Zoran Juresa i Bredgade Kunsthandel

Bredgade Kunsthandel er et af mine favorit-gallerier. Ikke fordi de i særlig grad har fantastiske kunstnere, men fordi alle tilknyttede altid er så venlige og imødekommende. Det er nok derfor, vi også har købt flere værker dér.

Seneste udstilling, jeg har set, er med den kroatiske arkitekt og maler Zoran Juresa. Jeg havde aldrig hørt om ham før, og jeg var ikke blevet specielt tilskyndet til at se udstillingen af de fotos af værkerne, jeg så på invitationen og Facebook. Men hold da op, når først man står foran billederne! Især ét billede gjorde mig helt blød i knæene, og jeg tænkte både på Turner, Klimt (farverne) og Monet, selvom billedet er aldeles abstrakt. Desværre – eller heldigvis – var det allerede solgt!

Igen var det en stor og særlig oplevelse at stå foran malerierne – en oplevelse man slet, slet ikke kunne forestille sig, når man så billederne på computeren. Kunst skal ses i virkeligheden – men det er godt at kunne orientere sig på nettet, så jeg vil gerne opfordre kunstnere og gallerier til at være gavmilde med billeder på nettet og at gøre sig umage med gengivelsen. Der sælges nok ikke ét eneste maleri mindre, fordi vi kan se gode repræsentationer af dem på nettet, snarere tværtimod.

Jeg ville gerne vise et af Juresas billeder her, men ikke ét af hans billeder på nettet har en CC (Creative Commons) licens, så jeg tør ikke, da han og/eller fotografen kan komme efter mig for brud på copyrighten. Og det har jeg altså ikke råd til! Jeg tænker, at de fleste kunstnere og gallerister slet ikke ved, at de har mulighed for at gøre dette – så lad mig foreslå det! Jeg har flere gange brugt egne fotos af værker her på bloggen, og det er faktisk heller ikke altid tilladt – men jeg tager chancen (og fotograferer kun skulpturer og værker af fx tekstil) og håber på, at kunstnerne faktisk sætter pris på, at jeg fortæller om deres værker! Ved du, at du bliver retsforfulgt, hvis du tager et billede af Den Lille Havfrue og lægger det på din blog?

Når man klikker på "labeled for noncommercial reuse" forsvinder ALLE billederne...
Når man klikker på “labeled for noncommercial reuse” forsvinder ALLE billederne…

Det minder mig om en årelang debat mellem museerne og fx Wikipedia om brugen af fotos af skatte fra kulturarven. Det sker stadig, at museer henvender sig til Wikipedia og beder om, at et foto af et maleri (et af dem, hvor kunstnerens copyright for længst er udløbet) bliver fjernet, fordi museet mener at have copyright til fotografiet af maleriet. Jeg synes, det er skammeligt, simpelthen, at museer, der forvalter vores allesammens kulturarv, sætter sig så tungt på den, at vi ikke må se billeder af fællesskabets kunstskatte i Wikipedia. Heldigvis har flere og flere museer taget skeen helt i den anden hånd og tilbyder nu fotos i høj opløsning – hurra for det. Se fx her hos Statens Museum for Kunst.

Share

Den svære kunst at søge på nettet

Denne serie om børn og deres færden på nettet startede med et kig på fremtiden.

Man kan godt lære børn, også små børn, hvordan man søger fornuftigt, det er ikke raketvidenskab. Man kan lære dem, at de øverste søgeresultater i det farvede felt er betalte annoncer, at de øverste resultater ikke nødvendigvis er de bedste, men måske kan bruges til at raffinere søgningen ved f.x. at finde frem til mere præcise søgeord. Og man kan lære dem, at “avanceret søgning” slet ikke er så avanceret endda og kan gøre enhver søgning meget lettere. Man kan forklare dem, hvad en synonym-ordbog er for noget, og forære dem (abonnement på) en.

