Mood Disorder, 2012 – Ongoing

A selection of 57 articles digitally printed on paper
Each print: 45 x 32 cm
Edition of 10 plus II AP

Openly circulating high resolution image file. The photograph was placed onto Wikipedia’s article for Mood Disorder at 5:43pm on 17 May 2012. Since Wikipedia’s content is copyright free, it has since then circulated online, illustrating articles relating to depression.

In Mood Disorder Horvitz has made a self portrait on a beach in the early morning in New York City. The photograph is based on his studies of stock photographs that depict depression and sadness. Horvitz has acted out these cliches and gesticulations that represent depression: his face is in his hands, he is dressed in black, behind him waves are crashing. Horvitz has then placed this image on the English Wikipedia page for the article about Mood Disorder. Since Wikipedia is a website of copyright free content, the image can circulate openly and legally without restrictions. News pages, blogs, journals, and various other kinds of sites have started to use the image as a free stock photograph to illustrate their articles. Using reverse image searches the artist has tracked the articles that have been using his image. The piece is essentially a digital image traveling outside of the artist’s control. This piece continues to grow larger over time.

The project follows a number of Wikipedia interventions by Horvitz. For Public Access (2010-11) – a work that unfolded as Horvitz drove up California´s coastline, from the Mexican to the Oregon border – he took a series of scenic photos of himself looking out to sea. These images were uploaded to the Wikipedia entry for each location and, in turn, produced much discussion amongst the Wikipedia community as members tried to figure out his identity and the purpose of the photos.

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