ArtWiki you can …

  • publish and maintain your artist profile online.
  • express your artistic and political opinion.
  • edit your own data and approve suggestions by others.
  • access a free and open resource of artist biographies and share it.
  • research and link to other artist biographies.

First steps:

  • Check your user account data if everything is right and change what’s needed.
  • Review your artist profile data and add or change what’s missing.
  • You are especially encouraged to add a detailed artistic statement
  • you can select from a list of art schools and choose your prefered art movement
  • please feel invited to enter your polical inclination and political opinion if you didn’t already.
  • you can also erase your profile.
  • there are no private data such as postal adress, phone numbers made public or even stored. your email address will be only used for messages from ArtWiki.

In the Future:

  • In the next phase we will add CV data and portfolio pictures.
  • Keep yourself updated via the newsletter.
  • We invite you to supply suggestions and criticisms.
  • Open up the database to more artists.
  • After the exhibition a freeze of the complete data will be donated to a public library for long time archiving.