Aaron Swartz – Artist of the Week

Aaron H. Swartz was born on November 8, 1986. He was an entrepreneur and a computer programmer and he used his skills to express his political views. He did research at Harvard University on Institution Corruption. He started an online group called ”Demand Progress”. He got arrested for breaking and entering charges. That happened because he installed a computer to download academic journal articles from JSTOR in the Institute closet. He got in trouble for wire fraud and the penalty was $1 million and 35 years in prison.


Swartz killed himself at his apartment. He had an opportunity to take a plea bargain where hehe would have served 6 months in prison. He was so proud of his work that he refused to admit that what he did was wrong. As Glenn mentioned, he did not actually do anything wrong in the first place.

I find that what he did was very brave and it’s really awesome that he believed in what he was doing. I applaud him for seeing something that is wrong and trying to fix it. It is of course unfortunate  that he ended up taking his life.

I think that regardless of his bravery he is not an artist. He does something he believes in to send a message but it is not art. I get the point that was made about how Monet was seen as radical and his art was questioned at his time but is now widely accepted and praised. Yet, what Swartz was doing was radical in a different way. He wasn’t creating an art piece no one has ever done before, he was bordering illegal activity. He wasn’t just creating art that some people did not understand. He actually made people nervous for exposing secrets.


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