David Stocks is currently the Senior Strategic Planner at POSSIBLE, a global digital agency that offers itsclients award-winning digital strategy, performance marketing, and creative design. Stocks brings previous experience from WPP and Added Value, where he was the brand strategist for brands including Pepsie and Absolut. The Makegood recently spoke with Stocks about ART140, a website that will create engagement among the art community.
The Makegood: POSSIBLE, a creative agency, in conjunction with The Museum of Modern Art, has launched ART140, a website that showcases pieces of art from MoMA’s collection. What is the purpose of launching this website, and why did you feel that this would be an effective tool?
The purpose of ART140 is to create the most democratic and engaged art community in the world. And, by doing so, we hope to answer one of life’s biggest questions: what is the meaning of art? The site launch at SXSW was just the first step in the creation of this platform. Intentionally designed to be very simple, ArtOneForty.com combines a single-minded call to action and Twitter API integration. This enables us to aggregate all contributions into a single environment revealing where each participant’s moment of art critique uniquely fits within the larger community. Thus far, we’ve been astounded by the creative and philosophical nature of the comments. Thesimple call to action overcomes the barrier to participation created by the complex and verbose language the art world often defaults to. By asking participants, “What does art make you think?” participants don’t feel the need to process their reaction, or to use language that doesn’t come naturally to them. Each of us see art uniquely.- this is why #ART140 will never trigger the same contribution twice.
The Makegood: As Senior Strategic Planner at POSSIBLE, could you provide insight on what this initiative means for consumers at large?
Social media provides an opportunity for consumers to participate directly with brands. However, we’re all familiar with the arbitrary conversations brands and consumers often find themselves having, usually unfocused and without purpose. A perusal of the ever-entertaining Condescending Corporate Brand Facebook Page provides ample evidence of the often ill thought-out attempts to create conversation simply to fill dead air.
The best brands take a different approach, and consumers appreciate them for it. They uncover a thematic focus that people genuinely care about and then drive highly-focused participation around it. Communities are strongest when they’re built around a shared goal where all members democratically contribute to its realization.
ART140 celebrates the vastly different types of people within the community and the infinitely varied contributions they make. Balancing the need to belong with the need to stand out creates an inclusive community, but one that also celebrates each individual. If brands can uncover the right theme and ask the right question, they will earn their consumers’ attention and, in turn, compel them to participate.
The Makegood: Why was Twitter the social medium of choice for this initiative? How will the results of the initiative be measured, and what do you hope to achieve with the results?
140 characters forces contributors to pare down their interpretations to the core. It forces participants to chip away everything beyond a single-minded, simple definition of what a work of art means, and why it deserves to matter. As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Demonstrating an understanding doesn’t mean being equipped with knowledge, it means having a clear idea of what a work of art makes you think. Changing the format of art communication doesn’t mean taking the experts out of the picture, it just means leveling the playing field. Whether you are an artist, curator, academic or a non-expert, ART140 asks you to communicate in the same way- a way that everyone can understand.
The success of ART140 will be measured by our ability to ask that same single, profound question: “What is the meaning of art?” To do this, we will ask a series of deeper and more intricate questions. Questions that enable us to understand the importance of our cultural conditioning on our perception of art.
Does a work of art evoke consistent or contradictory emotions and themes in people from different geographies and generations?
Are there any differences between the reactions we’re measuring via Twitter today versus the meaning that was attributed to works of art at the moment of their creation 1 year, 50 years, or 100 years ago?
The Makegood: How successful has this collaboration been thus far? Do you hope to expand this internationally?
We launched this idea at SXSW and received a very positive reception both in the presentation we gave with MoMA and with the press, visits and tweets. We continue to see traffic growing and we hope to continue to see increased tweets to gain deeper insights. We will continue to promote ArtOneForty.com in social and other channels, and we hope to unveil some of those insights closer to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in June.
The Makegood: Will ART140 be an ongoing initiative? Do you plan to have more projects like this in the future?
We want to do for art what Wikipedia did for shared knowledge, Tumblr did for creative expression, Instagram did for the amateur photographer, and Twitter has already done for citizen journalists. Our vision is for ART140 to become the most democratic and engaged art community in the world. We have a growth strategy that we believe will get us there, but we’re not going to disclose those details at this stage.
The Makegood: Thank you, David.