I’m very happy to announce that the IndieGoGo campaign has ended and I couldn’t be happier. We raised over $3,200, a fantastic nest egg and made over 100,000 impressions. The campaign featured dozens of friends in the videos and online campaign and my “perks peeps” came through with flying colors. I’m very excited to continue with the project so please stay tuned for updates. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
How do you define terms such as “friend” “share” and “follow”? GLOBALL asks you to define them on your own terms by re-inserting meaningful, In-Real-Life connection with the VERY GOOD FRIENDS in your life. To support this project, on it’s last weekend of funding, please go to IndieGoGo and make a contribution.
Friend of GLOBALL Janet Alexander wrote a fantastic article that just broke at www.GALOmagazine.com. I am so excited to share this interview with you!
Ms Alexander writes:
The last time GALO Magazine spoke with Brooklyn artist Oliver Warden, he was between two worlds: the virtual world of video game-based art and the reality of art world skeptics. Now, little more than a year since, his newest artistic endeavor seems to be the world itself, best described as global, or as Warden aptly calls it, GLOBALL.
Unprecedented in both its scope and origins, Warden’s most ambitious project to date is summarized by a single question, “Can we pass seven beautifully made wooden balls, hand to hand, person to person, around the world?” In keeping with a hallmark of Warden’s body of work, GLOBALL challenges both the form and function of its medium, or as Warden explained last September, “I want to destroy your idea of what art is; it’s my lifelong ambition.” Put simply, GLOBALL is a social network composed of people among whom seven wood-crafted balls are exchanged indefinitely. Put less simply, GLOBALL engages relationship forming as an art form. In a similar vain to the so-called, “art of living,” GLOBALL challenges people to enact the “art of connecting” — in a time when social connection is as accessible and instant as ever online, GLOBALL is a decidedly contrarian effort to revitalize relationships founded in the traditional custom of exchanging a gift. GLOBALL’s innovation is in how the gifts are uniform and self-consciously a part of a larger network. Fundamental to any of Warden’s work is how it is distinctively illusory — a simple plan surrounding complex ideas.
Relying on the most basic definition of art as a means of communication, GLOBALL explores how a social network is a means of communication in and of itself. Not surprisingly, the novelty of such an idea as visionary as GLOBALL has quickly garnered a variety of media attention, including a recent interview from Amanda Browder atBad at Sports, as well as ArtInfo. In order to engineer the Web site and the balls — made from wood that is to be sourced from all seven continents — Warden is hoping to raise $20,000 through an Indiegogo campaign, which ends on November 26th. If all goes according to plan, Warden will be hosting a launch party in New York City — a tight-knit group of only friends, from which he’ll hand off the balls — in late January, early February.
Ever since the first grade, when he memorably created a one-point perspective drawing at the age of five, Warden has dedicated himself to crafting wholly visionary causes. And his extraordinary ability to see something for what it is as much as for what it could be through art is no more self-evident than in hearing him explain GLOBALL.
GALO: It can be said that GLOBALL involves a kind of performance art, and it is certainly interactive, yet it is markedly different from what you’ve done before. How and when did the idea for this project come about?
Oliver Warden: I don’t know, because GLOBALL, unlike all my other ideas, didn’t have a Eureka moment, or at least I can’t remember what it is [if there was one]. But instead, it was a combination of all these things in my life coming together at a certain time. Around 2008, the recession hits; I’m still going on [President] Barack Obama’s hope, still optimistic, I’m coming off a project that is very dark — a Columbine themed feature-length film based off a video game — and I think GLOBALL is the opposite of that. It’s hopeful and optimistic. I was having tough times in my personal life. And I saw this weird moment in 2008, when Facebook was awesome, but there was starting to be something missing… Read more here
Please contribute to this campaign here.
I love and adore and loathe and abhor the internet. How is it that we can feel so connected to the world and disconnected from ourselves if we’re not careful?
My friend, artist Oliver Warden, has a project on the crowd funding site, Indiegogo, called GLOBALL, which among other things, is trying to reclaim the word SHARE. Globall is participatory art that is both playful and introspective–a meditation on gifting and connectedness that also resembles a game. Globall “combines aspects of performance art, social media, chain letters, mass gift-giving, and something like a Guinness World Record attempt”.
Oliver is sourcing wood from all over the world and making that wood into seven pieces of art — seven wooden balls with pictograms that ask people to share the ball — to give Globall to a very good friend.
