Project 23

Here’s my pitch: Investigate the idea of building an Arts journalism delivery (and funding) system based on electronic gaming and social-media gaming technology.

Maybe you could build your virtual movie studio (or, heck — virtual ballet company) a la Farmville, using interactive print, photo, video and audio reviews and interviews of real-life figures in the arts world.

Or you could come up with an iPad app to create Sasha-land, and populate it with multimedia examples of everything that interests you: a lotta dance, a little bit of public radio, some cool video art, a hillside of Thom Mayne buildings and your guilty-pleasure corner of celebrity-chef reality shows. You might have advertisers buy in – pay you a dime to create a Disney Hall where Dudamel conducts young Latin composers (or, more likely, a coliseum where cinematic cowboys and aliens duke it out). Sasha-land would automatically update every day with new news, reviews and interviews defined by the criteria you’ve set up.

Then you invite your neighbors to visit, and in turn visit their Arts-lands — the graffiti-splashed Urban-land, full of galleries, performance art and West African music clubs … Or Wagner-land, with Valkyries, polkas and old Leni Riefenstahl movie houses. And the best, coolest, most popular lands would build loyal audiences that might just pay a little bit for premium content.

During my nine days in LA, I’d put together a team to look into this — visit the gaming gurus at Electronic Arts in Marina Del Rey, query social media types at Zynga, Google, maybe Yahoo, talk with the developers of Second Life (whatever happened to that, anyway?) — all with the goal of sketching out a platform (and, hopefully, a funding model) that might make this work.

This is all kinda crazy, I realize. But it could be a lot of fun — and a way to look into a rich part of the tech world where arts and arts journalism don’t even qualify as an afterthought right now.