DURING SIX WEEKS IN APRIL AND MAY, BROOKLYN MUSEUM’S SHELLEY BERNSTEIN put the role of curator into your hands — and those of anyone who wished to vote on the web site where 389 photos taken by the public awaited evaluation. The votes have been tallied, and for the in-museum show, “Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition,” the photographs will be installed according to their ranking as set by the curator-crowd.
The inspiration for the exhibition came from the book “The Wisdom of Crowds,” in which New Yorker financial columnist and Clinton Hill resident JAMES SUROWIECKI asserts that a diverse crowd is often wiser at making decisions than expert individuals. “Click!” explores Surowiecki’s idea in the context of visual art.
The innovative online jury process was designed to minimize peer influence: Each of the 389 photos was displayed without artist attribution and at random for each evaluator, and artists were unable to forward links of individual submissions to friends and family. Despite these strategic limitations, international evaluators submitted more than 410,000 responses to the photographs and left more than 3,000 comments during the process. Notably, photographs were viewed on average for 22 seconds prior to submitting an evaluation, which, as Bernstein noted, is an eternity in web-time. “Click!” will run June 27 to August 10 at the museum.
At FIGMENT 2008, a celebration of participatory art held June 28 on Governors Island, a panel will discuss the process and outcome of “Click!” Panelists include James Surowiecki; Boerum Hill resident Jeff Howe, a contributing editor of Wired magazine, who coined the term “crowdsourcing”; Eugenie Tsai, curator of contemporary art; and organizer Shelley Bernstein, manager of Information Systems. The panel will be moderated by Nicole Caruth, the museum’s manager of Interpretive Materials. For more information, visit figmentnyc.org/2008/about.html.
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FILM DIRECTOR AND CARROLL GARDENS RESIDENT ALLISON PRETE, with “Brooklyn Matters” documentarian Isabel Hill, has arranged a screening of her 1998 documentary film, “Lavender Lake: Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal,” made during the dark days of Gowanus before its recent popularity. The June 13 screening at Spoke the Hub, 295 Douglass St., will be followed by a discussion. $5 suggested donation.
AT A CEREMONY LAST NIGHT, MADISON STREET BLOCK #3 ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT TOYA WILLIFORD and VP MALIZA JOSEPH-GABRIEL were surprised by the announcement from Citizens Committee President Peter H. Kostmayer that they had won the grand prize for the “Mollie Parnis Dress Up Your Neighborhood” contest. Nine community groups across the city competed for a $3,000 prize by organizing neighborhood unification and cleaning projects. The Bed-Stuy block association won for their flower-planters project because the Citizens Committee was so impressed with their efforts to involve residents in the event.
“The sense of community we felt on that block is what made us think they should win that award,” said Alif Ullah of the Citizens Committee. “Everyone was wearing a name tag, which didn’t just say their name, but also said the number of years they had lived on that block, from three months to 60 years.” Joseph-Gabriel elaborated that the 60-year resident had delivered milk to the block as a boy, and stayed through the dangerous ’80s, hoping for days when the atmosphere would become more, well, like it is today. The VP said on Friday that if their block association were to win the prize money, she wanted to install a permanent pathway into the community garden to make it welcoming and accommodating, and set it up for composting.
“BROOKLYN NOIR 3: NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH,” is the latest anthology of short stories about the Brooklyn criminal justice system, perhaps underscoring Thomas Wolfe’s line, “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn.” The biggest twist for number three? The stories are true this time. One of the collections’ two editors is New York Law Journal reporter Thomas Adcock, born and raised in Brooklyn and current resident of the Heights. When Avery Eli Okin, Esq., executive director of the Brooklyn Bar Association, hosts a wine and cheese event June 25 to celebrate the publication of the book, Adcock will be on hand to answer questions.
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SPEAKING OF A CHANGING GOWANUS, COUNCILMAN BILL DE BLASIO is pushing a ban on future hotels for the northern end of the Gowanus, saying that the three existing hotels, plus the four on the way, are undermining the area’s manufacturing base. De Blasio is reacting to a proposal from the Department of City Planning, unveiled last week outside P.S. 32, which describes turning 25 blocks of the canal zone into a mixed-use area.
“Simply put, there’s no place for hotels in the Gowanus Canal area. They just don’t fit,” de Blasio said. City Planning spokeswoman Jennifer Torres later said, “We are aware of concerns about hotels, but must balance that against the fact that the hotel industry is an important industry for the city’s economy.”