We had the pleasure and honor to participate in the 13th event of Pecha Kucha Tel Aviv. Pecha Kucha is an exciting format where each presenter has 20*20seconds slides to get their message across. PK-TLV runs the largest PK events in the world and the 4000 tickets sold out in less than 2 hours. We thank those of you who came to see us live and especially our amazing hosts: Anat Safran and Itay Mauntner.
Here’s a video of the presentation (Hebrew for now, subtitles would come soon). Thanks!
On Tuesday, May 15th Yuval Saar, design reporter for Haaretz, published a lengthy interview with us about the Wikipedia Illustrated project. The article was first published in Hebrew and then translated and published in English on the Haaretz.com site.
The interview covers some of the themes we discuss through images in the blog and it goes especially into the suspicions raised by our peer illustrators, who are less excited about disappearing within the endless pages of Wikipedia.
To the surprise of some (not us) the comments quickly turned negative. This project is obviously seen as provocative to many who insist on an automatic rejection of the visual contribution idea. Some stated the need to keep illustrations technical, others went as far as warning us to stay off their Wikipediaâ€¦
Here are a few notable comments translated into English:
03 – No illustration and no nothing. Let Wikipedia be. It’s an important encyclopedia and as such it is not supposed to be entertaining or visually pleasing
If you want, you can make a Wikipedia for children (like there is a Jerusalem Post in light Hebrew for new immigrants), there you can put illustrations and Flash effects as far as you can imagine.
But leave this reservoir to people who don’t want to be distracted.
â€”Don’t touch my wiki
13 – The Illustrations themselves are beautiful
Though from the examples stated in the article it is not clear how much they fit as illustrations to an encyclopedic article, but in my opinion it is an interesting experiment to challenge the Wikipedian character and to offer it a more artistic extension. Maybe there’s room for “artistic impressions” under articles, maybe on a separate page (like the talk page) and maybe otherwise.
Maybe there’s room for things like that in Wikipedia and maybe not, one thing for sure, comments like the ones above (most of them, unfortunately), helps to make certain the fastened stiffening of Wikipedia and the closing of its community. Maybe it’s a good thing, I don’t know, but a mix of ideas and new approaches is mostly a useful thing for long term projects, so maybe also not.
Either way, one thing is for sure, Wikipedians don’t have a sense of humor, or a sense of art.
15 – In my opinion this is a beautiful project
I don’t really understand the fuss in the comments – the analysis of the articles is artistic and associative – it’s a personal project and in my opinion the idea is charming and it’s actually very refreshing that the illustration is not one to one. The beauty of Wikipedia is that it’s a platform open to the public, and in that it is also open to artistic interpretation on the side of the article. It is clear and obvious that Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia that is written by the wide public and hence it would feature different types of expression of information and now also an illustrative analysis.
There was more back and forth going on in the comments on the Hebrew version of the article which you can probably get some sense of through Google Translate. Overall, we’re very excited about the heated debate. It is after all exactly the conversation we want to have, and this interview was a great opportunity to start having it.
Another interesting effect of this exposure is that it seems some vigilante Wikipedia editors have decided to go on a crusade and remove each of our illustrations from Wikipedia. But on that we would follow on a separate postâ€¦
Hey guys, we’re happy to announce we’ll be participating at the 13th Pecha Kucha Tel Aviv event, trying to blast through 20 slides in 6:40 minutes. The lineup this time is pretty phenomenal, be sure to get your tickets now (the 4000 tickets usually run out in 2 hours or so)
A few months ago we’ve received a great illustration for the “Moustache” article. The illustration was designed by Yanka as a vector poster featuring 12 different moustache types, as described in the Wikipedia article.
The poster has been featured on the Wikipedia article but since Wikipedia’s layout requires small thumbnail images and does not allow for convenient zoom-in features, the details are lost and the text is unreadable. Following the discussion on the site we realized this is actually a great opportunity for us to explore the collaborative potential of vector illustration. Since Wikipedia does support thumbnail galleries, it would actually be more useful to separate the different moustache illustrations into separate files and have each one of them enjoy the full size of the frame.