If all goes according to plan, the wooden balls will travel around the world while their trajectory is mapped by a website that tracks them and their temporary stewards, online. So the act of sharing a Globall becomes a participatory social network.
It was late last year that I officially became a “booth dude” (my term). It was for a supercute company called Craftspring. Created by my buddy Anne Py, Craftspring makes and sells cute little ornaments, stuffed animals and thingies, all made out of felted wool, which are sourced and created in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia. I was happy to be able to sell these things because like all well designed and perfectly made crafts, they sold themselves. It was downright easy! The other cool thing is that they were all made in the spirit of fair trade. Anne won a fellowship to study small businesses by women in Asia several years ago and met all the women she now works with. Those women, who are amazing artisans and crafts people, work throughout the year making the best, most adorable things you’ve ever seen. Every summer, Anne returns to Kyrgyzstan and works with them for four months. It’s kind of amazing. I found the whole thing inspiring and wanted to capture some of its spirit with GLOBALL. Check out their goods at www.cacraftspring.com.
Side note: I am lucky in that Anne suggested we make a GLOBALL ornament. WooT! They and many other perks are available at indieGoGo right now!
decided to look around for design inspiration for my GLOBALL website and came across something more awesome than I could’ve ever expected. I felt downright lucky!
www.we-are-lucky.com is the brain child of a very interesting guy. I don’t know who he is or what he looks like, few people do, but he’s doing something noteworthy. A few years ago, he came across a whole lotta money. After buying a ticket to outer space, he realized that maybe he could do something even cooler with his money… make other people’s dreams come true. At random, on any given day, he gives away 1,000 pounds to absolute strangers. The only contingency? Do something with the money to make the world a better place. Awesome.
I couldn’t believe it…I was just looking for a cool website and came across this one. Like a long lost brother I had found someone who understood the importance, nay, power of sharing. You have something valuable and it’s a recession so what do you do with it? Give it away!
Inspiration comes from a lot of places and sometimes the same place twice. Years ago my father told me of an oceanic adventure. There was once a brave man, with a very cool name: Thor Hyeredahl. See? I told ya! In the 50s, Thor had an idea that ancient people had migrated to the Polynesian Islands in the Pacific ocean not from Southeast Asia as was commonly thought, but from South America. It was a preposterous idea at the time. But because, of all things, similarities in the art of both regions, he theorized that they must of migrated from the West coast of the Americas over 5,000 miles on sailing ships. His only solution? Prove it!
So, he gathered a small group of very courageous, possibly crazy Norwegians to turn his theory into fact. After building a giant balsa wood raft called the Kon-Tiki (named after the island God) and overcoming whale sharks, flying fish and no chance of rescue, they made it. It was the adventure of a lifetime, caught in stills and turned into an Academy Award winning film as well as a best selling book.
Decades later another brave man, mimicked Thor’s epic journey with an agenda befit for today’s sensibilities. David de Rothschild, environmentalist and explorer, set out to prove a point. This one was about the Earth itself and how man is wreaking havoc on it’s great oceans. Taking a different Pacific route than the Kon-Tiki, Mr. Rothschild and his daring crew sailed a plastic ship called the Plastiki through what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. At roughly the size of Texas, a field of plastic bits floats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. David’s mission was to bring awareness to that patch, by sailing the Plastiki (which was made entirely of nearly 12,000 recycled bottles and materials reused from other sources), through it to investigate.
I followed his trip with fervent attention and bought the book, which he signed for me, once their adventure was finished. It thrilled me to no end during the summer of 2010.
Like Thor, David found a reason to explore that befit his time. Thor looked to the past to solve a mystery, and David looked to the future in the hopes of saving it. I think it was David’s contemporary take on exploration that was so interesting to me. As Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” His "new eyes” found a reason to go again, take one more look and ask new questions. Both of these voyages inspired my journey to keep GLOBALL afloat.
They make great gifts and stocking stuffers! Please go and get yours now, they are available for two more weeks only! Only 20 bucks!
I know a group of very smart people who sit in an attic and invent the future. A cross between a college study room and the bridge of a Klingon vessel, NYC Resistor is freakin’ awesome. This group of programmers, hackers, artists and inventors come together nightly to create all types of code, gizmos, artworks and functional whiz-bangs.
I came across them through my art, looking for a new way to make topographical low relief paintings. I went there seeking a guy named Herbert Hoover (yes, real name) and ended up befriending another really nice guy and smartypants named Justin Day. They didn’t have quite what I wanted, a way to “build” 3D paintings but what they did have was a laser!
