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The Broken Internet Project – Inspiration in the Digital Age
In 2011, Dan Cormier invited a small group of polymer clay artists to play along with him in a game of ‘Broken telephone.’ Following the structure of the popular kids’ game (also known as ‘Telephone’ and ‘Chinese Whispers’), he asked each artist to make a wearable pin, inspired by a pin sent to them in the mail by another artist. The result of his experiment was The Broken Telephone Project, a collection of eight original and individually distinct pieces, first unveiled in a keynote presentation at the IPCA Synergy3 conference in Atlanta in March 2012, and then published four months later in a feature article in Ornament magazine (Vol 36.4).
Aside from resulting in some really cool new work from a group of established North American polymer clay professionals, his project explored the concepts of originality, inspiration, imitation, interpretation, attribution, and personal style in the contemporary craft scene.
For IPCA’s EuroSynergy conference next year, Dan proposes a similarly themed show, but with a greater global outlook: The Broken Internet Project. Powered by the instantaneity of the internet, he will invite a group of European artists from several countries to produce a single pin based on a digital image of the work of another artist before them. He will select at least one artist to represent each country. Whereas the BTP was analog in nature, with its physical mailings of pins covering almost 50,000 miles, the BIP will be purely digital, with virtual pins crossing invisible borders, instantly.
In an age when social media platforms like Facebook, Flickr, and Pinterest dominate, the exchange of images of polymer clay work around the globe has been sent into hyperdrive, changing our understanding of art and artistic community along with it. The Broken Internet Project will explore the ideas of virtual influence on our work, the impact of instantaneity and accessibility on artistic process, the nature of community and nationality in art in the internet age, authenticity, individuality, and personal interpretation, all through the work and exhibition of established and emerging artists in the European polymer clay community.