Google

De lidt større børn kan man lære om principperne bag Wikipedia og de fordele og problemer, der er ved at bruge det. De kan nemlig sagtens overføres til ens generelle måde at tilnærme sig information på nettet. Wikipedia er en helt fantastisk kilde til information om nærmest hvad som helst (dog stadig mest den engelsksprogede Wikipedia), men på grund af dets åbenhed, må man altid tage dets oplysninger med et gran salt. Jo mere kontroversielt et emne, en Wikipedia-artikel omhandler, jo større er risikoen for, at artiklen har tendentiøst indhold. Når en Wikipedia-artikel er opbygget efter de klassiske principper for en leksikon-artikel, når der er mange henvisninger og mange uafhængige kilder, er det gerne et tegn på, at artiklen er af høj kvalitet.

Og det er faktisk præcis det samme uden for Wikipedia. På journalisthøjskolen lærer de unge mennesker, at der altid skal være mindst to kilder til en historie. Til en typisk leksikon-artikel skal der naturligvis være mange flere. Det princip kan børn sagtens forstå, når man blot forklarer dem det med rigelig brug af eksempler fra deres egen verden. Og har de først lært det, er de allerede blevet bedre til at søge end mange voksne!

Eksempel:

MGP – melodi grandprix for børn (søgning på MGP junior)

Det er afhængigt af tidspunktet på året, hvor højt DR’s MGP-side kommer i søgningen. Og naturligvis afhængigt af, om vores computer godt ved, at vi er i Danmark, og om vi altså søger på google.dk eller på google.com.

Hvis man skal lave en skoleopgave om MGP, har man brug for flere kilder end DRs egne sider, da en evt. kritik kun vil kunne findes der i meget begrænset omfang. Den skal man måske søge hos dagbladene? Går man ind i avanceret søgning, kan man søge udelukkende på danske avisers hjemmesider. Man kan også søge direkte i danske blogs, hvis man bruger avanceret søgning. På den måde kan der hurtigt og effektivt fremskaffes en lang række kilder, som man derefter kan se nærmere på.

MGPsøgning

Alt efter børnenes alder og fritidsinteresser kan der findes interessante ting at søge efter – jo bedre børnene selv kender til et emne, jo bedre fungerer en søgning som øjenåbner for dem, fordi de ved selvsyn kan se al den fejlinformation, der findes derude. Derefter er det meget lettere at forstå, at der findes ligeså meget fejlinformation – eller mere – om emner, som de ikke ved noget om.

 

Share

An Apple a day

As today is a very special day for all us Apple-geeks, I’ll use some of the horrible hours of waiting to present to you a bit of nerdy news. We’re talking everything from strictly business to strictly silly.

There’s always new stuff to enhance your work/pleasure time in front of the screen. @4nd3rs from Danish Radio’s brilliant tech-programme Harddisken recommends this extra security for G-mail. Given the latest scare with G-mail accounts that disappeared (not really, they are all restored by now), this might be a good idea. Another very practical thingummy is Amplify, an add-on for Firefox and Chrome, which will let you clip and save anything on the page you’re on for instant mailing, blogging, tweeting, FB’ing or whatever. Really smart!

Do you listen to audio books? I do, occasionally, when all the brilliant podcasts aren’t filling up my time. Audiobooks, however, are often quite expensive, so there’s a natural limit to how many you’ll listen to. Funzafunza, also from the above mentioned Harddisken, mentioned Librivox, a truly original concept where you can find public domain books read by “normal people”. I’ve downloaded Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, a book I’ve wanted to read for ages. Next plane-ride, I’ll listen to it. The reader of this particular novel, a woman, doesn’t have the most pleasing voice on the planet, but I’m sure I’ll get used to her as I listen along. And, there may be other books there, read by more pleasant-sounding people. Anyway, I think it’s a brilliant concept! Do you have a pleasant voice, do you like reading to others and do you love an old book, why not give it a chance and contribute? I will, as soon as I have half a day to spend…

The eternal discussion of whether social media and the web in general is distracting us from true immersion in work, reading, etc. and making us into flimsy flutterers goes on and on. I’m biased, so I’ll only link to people who agree with me. *smirks*. Here’s the honourable Jeff Jarvis on the subject. He links back to the weightiest of previous articles in American media. It was @Elnif who pointed to that one.