Artist Oliver Warden on Getting His Conceptual Social Network Project GLOBALL Rolling - By Ben Sutton
Brooklyn-based conceptual artist Oliver Warden may be best-known for his dazzling paintings of overlaid maps and patterns, and his participatory performance pieces, but his next project is something on an entirely different scale. For GLOBALL, Warden has envisioned a kind of embodied and international social network based on participants sharing seven wooden sculptures — the GLOBALLs — with their friends, thereby creating a network of real-life encounters. We asked Warden to share some insights on the globe-spanning participatory art project, which is still at its development (and crowd-funding) stages.
GLOBALL seems to combine aspects of performance art, social media, chain letters, mass gift-giving, and something like a Guinness World Record attempt; What inspired you to launch this project?
With GLOBALL there was no one point of origin for this idea. It’s the first thing I posted about on my GLOBALL Facebook blog page; there is no memorable “eureka” moment. Instead, I think this is a combination of a lifetime of interest in environmentalism, humanitarianism, and exploration as well as art, interactivity, and new media.
My background in interactive art extends since school at SVA in the 1990s. For many pieces like my interactive performance “Untitled Box 2.0,” there was a clear inspired moment that lead to the work. I admire Jacques Cousteau, Nellie Bly, and Thor Hyerdahl as much as I admire Chris Burden, Jenny Holzer, and Marina Abramovic. I think the odd combinations of these interests stem from my parents who were part of the ‘60-70s counterculture around Kent State University, and subsequently pursued storm-chasing and geography (dad), and medicine and exploration (mom). All these things were smashed into me as a kid and now are coming out in GLOBALL.
With video games as my last artistic medium and now social networking, I realized I could use them to make contemporary art and communicate ideas. Ultimately, I’d like to usher in a healthy dose of dissent and criticality to those mediums by proposing my own takes on them. I enjoy them, but I feel I have a point of view to bring to the table as well.
The project has several elements, from the wooden sculptures to the exchanges between participants and online documentation of the GLOBALLs’ progress; is there one portion of the project that you consider the most important, or are all the elements dependent on one another for success?
I think they are all equally important. The “art” of this project doesn’t lie in any one part but in the total accumulation of experience. Like many video games and in a sense social networking, it requires participation, is narrative, and the outcome will be determined by those who partake. The story of GLOBALL hasn’t been written and the “art” of it will transform as the project unfolds. That’s exactly what’s exciting about it.
For instance, there are seven wooden balls, one for each letter in GLOBALL but also one for each continent. The wood that each solid GLOBALL will be made from will be sourced by friends of mine on those continents (the Antarctic wood will be sourced from wood that migrated to forests in the southern hemisphere millions of years ago). The great thing about wood is that it comes with its history woven into its rings.
The neat thing about GLOBALL is that our history will also be woven into the balls as we touch them. The oil will rub off from our hands and make each ball darker. So, as they travel, the oils, dings, scratches, and marks will serve as another type of analog story, record, and social network. That will also be mirrored by an online participation on the website. For the project to really work, both will have to exist.
In many ways, GLOBALL is an attempt to make an in-real-life social network; what aspects of such digital communities do you think merit being created in embodied, lived experience?
There are four terms commonly used on Facebook and Twitter; “like”, “share”, “friend,” and “follow”. I think they have been successfully redefined by those dominant social networks but they also have lost something. There is no sense of loss or sacrifice when you share something. You share information, links, pictures, and so on, but you don’t actually forfeit anything. With GLOBALL, I am giving you a unique piece of art in a time of recession but instead of asking you to keep it and enjoy it, I am asking you to reinsert your own meaning by giving it to a “VERY GOOD FRIEND,” as the instructions say. To fulfill that, you’ll have to ask yourself a deeper question about what “friend” means. I’m asking you to not only give away your GLOBALL but give your friend the gift of giving as well. In doing so, GLOBALL will ask you who you are truly connected to.
I found this agenda, in many different forms, amongst my own real-world friends too. From the hackers at NYC Resistor here in Brooklyn who help me do the laser-engraving work, to my friend Anne at her company Craftspring, which makes fair-trade felt ornaments with women business owners in Kyrgyzstan, each group had a real-world network.
My friend Ryan, who made the music for the GLOBALL video along with his bandmate Shanda (We Are The Wilderness) said it best, ”connectivity is an act of service.” One thing I wanted to do with GLOBALL is figure out a way to bring them together and start the network immediately. So, I asked only friends to contribute to the Indiegogo campaign by offering their talents and goods as Indiegogo “perks”. The great thing about networks like Indiegogo is that it gives people like me the chance to do creative projects by connecting with people who can contribute to ideas that are unique and unconventional.
