Walid Raad peels back the onion of Artist’s Pension Trust and it’s parent Mutual Art, the operator of MutualArt.com, to reveal the big data operation being assembled. Artsy has received a lot of press for its art genome project but here Raad meets Moti Schniberg, the man behind Mutual Art and gets a lesson in how the firm is modeling the art market for private investors:
MutualArt.com is a website for anyone who loves the arts and wants to keep track of art matters in general. For example, if you like the work of Francis Bacon, you can sign into MutualArt.com and register this preference. You like Sophie Calle, Francis Alys, David Diao, or my work, you do the same, and the site’s algorithm is fantastic. It scans the net and delivers articles, essays, exhibitions, and catalogs that matter to you and only to you. Essentially, MutualArt.com is a database of its users’ preferences.
Then Moti tells me, “MutualArt has millions of users who have registered millions of preferences, and as such we are on our way to building the largest data set about the art world anywhere. Except that our data set remains a noisy picture, and in order to turn it into a clear picture, with reliable tendencies, clusters, and nodes, we hired Ronen Feldman.”
Of course they would hire Ronen Feldman. After all, Feldman is the computer scientist, the man renowned for having coined the term “text analytics” in 1995. And I later found out that Feldman is also a graduate of the most celebrated Israeli military intelligence unit: Talpiot. It’s the equivalent of taking Harvard and adding to it Berkeley, MIT, Caltech, Princeton, and Yale.Continue Reading