tim barber is reorganizing the internet
Tim Barber is changing the way art works on the internet with his elegantly curated new website Time and Space. An online gallery with a social networking component, Time and Space picks up where Tim’s iconic site Tiny Vices left off. i-D caught up...
"I'm reorganising my studio," says Tim Barber, explaining the table full of perfectly arranged little objects (glass owls, plastic smiley faces) awaiting new shelves. Said shelves are meticulous, with endless rows of books and magazines arranged in white files. A lone snack pack of Lays potato chips sits above the sink. In addition to being a talented photographer in his own right, Tim has used his obsession with organization to create websites that revise how photography works online. First came Tiny Vices, which showcased work by artists like Ryan McGinley and Asger Carlsen, and now Time and Space, a project that updates Tiny Vices for a new era.
The concept for Tiny Vices came from Tim's desire to provide a forum for the talented photographers and artists he was encountering in the early 2000s. The simple website featuring a curated group of portfolios was launched in 2005 and quickly became an industry reference. The site was built from scratch, with the help of a teenage developer. As Tim says, "at the time, not very many people had their own websites. Facebook didn't exist yet, Tumblr didn't exist. All those things didn't exist. There weren't very many platforms for people to be sharing stuff unless you built your own site." What started as a hobby eventually eclipsed his day job as photo editor of Vice, and soon he was curating exhibitions around the world and publishing books. There was even a Tiny Vices app.
Before the word 'crowdsourced' came into vogue, Tiny Vices was taking submissions from the world at large, and dozens came in every day, only a small fraction of which Tim would post. Of this time, Tim says, "the site mutated into this really diverse curatorial, editorial project where I was posting new stuff from photographers and artists all over the world. It was definitely focused on emerging people who hadn't necessarily been seen or heard from yet, who hadn't been discovered or shown in magazines or galleries. It had this kind of useful, interesting underground kind of vibe to it." As a magazine editor living in Paris, I remember using it as a regular resource. This was a time when even Google image search was quite rudimentary.
After about five years, Tiny Vices had become a full-time job and Tim decided to archive the site to focus on his own photography. But people continued to ask him about it, and the dormant website still received over a thousand visitors a day. In the meantime, social media sites including Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram became collective obsessions and a new generation of artists began integrating social sharing into their practice. For the past few years, Tim has been reflecting on how to relaunch it with this new reality in mind.
Fast forward to the birth of Time and Space: a collective blog of seventy-something artists, with room for individual artists' portfolios, and an exhibition calendar, and an Instagram gallery (which compiles the contributors' Instagrams without the visual clutter of likes and comments). The main departure from Tiny Vices is that each artist has access to his own administrative backend, so he can update it regularly. Tim explains, "it was funny - it took me a really long time to brainstorm this out, and I got to this point where I storyboarded it and I said, 'oh wait, this is what Facebook is.' I kind of invented Facebook, but not. That said, the significant difference between Time and Space and Facebook or any other social media platform is that those platforms aren't curated."
from Aurora Borealis by Agnes Thor http://www.time-and-space.tv/contributors/agnes-thor
There's a purity to Time and Space, which feels refreshingly free from the commoditisation of creation. In the course of our interview he described himself alternately as an "organiser," a "coach," and a "blogger" (as well as, of course, a "photographer.") But perhaps, "organiser" is most apt. As I leave Tim hands me a poster for his new show Relations, opening tonight at the Capricious Gallery. I unfold it on the street and it's a picture of two hands reaching across space, fingertips touching.
from Levittown by Hyers and Mebane http://www.time-and-space.tv/contributors/martin-hyersampwilliam-mebane
from Flower Field by Diana Scherer http://www.time-and-space.tv/contributors/diana-scherer
from Before Right by Asger Carlsen http://www.time-and-space.tv/contributors/asger-carlsen
from Mitakuye Oyasin: All My Relations by Aaron Huey http://www.time-and-space.tv/contributors/aaron-huey
Text Rory Satran
Images courtesy of Time and Space