Developed under the auspices of the Kadist Foundation, Kapsul is a new sleek and easily-navigated website that offers visitors the opportunity to "Collect. Curate. Collaborate." With a free account, you can add images of visual art and art-related texts from the internet and your own computer to groupings called "kapsuls." As a platform for searching, sharing, and discussing contemporary art, it represents a new open-source approach to the creative process.
Originally developed with the curator in mind, "you can use a kapsul to plan or document an exhibition, gather suggestions for a project, or just to discover and collect art that interests you," advertises the brief introductory video. While many online collection-based sites bank on our impulse to gather and organize images from around the web (Pinterist and FFFFOUND! are just two), Kapsul adds an element of curation to the mix. Instead of a random free-for-all within the world of contemporary art images, this structure allows for the discovery of new artworks and artists via the suggestions of the Kapsul community.
Hello, I am KapsulI began my exploration of the site by browsing through the many pre-existing public kapsuls. Groupings range from the very broad (Politics) to the very specific (Best Supporting Artwork: Art in the Movies). In the latter, stills and movie clips feature real and fictional art playing backdrop to larger filmic narratives. This wonderful collection is a prime example of the abilities of the website's form. It piqued my interest and made me want to more fully investigate this very subject.
Photos of Curators (Official, Otherwise)I also particularly enjoyed Photos of Curators (Official, Otherwise), a self-referential glance at the people responsible for bringing most of the works on the site into the public's gaze. Each time you search through the public kapsuls, a theme that is already represented will appear at the top of your search results, encouraging users to band together rather than create a number of similar collections. And in each kapsul I visited, I had the option of suggesting works that might fit the creators' organizational structure as well as commenting on the images already there. After coming across a number of groupings that had me reaching for the "Add" button, I deduced it was time to create my own kapsul.
My Time Capsule KapsulI began building a collection of time capsule images from art and history because, well, it seemed fitting. The site's search function categorizes images by their source location: Museums & Art Centers, Blogs, Galleries, Magazines, and general Google images are just a few. The most accurate results came in the Google category, but I knew exactly what I was (and wasn't) looking for. For more exploratory searches, the "advanced search" mechanism allows you to search by color, face, photo, or lines within the categories. The Kapsul interface allowed me to rearrange, title, and describe the images I'd selected with relative ease. Time capsules by Stephen Kaltenbach and Andy Warhol now rest next to pictures of the Oglethorpe Crypt of Civilization and the Westinghouse Time Capsule of Cupaloy. The only glitch I experienced came when I wanted to make my kapsul public -- it appears I needed to make the group a public kapsul from the start.
While Kapsul could be the ultimate procrastination device, the site also serves as an incredible tool for inspiration. It is especially appealing as a resource for those who might not otherwise know where to start with the intimidating glut of information available on contemporary art online. Here, a quick visual tug can pull you into a field of information, allow you to connect with other Kapsul users, and open you up to a new world of art from the comfort of your computer screen.
Visit Kapsul at kapsul.org.