Were there any particular participatory art projects that inspired you while you were developing GLOBALL?
GLOBALL has been milling around in my head since 2008 and several things happened over that time that were truly inspirational. The Plastiki is a ship that made a sea voyage led by David DeRothschild in 2010. During that time, he sailed a recycled ship made of 12,000 plastic bottles across the great garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on his way to Australia from San Francisco to bring awareness to our environmental hazards. His heightened level of social networking, live blogging, and updates made the voyage feel participatory and I realized how important of a role I played in the crew’s daily state of mind. I wouldn’t contextualize this as an art project, but I appreciated its creativity, thoughtfulness, and daring.
“Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present” was a critically important masterwork. It not only asked real people to interact with her but used mediums such as video and social media to communicate the experience. She’s taken a lot of flak lately for her celebrity mingling and YouTube videos, but she has also fearlessly tackled social media more than any other artist I can think of, especially any one of her stature. I think she’s truly brave and engaging, and that work, more so than any in recent memory, captured people’s imagination. It certainly inspired me.
Sometimes inspiration comes more locally too. Artist Rachel Sussman, who I’m very lucky to have contribute to our Indiegogo campaign, was in the throes of creating her art project, “The Oldest Living Things in the World” when I met her. Although OLTW is more of a solo endeavor, she has reached mass amounts of people through her TED talk and social media.
Do you see GLOBALL as an open-ended project, or one with a definite timeline? Could the GLOBALLs just keep circumnavigating the globe?
In a sense, the GLOBALLs become more valuable as they get passed between more and more people, and go further and further. It won’t be monetary value, however, as they are not for sale. They can only be made valuable through meaningfulness. The interactions, stories, and connections that will be made will hopefully infuse them with content. This is why there can be no deadline and are no rules once they are released, aside from one: they cannot be mailed.
Once they have traveled great distances though, I hope they come home, if only for a minute. At “home” will be each GLOBALL’s twin. I am going to make 14 balls, 7 to travel and 7 to stay for an exhibition. It will be great to have them sit side by side and literally “see” the history of the traveling balls.
You’re placing a lot of faith and trust in the hands of the project’s participants, literally; what if one of the sculptures breaks or goes missing?
I expect one to sit in a closet or be thrown off a cliff, set on fire or be lost, for sure. That’s why there are seven. But there’s something else. I am handing them off to seven good friends. And they are doing the same. I think as they go on, people will see it as an opportunity to share in something bigger by connecting with the world. If they break or go missing then that’s part of the story too.
Yes, it’s a lot of faith and trust in art and people, but having both seems like the most exciting thing I can think of right now.
— Benjamin Sutton
Every Christmas my Mom gets a card that says only one thing “Thank you for saving my life”.
It was about 15 years ago that my Mom and I were driving from my landing at Cleveland Hopkins Airport when she broke the news “I’m going to Irian Jiya”. She continued, “now I’ll tell you, they have the three most infectious diseases in the world there which you can catch by mosquito, so if there’s anything of mine that you want, tell me now. "Yes” I responded with a monotone snap, “I would like one mom”.
Now, for those of you who have no idea where Irian Jiya is I’ll tell you. It’s on the other side of the island from Papua New Guinea and is part of Indonesia. It’s a lot of jungle and it houses the most primitivistic and reclusive people in the world. Up until 100 (maybe 50) (maybe now, yikes!) years ago, it also had cannibals. The trip my mother went on was mostly populated by seasoned photographers, scientists and adventurers. The stipulation of going is that you must travel with someone you have known for at least five years as they are responsible for your life. By the time my mother finished the three week trek, half the people dropped out.
- She would want you to help out her son www.igg.me/at/globall
This wasn’t the last trip she went on, not by a long shot. She caught the bug as they say, and not the giant ones she fills her camera’s smart card with either. She has traveled to the jungles of Panama, where she narrowly escaped a forest fire. She has done bug recon at a research station in Ecuador and even traveled the Serengeti. Next year, I’ve heard rumors of a Praying Mantis voyage.
It’s weird to have an “adventure mom” but I’m glad I do. It has taught me that it’s never too late to become a voyager and that the rewards are no less than the fantastic voyage of a great life. Currently, she works the potters wheel, takes a ton of free community college classes and can be found at the Cleveland Film Festival every spring and cross-country skiing in the Cleveland Metroparks every winter. This year I hope to hit a fossil dig with her in Wyoming… no bug fossils but giant fish instead!
