MyCreativity, Second Session Part One

On: November 18, 2006
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About Anne Helmond
Anne Helmond is Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture and Program Director of the MA New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. She is a member of the Digital Methods Initiative research collective where she focuses her research on the infrastructure of social media platforms and apps. Her research interests include digital methods, software studies, platform studies, app studies, infrastructure studies and web history.


The title of the second session is Economy of Design. In this context Mieke Gerritzen & Teun Castelein presented the Artvertising project of the Sandberg Institute.

A Million Dollar HomepageThe project is based on the Million Dollar Homepage which is an idea of student Alex Tew. He sold a million pixels on his website for $1 each to pay for his degree. The visual result of his homepage was a huge fragmented landscape filled with logos. This visual landscape is not new to us, it actually has a long history from cave art to frescoes to Times Square. As Marshall McLuhan put it: “Ads are the cave art of the twentieth century

McLuhan also said “Advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th century.” and this is what the Sandberg Institute sets out to explore. Can advertising be an artform? Is advertising a form of art? Where are the boundaries between art and the commercial industry? What is the role of the artist in the commercial world? There are increasing commercial tendencies because artists must take care of themselves. It is no longer about industry, but about strategy. A strategy of survival in the commercial world. Marketeers will be the artists of the future.

MyCreativity: Teun CasteleinTeun further explains the thoughts and process behind the Artvertising project. It was not the idea behind the Million Dollar Homepage that interested him so much (he thought it was rather dull), but the visual outcome of it. He was also intrigued by the physical aspect of it: selling the facade of the Sandberg Institute to advertisers. Copying the model into the physical world was quite different and a long process of six months.

What bothers me though is that Teun thinks the original idea behind the Million Dollar Homepage is rather dull and that the visual outcome is more interesting. And at the same time he makes a big point about the transfer of the process into the physical world. That seems rather dull to me too. Both projects point to the idea of commercialization of which the visual presentation is an outcome. So for Teun to dismiss the idea behind the Million Dollar Homepage is to dismiss the whole idea of the Advertising project itself! But maybe this paradox is part of a new kind of entrepeneurship in the artworld in which Teun is finding his way. His flashy shiny black/golden businesscard says: Entrepreneur nouveau.

Because I love Marshall McLuhan quotes let’s end with one:

Advertising is an environmental striptease for a world of abundance

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