Self-proclaimed “cultural hacker” Ian Wojtowics has identified six Montrealers who are any marketer’s wet dream. Titled The Betweeners, his exhibition at Centre des arts actuels Skol investigates social media, connectivity and the power of influence.
Wojtowicz wrote a piece of software which for three months combed through 65,000 MySpace pages in Montreal and tracked down users with the most diverse social network. The emphasis here is on diversity, not popularity. The software looked for individuals who were connected to the most different types of clusters, or cliques, something he terms “betweenness centrality”. The six Montrealers with the highest betweenness centrality identified by Wojtowicz are able to distribute any piece of information throughout the entire network. In other words, they have such a high viral potential, they can affect an information cascade – they are, to quote Wojtowicz, “a chain reaction waiting to happen”.
The six Betweeners all happen to be involved with the arts: two performance artists, a graphic designer, a writer and musician, a fashion designer, and a jeweller. Their portraits and bios are pinned up on the gallery walls, and a large-format digitally composed group portrait features prominently in the gallery. But the core of the exhibit is the short video which in concise, comprehensible terms outlines the concept of this project (both in English and in French).
This outstanding exhibition will continue at Skol until May 22. And: I’m not revealing the names of the Betweeners – sorry, marketing gurus – you’ll have to trek down to Skol and find out for yourself.
Centre des arts actuels Skol
April 16 – May 22, 2010