me, kdg
Kim de Groot is a design researcher with an MA in new media. She is part of the lectoraat Communication in a digital age and teaches new media at the Willem de Kooning academy Kim's research deals with the inverted relation between image and reality. Moving from representation to the performative, from the visual to the infrastructural, images are no longer created to represent a reality but to manage it. Kim examines images as informational objects and traces the relations between image, event and media.

Imaginary Property


jvejveFrom september 2008 until august 2009 I will be working on a project called Imaginary Property at the Jan van Eyck academy Maastricht, initiated by Florian Schneider.

For me, as a new media researcher and designer, Imaginary Property incites to reconsider intellectual property, ownership and the status of the digital networked image as concepts of web culture(s). It is a challenge to act upon those concepts by deconstructing them and materialize their virtual values. Think about interfacing the property relations or knowledge a digital networked image contains. Is it a transparent image or a module of a map?

I tend to think of Imaginary Property as a digital concept. A concept that fits web culture. The web affords Imaginary Property as a condition.
In today's web culture people are motivated to produce content. Going through the large archives of user-generated content I pick up signs of the incentives to produce Imaginary Property. Think about the rise of video as message. The popular Youtube, video culture mainly consists of messages and comments. It is information that is not produced to be owned but to be received, passed on, shared.
What does it mean do be part of a rating culture and to be tagged, recommended, networked, manipulated and licensed instead of being copied and reproduced. Does this change the perspective on ownership of these images?

When those video messages would move continuously in a kind of fluid state supported by the web, instead of being archived and expropriated by Youtube, would temporary ownership be a possibility?
These concepts of mobility and fluidity have great potential for Imaginary Property. They have the potential to shift the perspective of intellectual property from, who owns, to how is owned and what it means to own an object which transforms. From a design point of view, a fluid organizational principle of non-rival goods such as messages and images implies a reconsideration of central interfaces to large databases.

Besides the video as message, web images intrigue me as data objects. The Flickr interface is a good example of how the digital networked image becomes an informational object, a container for tags, comments and technical details. Even more, it has become an identifier of social relations within a network and a way to 'collect' people. The representation of the image and its meaning seem to be of minor importance compared to its function as a node in the network, aggregating various network relations. Primary is the image as carrier of content and/or knowledge.

During the Imaginary Property project I would like to dig deeper into the culture of web images. What images does the current web culture produce and how are they owned, distributed, created? Is the networked digital image able to control its use instead of being controlled by technology and the organizational principles of the web such as search engines? Is this image actually used at all or does the user engage with it temporarily?