And then there’s that there Twitter. Here’s what I’ve read lately on that subject. This in the Guardian, helping the positively curious to make heads and tails of it. This is a funny but not untrue infographic about the process of getting into Twitter.

Lately, I’ve been adding my bit to posterity, in this case Danish Wikipedia. Working with Wikipedia is not easy, it’s not at all like blogging, but as I’m incredibly stubborn I just keep at it. Also, I get help from kind Wikipedians (and also some pointing with a very big stick from less kind Wikipedians). So this well researched article about why women don’t contribute more (13%) to Wikipedia really hit home.

Where would you like to work if you could choose? Fast Company has picked the 50 most innovative companies. Together with Fortune’s Top 100 over the best companies to work for, we have a good starting point. That said, I’m totally happy working for myself. I’m such a nice boss, really, even though the salary s*cks.

Finally, we need something about language (from @stensamler), books and books (from @bogtyven).

Oh, and more books. (Would have loved to have embedded this charming, artistic and funny video. But since, apparently, they use a tune that Sony owns the copyright to, it can only be watched directly on Youtube. Bah!)

Share

Wikipedia is cool

Lately I’ve been writing essays for a course I’m taking at Uni called “Source Reliability”. Readers of this blog will know that I’m rather keen on this subject. We get our essays accepted or not accepted – they aren’t graded. But the professor comments on them, and he liked my latest essay. It’s about Wikipedia and has a debacle between the science journal Nature and Encyclopaedia Britannica as its starting point. If you haven’t heard about the debacle, here’s what it says in Wikipedia (and it’s in fact quite a correct description):

On 14 December 2005, the scientific journal Nature reported that, within 42 randomly selected general science articles, there were 162 mistakes in Wikipedia versus 123 in Britannica. In its detailed 20-page rebuttal, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. characterized Nature’s study as flawed and misleading and called for a “prompt” retraction. It noted that two of the articles in the study were taken from a Britannica year book, and not the encyclopedia; another two were from Compton’s Encyclopedia (called the Britannica Student Encyclopedia on the company’s web site). The rebuttal went on to mention that some of the articles presented to reviewers were combinations of several articles, and that other articles were merely excerpts but were penalized for factual omissions. The company also noted that several facts classified as errors by Nature were minor spelling variations, and that several of its alleged errors were matters of interpretation. Nature defended its story and declined to retract, stating that, as it was comparing Wikipedia with the web version of Britannica, it used whatever relevant material was available on Britannica’s website.

Below find my essay – only edited slightly for use here (no footnotes etc.). If you can’t be bothered to read the whole thing – about a 1000 words – then scroll down to the bottom. There’s my tips for what to think about before you delve into a Wikipedia article.

The battle between Encyclopedia Britannica (hereafter EB) and Nature was intriguing – not least because it, in my view, is somewhat beside the point. Nature’s intentions were honourable, I believe, in letting their very informed readers know if it can be considered worthwhile – not safe – to use Wikipedia for anything. And they seemed to be rather baffled themselves at the result, that yes, it is worthwhile, also for the informed user, to consult Wikipedia. In my view the article did not try to put EB down.

One of the more interesting facts the investigation revealed was that the learned test persons were more sceptical towards the random articles than towards the articles within their fields of expertise. For reasons that I can’t quite understand, many teachers at all levels of the schooling system tell their pupils to NEVER use Wikipedia. Many times I’ve heard well educated and academically trained people say that they never use Wikipedia, because it’s completely untrustworthy. But upon inspection, they have never used it, so how is it that they know? Probably this is why the test persons were so sceptical towards the articles about subjects outside their intellectual comfort zone.

