Artist corrects her Wikipedia bio by rebuilding it on her own site

People with a Wikipedia article about them usually resign themselves to living with an error-ridden, lopsided version of their life and work as a top search result. Artist Adrian Piper took matters into her own hands after numerous attempts to get hers corrected, rebuilding hers on her own site.

The top of her version says:

Removed from en.Wikipedia, the free “encyclopedia,“ and reconstructed here at Adrian Piper’s request in September 2013. The en.Wikipedia article falsely claimed to offer biographical information about Adrian Piper, when in fact it had been replaced, post-publication, with its editors’ marginal comments, criticisms and to-do lists. As this practice is substandard with respect both to the traditional purpose of an encyclopedia and to academically acceptable editorial standards, Adrian Piper repeatedly requested deletion of the article. Three Wikipedia members refused to post these observations at the relevant discussion page. In December 2013, the article was again replaced by a new one, which apparently had not been fact-checked and contained numerous factual errors.

One difference is that she goes to lengths to describe her racial admixture, which is a topic of such considerable interest that she has grown tired of answering questions about it. She also describes her yoga practice over the past half century, another topic of great interest. Still, she laments several errors that remain in the "official" version. While Piper doesn't mind incorporating these topics into her art, Wikipedia is another matter. Via ArtNet:

For Piper, the Wikipedia-like bio is a far more prosaic endeavor: an attempt to correct the record. “I wish I could tell you that anything as interesting as art was on my mind when I reconstructed that page,” Piper told artnet News. “Unfortunately it was nothing but a simple act of desperation. The factual errors in the official Wikipedia page were so numerous and glaring—and so incompatible with traditional standards of good scholarship—that it would have been a waste of time to try to get that right. The reconstructed page was a last resort.”

When asked what specifically remains inaccurate about the existing Wikipedia page, the artist said she couldn’t respond because “it is just too upsetting.” Instead, she urges anyone interested in finding out more information about Adrian Piper to visit the recreated Wiki on her website, which she updates at least once a year.

Her efforts have paid off somewhat, as her bio has since been updated on Wikipedia to reflect some of her changes.

Inspired by her idea, I did mine, too. Mine has been basically untouched for years as Wikipedia editors dwindle from the 2007 peak, giving the sense that I have not done anything of note since then. Someone just removed all references to my work as a director, even though I've recently directed a Showtime comedy special, a TV pilot, and I'm directing a film in August. (Fun fact: 88% of indie directors only direct one project in their careers.) My version also includes a filmography, most of the books I've edited or contributed to, and my work making online platforms more gender-inclusive. Compare the two and decide which is objectively better. I can't tell you how many times my crappy Wikipedia bio has been read verbatim to introduce me before a speech, interview or presentation. I feel your pain, Adrian!

Adrian Piper Didn’t Like Her Wikipedia Page—So She Built a Subversive New One From Scratch (ArtNet)

Image: Wikimedia

Loading...