New opportunities for investment may not be the most pressing matter at hand for most of us these days, if they ever were. But a recently launched site called Trust Art tries to convince us that Art is still a booming industry. The site will introduce ten artists with big ideas for social art. Shares to fund each project will be sold at one dollar each. These shares are redeemable one year later in a public auction of the finished piece, with a 50/50 split between the artist and the investor network. By setting up a system of cyclical publicity, Trust Art is itself investing in a mutually beneficial partnership of financial and social capital. Because the system relies on individual investors' ability to promote their chosen project within a social network, a point-awarding system has been developed in a "Gameplay" schematic for assessing their Social Capital.
Points are awarded according to Fame Game API data, that is, external social capital according to Fame Game, the culture media Web site that Trust Art is a project of. The site's transparency algorithm (dubbed ANDY) maps the cultural footprint of individuals and organizations that use their fame to promote ideas that they care about. External social capital is comprised of Google blog search hits and New York Times article mentions, while other points are scored per investment dollar and connecting people to their project.
Once the funding is gathered for each piece to begin, Trust Art becomes a monitor, relaying information to visitors regarding the artist's self-updated progress. The process is complete after the project is auctioned to the public.
Launched by Fame Theory, the creators of the Fame Game Web site, on February 6th, the project draws attention to the power of the basis for fame: social networking before we had invented it. It also reminds us of the autonomy of both Art and the Internet, by not asking for a bailout but instead crowd-sourcing necessary capital.