It is also interesting to notice the aggression and fervour with which EB responded to the article. A lot of their response may be correct in a narrow sense, but entirely beside the point, because the Wikipedia articles had had the exact same treatment. And the Nature article is actually quite critical about some things in Wikipedia – like the occasional rather poorly constructed articles and poor readability. This fervour may be related to the sad fact that academia frowns upon academics who choose to put their skills to use for the general public. Nature surveyed 1000 scientists, of which only 10% had ever helped updating Wikipedia. It probably doesn’t improve your academic career to invest time enlightening the public on your speciality.

And then there are all the things you can get from Wikipedia, which EB doesn’t give you. There are articles about every little town or village in the Western World, every politician, every pop group, every artist, every historical person, every technical term or gadget known to man – almost. And then there’s the freshness – the articles updated at the speed of light when events develop. Apart from the way they are created, these two factors are what really separates Wikipedia from EB. And why to some extent comparing them is a bit like comparing apples and pears. And access to EB is on subscription basis. In Denmark and here in the UK you can gain free access to EB via your local library. But unfortunately, most people don’t know this – or just can’t be bothered. In EB you cannot see when an article has been created or updated – or at least I can’t find it. And there are very few outside links and no references.

When I was a child we had two encyclopedias in the house: Lademanns and Gyldendals. I quickly discovered that Lademanns was best for looking up things to do with nature, science and geography because of the many, good colour photographs and illustrations. Whereas Gyldendal was best on history and literature, because the entries were better and longer. But, and this is the point, it never occurred to me to doubt the authenticity of any of the articles. And I wasn’t taught that at school either. I didn’t hear about source criticism (kildekritik) before high school (gymnasiet), where I had a history teacher (an elderly gentleman) who made it an issue. It was the first time I had ever heard of anyone questioning a source. Every time he gave us something to read, he asked us to consider who had written it, why he had written it and who we thought were the intended audience. This simple wisdom has stayed with me always and I try to remember to apply it to all things I read or hear.

The thing about Wikipedia, which could maybe teach many more Internet users source criticism, is exactly the knowledge of how it is written and (not) edited. One must always consider the fact that the article one’s looking at might just have been tampered with by some idiot or a person with malicious intent. Or that it’s written by somebody who has an overblown perception of her own knowledge. This is not a thought that automatically comes to mind when looking up something in EB or another “trusted source”. So I believe that the way Wikipedia is constructed actually encourages its users to be source critical. And that scepticism could even follow the user when she ventures outside Wikipedia and looks at other sources.

Quite often Wikipedia is an excellent starting point for research on a subject. Usually it becomes clear very quickly what kind of person or persons are responsible for a Wikipedia article. Some of them are clearly written by scholars or by extremely knowledgeable amateurs and their sources are often gold, when the goal is to move on to primary sources. Other articles are not so well written or edited and one instantly gets wary. That very often reflects on the sources, which will be few and erratic. And I believe this wariness and alertness to be very healthy for the users.

Setting aside the times I use Wikipedia to look up the full name of a pop star or the use of a technical gadget, I try to ask myself these questions while reading a Wikipedia article:

What kind of person wrote this?
Syntax, writing style, approach to subject. Is the faulty English because the writer doesn’t have English as her mother tongue or is it a warning sign?
Why did the person write this? Out of pride, to boast, for political/religious reasons or because the person honestly feels it is her duty to share her knowledge?
Does the article have the feel of having been worked over many times? If so, I check the history and debate pages.
What are the sources like? Are there many? Are they online, off line or a mix? How many of them are readily accessible (not necessarily online, but from a library)?
How sensitive is the subject? Can I maybe believe some parts of the article, but not other parts? This may be the case for quite a few historical articles, where basic facts are agreed on by everybody, but where historians disagree on the interpretation of certain incidents or documents. This is also the case for articles on pharmaceutical compounds.
Am I looking at a subject where recent events have led the article to be expanded or changed? The article about Sarah Palin is an obvious example. One can go back to the version of the article a couple of weeks before she was chosen as running mate for McCain and get an impression from that.

The above rules of thumb could very well be applied to most other sources as well. But with most other sources you can’t check the previous versions…

Share