Back when she was in the jungle of New Guinea, one of her fellow travelers asked for her medical expertise (my mom was a Physicians Assistant). It seems he had a small, superficial red mark on his thigh. She looked at it, and decided that they would just clean it, dress it and keep an eye on it. The next day she asked how he felt. He said “fine” and immediately passed out. Stripping off his pants, his wife and my mom were surprised to see his leg had become completely infected in the jungle heat and moisture. From hip to toe was solid red. My mother instantly knew he needed immediate medical attention or he would die. For the next 48 hours she kept his fever down as the local guides carried him out of the jungle. When they got to an impassable gully, they knocked down trees to fabricate a bridge. When they got to the canoes and there were no paddles, they hacked them out of the trees. It seems a tiny spider bite had taken it’s toll on him but in the end, he lived. He and his wife send a reminder card every holiday of how grateful they are.
It might be hard to be proud of your mom when she says nutso stuff like “if I’m kidnapped by jungle rebels you are NOT to come for me” but I am. I just hope a little bit of that gutsyness rubs on to me when it’s my turn to step foot in the Arctic, take a trip into space, or just simply put it all on the line for art.
Background: To put another side of things in perspective: my mother was attending Kent State when her freshmen roommate and several friends were killed by the National Guard in 1970. To her credit, she always had empathy for everyone involved.
- Please contribute to the GLOBALL fund raising campaign at www.igg.me/at/globall
I know a guy who built his own house out of a shed in his backyard. He also makes site specific art. And sews sweet video game quilts. And does screen prints with skateboards. And has a photo blog. And designed a bicycle. And created a frame shop and on and on infinity! It’s my buddy Wes (above) and to say he’s an artist is a disservice. Wes is what I call a “creative force”. He just “makes” and he does so without reservation.
As a contemporary artist let me be the first to say that in a competitive art market like New York City, it’s inspiring to step outside for a minute, take a deep breath and just MAKE. It actually refreshes and reminds you why you got into making and expressing and thinking about art in the first place.
I met Wes a few years ago. He’s part of a big posse of creative folks here in Brooklyn. Fashion designers, film makers, artists, models and even an underground boxing organizer! Wes also is one of the designers at the awesome Drive By Press which is run by another cool cat, Greg Nanney (below).
Together they, along with a slew of other designers, make all hand-made T-shirts, skateboards, prints and basically anything that’s cool and can house an image. They do so by carving first into wood and then running it through a giant press. The thing is enormous, could crush your hand, weighs a million tons and is called “Hank the Tank”. I loved it immediately. I was lucky enough to visit their studio in the top part of the Bronx this summer and I watched in awe as they made the GLOBALL T-shirts, which are now available at IndieGoGo. The shirts are great btw and as Wes pointed out: they are sharper than any pixel because they don’t use them!
The guys just use their hands and MAKE! Look for them at college campuses, events in NYC and probably driving to a stop near you.
Rachel Sussman’s work is now available in the GLOBALL campaign. She has graciously offered four prints from her eight year body of work The Oldest Living Things in the World. They are each signed and 13x16". She is also offering her book of the same name when it comes out in fall of 2014, also signed.
By contributing to GLOBALL you acquire Ms. Sussman’s work and many of the perks from the GLOBALL campaign. Please visit us at IndieGoGo to find out more.
Those works are:
Antarctic Moss #1/10
Dead Huon Pine #2/10
Antarctic Beech #1/10
It was a few years ago that I met Rachel Sussman. An artist, traveler and thinker, Rachel was in the throes of making one of the best projects I’ve ever heard of.
She was photographing the Oldest Living Things in the World (OLTW).
Currently, she is finally putting the cap on her eight year adventure. With each trip she sought out various plant life that has been around for more than 2,000 years and photographed it with the intention of bringing art, science and philosophy together. On her journey, she has visited every continent and has let the world know about her amazing work through speaking at TED, and The Long Now Foundation and has been featured in a gillion articles, websites and blogs including CNN, Smithsonian Magazine and io9.
I strongly recommend checking out her work at www.rachelsussman.com, I think you’ll find it as inspiring as I do. Rumor has it a book is in the works for Fall of 2014!
Side note: On her last trip to Antartica she asked if anyone from the research vessel would like to join her as she zoomed over to a neighboring island. Who raised his hand? None other than Peter Hillary, Sir Edmund Hillary’s son. Not a bad traveling companion ; )