Is it Art or is it a crime?

Well The Art | Crime Archive (ACA), the online archive of transgressive art and creative criminality, announced the launch of its new web-based platform: to answer that very question…

“The Art | Crime Archive’s website is a great space for artists, academics, students, or anyone interested in art and crime to post and comment on articles, and to engage in conversations about the shadow space where creativity and deviance overlap,” said Paul Kaplan, professor of criminology and ACA co-director.

The ACA’s method involves locating, archiving, and studying visual, audio, and text artifacts that illuminate the cultural similarities between deviant art and criminal behaviors.

Due to the controversial nature of the content – Is it art or is it crime? – the ACA seeks to foster sincere dialog from its community of readers and authors.

Recent topics have included one user posting about an art exhibition where some of the most famous deaths are reconstructed using scents and sounds.

In this exhibit, visitors are invited to lie in a series of four silver metal boxes, eerily similar to those found in a morgue.

The boxes are pitch-black inside, and are rigged with piped leading to bottles containing pressurized smells.

A morbid art installation
A morbid art installation

The visitors sit in complete darkness as the story of a celebrity’s death begins to be told.

For about five minutes, visitors can relive the smells and sounds that surrounded four people whose deaths are etched into the world’s memory: Kennedy (1963); Diana, Princess of Wales (1997); Muammar Gaddafi (2011) and Houston (2012).

With the user questioning if it is appropriate to take the death of a living, breathing human being and turn it into a show for others to experience?

Other topics have included:

  • The Line Between Artwork and Child Pornography
  • Can Masturbation be considered performance art
  • Graffiti and Crime does the punishment fit the crime?

Essentially this is the artists reddit.

The ACA was created in 2012, and since its inception has functioned as a participatory archive for a wide range of scholars, artists, students, and community members.

The website’s content—over 500 articles submitted from around the globe—is entirely user-generated. The ACA is part of San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Institute for Public and Urban Affairs (IPUA), and is directed by artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter, criminologist Paul Kaplan, and computer engineer Dan Salmonsen.