Why I loved the Wikipedia blackout

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Postscript (29.1.2012): Grateful thanks to those kind people who have revised our wikpedia entry so that it is no longer quite so cringingly awful!

Because it was one day when no one looking for information on the Arts Catalyst would be able to read the barely-researched, ill-informed, error-ridden, unsubstantiated misrepresentation of my organization, written by a 20-year old dance student, who I’m sure “meant well”. I’m totally with Jonathan Jones on this one: “I detest the way this site claims to offer the world’s knowledge when all it often contains is a half-baked distillation of third-hand information”.

I am not allowed to take down this piece of nonsense or even to edit it by the Wikipedia police (always ready with the delete button for “conflict of interests” but not for poor scholarship), but it can sit there for anyone to read, masquerading as an informed, fact-checked account of our organization.

You would think, given that the original author’s only reference source was our own website, that it would at least be correct, but it’s all been bizarrely rewritten. Beyond the first sentence – my only correction that’s survived the censors – almost every single sentence is either wrong or simply misses the point. The largest part of the supposed “history” of the organization is devoted to a minor schools project that we did fifteen years ago – it says it continued to 2007 but this, as with practically everything in this article, is wrong.

In the list of artists, the writer randomly singles out four artists we’ve worked with, but clearly doesn’t have the arts knowledge to consider Tomas Saraceno, Aleksandra Mir, Beatriz da Costa, the Otolith Group, Aaron Williamson, Kira O’Reilly, Jan Fabre, Helen Chadwick, Anne Bean, Donald Rodney, or Jem Finer – to name just a few – worthy of special mention. Even the name of the article is wrong. Our name is “The Arts Catalyst” not “Arts Catalyst”.

It’s so bonkers I have wondered if it’s an artist’s project (let me know if so, and I’ll get the funny side).

And we have to live with this as the ‘authoritative’ version of our company? I’ve worked for 18 years to build this organization with integrity and care. I could weep.


    1. I just wish someone would just take the whole thing down. There are quite extensive academic and media references to Arts Catalyst, but the author hasn’t bothered to do any research at all. Makes me read Wikipedia with a whole new eye!

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