bodega list discussion

Regarding Jeff Sisson's online project "Bodega List," the following exchange took place at

Comment by Tom Moody
January 21, 2009 1:08 am
I think this is a good idea... My fear with a project like this is that its "success" is defined as getting reblogged by Rhizome and We Make Money Not Art and then it gradually falls apart. Remember Street Meme? An Eyebeam-launched crowdsourcing project where people identified graffiti tags out on the street and there was some kind of ranking system. The system was never completely functional and the creators lost interest in I think less than a year. But it didn't matter because the main tech art portal/aggregator sites all gave it the big thumbs up. I'd like to see the Bodega project become a popular NYC institution, loved outside the tech art ghetto and enduring for many years, a real urban resource celebrating these non-chain store, practically invisible but vital institutions, so prove my gloomy prognosis wrong.

Comment by Brian Droitcour
January 22, 2009 2:30 pm
A bodega is something you search for with your feet, not the internet. If you need a bodega you just walk down the street until you find one. What makes this idea interesting to the "tech art ghetto" is its absurd nonfunctionality, its joke about the internet as an out-of-control database that catalogs things that don't need to be cataloged. The project starts to look misguided and silly if you inject it with a social conscience by saying it celebrates "practically invisible but vital institutions." They're only invisible if you never leave your computer to go outside.

Comment by Tom Moody
January 28, 2009 11:00 am
It's refreshing to be criticized for having a social conscience, since I'm usually "insulting artists" by being apolitical. My point is once you have your little moment of absurd non-functionality it's on to the next project. I was imagining absurd non-functionality on a rather grander scale, with lots of New Yorkers actually participating in this thing. I believe something could be an urban resource and still kind of a joke. We-love-bodegas-but-not-really.