Curatorial Practices in Deviant Art

Almila Akdag Salah
Virtual Knowledge Studio (VKS)

DeviantArt (dA) is a site created for sharing user generated artworks. In this project we will develop a “DeviantArt Collection Network” and use it to detect “DevianArt Communities” from which we will scrutinize the birth of the site’s curatorial practices.
Various structures in dA create a new value-system. Within the dA community, page statistics are used as a means to judge the ‘quality’ of a work. These statistics indicate the number of comments a work receives, as well as how many times it is ‘visited’ or ‘favoured’. dA introduced a method to render some works more ‘visible’ than others. In order to promote a member’s work, every day, a chosen collection of images are published as the ‘daily deviations’ (DD) on the homepage of the community.
Our data is based on the collection of DD’s, and the artists who have created them. With this data it is possible to follow up the evolution of the selection process, since DD’s were a part of the deviantArt from its early days (i.e. 2000s). For each selected DD, we know who has suggested, and who has decided to feature it as a DD. The most interesting question for an art historian is the relations between the suggesting members, and the team who is responsible of the final choice. We call this mechanism as the official ‘curatorial practice’ of dA. The suggesting members and the selectors (i.e. curators) are not permanent, and how/why they change over time could give us an insight about how curatorial practices are born in deviantArt.

James Abello (Rutgers University), Co-Author

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