Now Answering How Writing with Open Access Works
Behind the curtains of Curaturae, the application that allows you to Write with Open Access
Mixing art and technology has the ability to create seemingly magical connections. In Writing with Open Access, artifacts from Smithsonian’s collection are linked to your writing through a series of technical processes. As mentioned in previous emails this year, this mixture can spark new ideas, but it can also create confusion and raise questions. The questions I have received since launching the project fall three main categories:
The collection: do all artifacts have the same data associated with them?
Technology: why can I only write in 10 languages?
Creative decisions: why does the application only select nouns and verbs?
Today, there is a page dedicated to explaining how all this works in Writing with Open Access. On the page are questions and answers. There is a detailed case study with animated videos to show how a keyword is chosen and transformed into an image. The page ends with direct lines of contact to continue conversations with the departments responsible for making Writing with Open Access possible. They include teams at Smithsonian, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. This project has left a strong impression on my creative thinking. With this FAQ page, I share those insights with you.
To reiterate: the FAQ is not meant to answer all questions, but is aimed to give you a better sense of how this works, who is involved to make this work, and what decisions have been made. In this way, it is my hope that your questions, understanding, and expectations of applications, technologies, and museums improve. As our world relies more and more on technology, it has become harder for me to see biases encoded in these technologies. This exercise helped me unpack and sort bias in the museum’s collections, in technology, and in my own creative decisions.
I hope it can offer the same for you,