Ø Stands for Open


I remember the turn of the millennium when the year turned zero and it seemed as though time was reset. It was a moment of renewal, rebirth, a certain magic in the air. Now I understand the idea of zero in a new way: with the reset comes an embrace of openness. When there is nothing, everything is possible. When all things are reduced to naught, then you can do anything, there is only everywhere to go. When you empty things out, you have the opportunity to fulfill something new and revolutionary.

So when I came across the 0P3NR3P0 project by Nick Briz & Joseph Chiocchi, two Chicago artists steeped in the windy city’s glitch scene, I realized this was something entirely new, promising, and absolute zero. What exactly is 0P3NR3P0? The name itself defies easy comprehension: they call it an open/public repository (hence 0P3NR3P0), but it is so much more. It’s openness is an invitation for artists to attach their online work to a powerful database that compiles metadata and outputs an elegant interface for exhibiting the work. Essentially, you have eliminated the need for a gallery, museum, curator, registrar, digital librarian all in one fell swoop.

In this zero space of infinite possibilities the artist is in control. In the 0P3NR3P0 open medium for Internet art, there are no gatekeepers, no filters, no restrictions: the artist is entirely responsible for their own contextualization and exhibition.

During the first two weeks of the NetArtizens Open Online Exhibition – the 0P3NR3P0 show we are organizing for the upcoming Art of the Networked Practice | Online Symposium – nearly 100 works have been submitted. (If only I had time to properly peruse them, but I will!) But I invite everyone to explore, there are real gems here. In the zero space of 0P3NR3P0, these works have found a home, and no curator can prevent them from being seen by viewers from around the world. In the space of zero, the artist controls their own destiny through open source mechanisms of the Net. And from zero comes the opportunity to create something new, together, collectively, open and free.

As it should be.