Un_wiki, Wikipedia radical polemic


Does Wikipedia utopia wobble? Is the free content editing of the free encyclopedia in contraddiction with the oligarchic stucture of the community that coordinates it? The software artist Wayne Clements seems to reply to all these question an affermative way with the projectun-wiki. It is a text generator, written in Perl, that retrieves the contents refused by Wikipedia and makes them visible dinamically. The source is the Deletion log, a list of all the pages that have abused WikiÕs democratic remit with fake information and vulgarity. The Un_wiki script gets the offending text and turns it to anyone, encouraging the prudish user to ‘leave nowÕ if unprepared. The goal to explore the antagonism between formal democracy of Wikipedia, where anyone (if logged in) can edit a page, and the censorious attitude of the sysadmins who can correct or delete every contribution. In spite of the interesting analysis that Wayne Clements is develpoing on Text Machines, showing that an artwork may be composed od instructions for purely textual manipulations. The radical polemic that feeds the project it’s not easily agreeable. If it is true that software art is radical by definition, because of its subversive attitude that acquires institutional codes translating them into sarcastic speech, the blue ribbon against Wikipedia is excessive. If the wiki, conceived according to the principles of free partecipative collaboration, institutionalize itself while growing, it doesnÕ mean that it betrays its nature, but that it is learmnig the compromises of the adult age, that is web 2.0.

Valentina Culatti