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Why Jam?

GraphicJam is part graffiti, part jazz. It is a place where visitors contribute to an evolving collaborative drawing - a 'wall' where a private gesture becomes part of a public design. GraphicJam connects all visitors to the site into one virtual drawing surface. Any mark made on this surface is visible to all viewers nearly instantly, so those involved in the Jam can see the actions of anyone else who is marking the wall at that moment.

GraphicJam is an art forum, a collision of sensibilities and wills. People can collaborate, compete, destroy, digress, and play on this relatively accessible surface. As with graffiti, no mark is final. Each layer gives way to the next, creating an ongoing collaborative work that evolves and disappears as visitors contribute their scribbling energy to it.

This project borrows an aesthetic from jazz - live 'jam' sessions where musicians play together, creating music through improvisation. Images grow from the simultaneous labors of trios, quartets, and so forth. Solos are gradually or suddenly effaced by the emergence of new themes. Last, GrafficJam is a live art form. The recording that allows one to see the recent history retrace its steps when one arrives is constantly, like the sound of live music, fading from the hum of the machine into the quietude of human memory.

Like a note in live music, any mark that is made is immediately part of the design. It must be responded to, ignored, incorporated, or overwritten. This leads to a spontaneous, playful mix of creative impulses coming through the medium - each physical gesture visible on screen as a hand draws it.

GraphicJam challenges the belief that art is created by one person, exists in one place at one time, and can be owned by one person. Here the artwork may be created by many people who don't aspire to be artists, who may not consciously see themselves as adding to an aesthetic design. The web gives us an opportunity to experiment with a much broader definition of art and creativity. GraphicJam is about exploring that opportunity.

by Andy Deck
and Mark Napier

Curatorial Algorithms - an essay on internet aesthetics by Andy Deck

Interface Designs

Source code for the project.