It could be contested that Bjork is the most influential musical artist of the 21st century. Bjork’s contributions to the musical and artistic scene could also be contested, and as I would like to explore, are contested using the ideas of collective intelligence through the works of Wikipedia. Henry Jenkins, a media scholar, explains collective intelligence to be “the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others to a common goal.” Bjork’s Wikipedia page was created in 2001, and just in 13 years, 2559 editors and 4,828 edits, the article is a fully realized, comprehensive piece of research. This culmination of effort in constructing information that surround Bjork is what Jenkins refers to as networking, or “the ability to search for, synthesize and disseminate information.” This is of note, because my interest which quickly lead to obsession for Bjork would have never come to fruition, perhaps, had there not been a Wikipedia article on her and the networking of information thereof. For example, Wikipedia has helped feed my intrigue for Bjork, and it has ultimately made me feel closer to her, because now I believe I have a connection to her, just based on a deeper understanding of her work and of her history.
I took a glance “under the hood” at the three main contributors of Bjork’s Wikipedia article, and what I found did not surprise me. The first Wikipedia editor is AnemoneProjectors, most notable for his contributions surrounding “The X Factor”, EastEnders (a BBC original TV show), and soap operas. Asarelah, the second editor, has contributed extensively to articles female rock and metal singers, as well as her work on women in warfare. Finally, BrotherDarkSoul is most notable for his contribution on organizing, or networking, information on women’s vocal ranges categorically. The common denominator I would make out for these editors, is their appreciation for female vocalists, allowing for some outliers. Although some may subscribe to the idea of a “expert paradigm” which is “a bounded body of knowledge, which can be mastered by an individual,” and the fact that only someone who is an expert can speak coherently on a topic, I disagree with this. The three editors have a passion for female vocalists, and although not “experts” their output of time and interest I believe is parallel.
I wish to speak now to the “validity” of Wikipedia articles, and of Bjork’s article in particular. In our society we value truth and credibility, and since Wikipedia allows anyone to edit articles, we see the lens of these editors with how they view “Bjork”, for example. I however, do not see credibility or validity as an issue on the Wikipedia world. As I have stated previously, Wikipedia inspires people to get excited about knowledge, which I then believe turns into a quest for knowledge, there is an importance for others as Jenkins puts it: “to see themselves as members of a knowledge community.” There is NOW an interest to be seen as a commodity of knowledge.
In conclusion, I believe the internet, and Wikipedia more directly, has changed the way we process and network information. It has made us mass consumers, but also, it has pushed us to be information seekers. To end on a less scholarly note, Bjork in 2011 released her album “Biophilia”, the biophilia hypothesis being that humans are intertwined with other living systems, very interesting to note if we consider the way we interact with other humans using the internet being another “living system.” The app allowed for its users to create and share music. For that reason, I admire Bjork for her understanding that we are living in a time of completely interconnected information and creativity.
Jenkins, Henry. “WHAT WIKIPEDIA CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE NEW MEDIA LITERACIES (PART ONE).” Confessions of an AcaFan. http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab.html, 26 June 2007. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.
Jenkins, Henry. “WHAT WIKIPEDIA CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE NEW MEDIA LITERACIES (PART TWO).” Confessions of anAcaFan. http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab_1.html. 26 June 2007 Web. 14 Feb. 2014.
Burton, Charlie. “In Depth: How Björk’s ‘Biophilia’ Album Fuses Music with IPad Apps.” Wired UK. http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2011/08/features/music-nature-science, 26 July 2011. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.