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Show your PPPPRIDE and buy yourself a

Show your PPPPRIDE and buy yourself a FFFFOUND! TTTT-SHIRT. [Ok, knock that off. -ed]

FFFFOUND!, art curating for the masses

Alexander Bohn wrote a glowing review of FFFFOUND! at Speak Up the other day. My FFFFOUND! fandom is documented elsewhere, so I’ll comment instead on an observation Bohn made in his initial paragraph:

Graphic design might not work in the white cube, but it flourishes on a white background. A new mutated strain of design blog has evolved: The Randomly Curated Other People’s Images White Background Site, or RCOPIWS. Sites like Manystuff, Monoscope, Your Daily Awesome, and VVORK (among countless others) offer designers and design aficionados a constant flood of typographic morsels, interesting photos, arresting new art, and the like. One such site sets itself apart, notably, from the other RCOPIWSes: the collaborative image-bookmarking site โ€” allegedly, but unconfirmed, initiated by online fiend Yugo Nakamura.

Among the many things that the internet has democratized is curating, a task once more or less exclusive to editors (magazine, book, and newspaper), art gallery owners, media executives (music, TV, and film), and museum curators. They choose the art you see on a museum’s wall, the shows you see on TV, the movies that get made, and the stories you read in the newspaper. The ease and low cost of publishing on the web coupled with the abundance of sample-ready media has made the curating process available to many more people. Smashing Telly is David Galbraith’s rolling film festival (or TV channel). By simply listening to the music that you like, allows anyone to put together their own radio station to share with others. is essentially a table of contents for a magazine I wish existed. Shorpy has freed old photography from the nearly impenetrable Library of Congress web site and presented it in a compelling blog-like fashion.

In the case of FFFFOUND! and other RCOPIWSs, I would argue that these sites showcase a new form of art curating. The pace is faster, you don’t need a physical gallery or museum, and you don’t need to worry about crossing arbitrary boundaries of style or media. Nor do you need to concern yourself with questions like “is this person an artist or an outsider artist?” If a particular piece is good or compelling or noteworthy, in it goes. The last week’s output at Monoscope would make a pretty good show in a Chelsea art gallery, no? It’ll be interesting to see how this grassroots art curating will affect the art/design/photography world at large. Jen Bekman, who has roots in the internet industry, is already exploring this new frontier with her nimble gallery and the Hey, Hot Shot! competition. Others are sure to follow.

I wrangled myself an invitation to Ffffound

I wrangled myself an invitation to Ffffound and have been enjoying it so far. Here’s my Ffffound page.

Update: DO NOT email me asking for an invite. I DON’T HAVE ANY.


For the past few months, I’ve been closely following the activities of FFFFOUND!, a social bookmarking web site and one of my favorite finds of the past year. The technology and presentation are fairly straightforward. Site participants select images to bookmark and the images show up on the site along with the related URL. Users can also bookmark images that other users have already bookmarked, which creates connections between images and users, allowing FFFFOUND!’s software to build recommendation lists (e.g. if you like this image, you may also like…). And then people like me who aren’t participants can just sit back and view people’s image streams. Mike Migurski wrote a nice introduction to the site and its capabilities back in July.

But the thing that makes the site work is that the current participants have really good taste in imagery. The project appears to have been started by Yugo Nakamura, who old school web folks may remember as one of the first true Flash artist wizards (see Mona Lisa matrix, MONO*crafts, and Industrious Clock, for example), and has expanded slowly while in beta; each participant gets only a single invite to pass along. The site’s slow expansion from Nakamura and a small group of his art/design pals & associates has kept the quality high and focused. I hope the quality can remain high as the site gains in popularity and weathers the eventual opening up of participation to the web at large.

PS. I know you’re probably just supposed to pronounce it like “found” but I’ve been favoring “fuh-fuh-fuh-found”, even though that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

Update: I do not have any invitations for FFFFOUND! Sorry.