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"Out Of Office" Auto-Replies Are Being Turned Into Online Art Distributors

Devised by Matthew Britton, the project asks audiences to curate their own online art experiences.

by Emerson Rosenthal
Apr 23 2014, 4:15pm

The best art knocks you off-center. It asks you to question not only your relationship to it, but your relationship to the past, present, and future, to yourself and others. It digs at something preternatural, primordial, even, that begs the sort of full-scale reassessment, the aims and goals of which are often best left up to curators whose jobs it is to direct and focus these questions in pursuit of their equally tantalizing answers.

One such project, devised by artist Matthew Britton and ordained by Arcade Cardiff, is provoking these sorts of big questions, utilizing an aged email technology to put audiences in their own curators' chairs: the office auto reply-turned-art-disseminator.

From Matthew Britton: 

Out Of Office is a micro curatorial platform that uses the auto reply feature on email accounts to distribute art. I wish to suggest an even more intimate method of distributing and viewing online works, one which is primarily in the comfort of your own mailbox. In order to view the work you need only send an email to the assigned email address and wait for the auto reply. 

So what exactly is "micro curation?" Perhaps the difficulty in Googling the term can be found in its ubiquity: from search results to the terms that generate them, when, on the internet, are we not being micro curated to, and micro curating? Speaking subjectively, these questions may not have single, nicely-wrapped answers, at least not while we're still in the throes of Web 2.0. It's a hazy nebula of abstract terminology, with few signposted solutions, but in any case, Out of Office is a tremendous opportunity to let art allow you to be your own guide. 

Visit Out of Office to explore new frontiers in micro curation, and if you're in Cardiff, make sure to check out the O-o-O exhibition, ongoing at Arcade Cardiff through April 30. You'll be glad you did. 

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