I have used Yanka’s file, played with the colors a bit to use a color tone more representative of the moustache, and created 12 different SVG files. They are now proudly featured as their own Moustache styles gallery in the Wikipedia article page.
The ash heap of history (or often garbage heap of history or dustbin of history) is a figurative place to where objects such as persons, events, artifacts, ideologies, etc. are relegated when they are forgotten or marginalized in history.
The Little Albert Experiment was a horrifying yet fascinating breakthrough in Classical Conditioning. It shows just how much influence the design of the learning environment has over children’s educations.
Same goes for the design of user interfaces. An interface to a social software conditions the culture of the community that coalesces round it. In Wikipedia’s case, the heavily-text-based, highly technical editing interface conditions the culture of the Wikipedia community and the character of its editors. It defines the tone of the invitation to collaborate.
What Do You See? What Do You Get?
Other editing interfaces might follow the WYSIWYG approach (What You See Is What You Get), in which the editing screen attempts to resemble the published result. However, Wikipedia’s interface expects its editors to be trained and versed enough in its syntax to know how would the markup and signs translate into the article layout after hitting the “save” button. It also provides extensive tools for text formatting but very limited ones when it comes to the presentation of images.
Anyone can go in and edit a Wikipedia article, but there is a steep learning curve to mastering its unique syntax. It is reasonable to believe that the relative complexity of Wikipedia’s interface helps keeps outsiders from flooding the system with unorthodox edits. It serves as an implicit hazing ritual of sorts, making sure that by the time you have practiced the syntax and have mastered the interface, you are already assimilated into the community and conditioned to abide by its other regulations.
This classical conditioning serves as yet another barrier that stifles change in Wikipedia’s culture and prevents visual culture from developing alongside the more mature text-based collaboration model. And so, when considering Wikipedia’s collaborative model by looking at its editing interface, in a way, What You See Is What You Get.
The Little Albert experiment was a case study showing empirical evidence of classical conditioning in humans. It was conducted in 1920 by John B. Watson.
He felt that following the principles of classical conditioning, he could condition a child to fear another distinctive stimulus which normally would not be feared by a child.
After much fear-mongering of a ruthless storm heading our way, we actually had a great opening event with not a single drop of rain and quite a few drops of wine. We enjoyed some heated debates about the role of images in the construction of knowledge and were generally very pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response to the Wikipedia Illustrated room in the show.
Here are a few images from the opening, more detailed documentation of the installation will follow soon.
Oh and here’s a promo video made for the show by its curator Ran Kasmy Ilan, featuringâ€¦
Wikipedia Illustrated was invited to participate in Deviants, a new exhibition opening in the Israeli Center for Digital Art on February 18th. Deviants is an exhibition that deals with gestures. Deviating from the mass communicationâ€™s normal conditions, the artworks in the exhibition sabotage it. Participating artists: Orit Adar-Bechar, Dor Guez, Amir Yaziv, Elisheva Levy, Roy Menachem Markovich, Nir Evron, Galia Offri & Mushon Zer-Aviv (that’s us), Lenka Clayton, Alona Rodeh, Guy Saggee, missdata. Curator: Ran Kasmy- Ilan.
We will be presenting the project in a dedicated room with a special Wikipedia Illustrated installation translating the project into physical space. (here’s a sneak preview of the space during the installation process)
We hope to see you at the opening, in the following artist talks and events, and mainly back here in the site.
DRAFT a later version will be contributed to Wikipedia
During my second year in Bezalel, one of my projects was to illustrate aÂ Â psychiatricÂ syndrome calledÂ Folie Ã deux. This is a very rare complicated syndrome, and I hope that my illustration will help to better understand it.
This case study is taken from Enoch and Ball's 'Uncommon Psychiatric Syndromes' (2001, p181): Margaret and her husband Michael, both aged 34 years, were discovered to be suffering from folie Ã deux when they were both found to be sharing similar persecutory delusions. They believed that certain persons were entering their house, spreading dust and fluff and "wearing down their shoes". Both had, in addition, other symptoms supporting a diagnosis of emotional contagion, which could be made independently in either case