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generation/mutation 1.1

Before crowdsourcing – outsourcing creative work online

The original version of generation/mutation was launched on DIGITALSOULS.COM in March of 1998 with a simple call to artists. The call consisted of a few hand-coded HTML pages: a project description, a downloadable 41 Kb JPEG image file, and three instructions.

Participating artists were asked to

  • download the project’s seed image
  • alter the image any way they like
  • email the result back to be shown in an online exhibition.

Death Valley Junction. 1982 isotone slide of photograph by H-Ray Heine, bw, Nikon F2, 24mm. Seed image for generation/mutation

Participation in the project was open to everyone and every contribution—provided it met a few simple technical requirements—was guaranteed a place in the planned online exhibition. No jury, no curator, no censorship. The aim was to trigger a free and open-ended collaboration that would generate a series of contributions by artists from around the world, using the just emerging Internet as the only means of communication and exchange.

The resulting online exhibition was seen by more than 2,5 million visitors during its first three years online!

Today, almost a quarter of a century later, the synergy of the contributions continues to amaze the viewer. Here are the contributions of the original online exhibition.

generation/mutation 1.1

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generation/mutation by H-Ray Heine


Free Download: Chapter 1 - Crowds

Based on the idea of crowdsourcing creative work online, years before the expression “crowdsourcing” was coined, generation/mutation received contributions from a diverse group of international new media artists. During its first two years, the project’s online exhibition attracted more than 2.5 million visitors and has remained one of the most iconic collaborative new media artworks online.

Launched on in the early days of the Internet, before Google or Facebook or iPhones, generation/mutation explores the new possibilities of collaborative art production and distribution afforded by the evolution of digital technologies.

Download your free pdf copy of Chapter 1 - Crowds
DOWNLOAD Chapter 1

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Artist, philosopher, social impact entrepreneur. Editor of DIGITALSOULS.COM.
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