SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Cultureinside and Ning networks: Artist communities in translation

Artists have wanted to form self-generated groups on the web for some time. Until recently, art social networks were constrained by and and through art portals that were not structured as artists' communities These portals have been generally top down, highly-structured and designed in a rigid format that prevented interactivity. Local self-contained artist communities of the past are not the lure they once were, or are victims of their own success. They drew artists into center cities and artist colonies. Social space has retrracted into virtual space. Localities have given way to disparate individual artists connecting in cyberspace. The adoption of a worldwide culture has led to an acculturation process where many thousands of people around the world identify themselves as artists, have an art career, want to participate in an artistic dialog, exchange information and show their work. The problems to doing this have been three fold. Not enough bandwidth, not enough robust features for interactivity, and communication through different languages, in other words- translation problems. These problems have largely been overcome in the last year. Bandwidth has increased in many areas of the world. It is now feasible to upload and download images and video. Individual entrepreneurs, for profit and nonprofit, have created templates, software and web based applications.

I am working with a nonprofit group that has developed an artists network website. Our site, www.cultureinside.com has the entire site in parallel structure in three languages, French, German and English . and planning spanish as a fourth as well .Individual artists are responsible for statements, lists and personal communications. We are planning to institute a translation service

An important development in artist online communications have been the "ning "networks created by Marc Andreessen and Gina Bianchini in 2005. Ning networks are a robust, social network creation site with many features that are free or available for a small fee. There are many templates available, and an amateur with no experience can construct one in an afternoon.




A user can belong to many groups. The communication between groups is allowing faster response , differentiation for each group and less redundancy. Each user has space on the central ning site where one can see an overview of each site and status Language separation is one of the barriers to open knowledge and knowledge acquisition systems. Even images are searched through discrete language bases. Translation is a key to accessability. The Ning sites are usually published in the major western languages, English, Spanish, French and Italian. Although some have a local language as a secondary. Translation programs have in the past were not able to provide a successful understandable translation.

The Ning features a an excellent image display, as good as any that I have seen on the web. I am not sure technically how one site over another can load and display images in a better way, but the ning color images load quickly and seems rich and vibrant. The ning sites feature multiple groups, chats, messages as well as multimedia. A user can belong to many groups. The communication between groups is allowing faster response , differentiation for each group and less redundancy. Each user has space on the central ning Language separation is one of the barriers to open knowledge and knowledge acauisition systems. Even images are searched through discrete language bases. The Ning sites are usually published in the major western languages, English, Spanish, French and Italian. Although some have a local language as a secondary. Translation programs have in the past were not able to provide a successful understandable translation. Recently that has changed. Google translator now can translate about 40 languages back and forth in long and short passages. I have been testing the capability of google translator on Ning sites and on Cultureinside. The results are impressive and are getting better all the time. I translated posts and wrote my own in 6 different languages on that and other sites. Generally, my posts were answered and responded to. The one major criticism that I received is that the formal tense was inappropriate on Spanish and French sites. That is not an insurmountable problem

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