“Thank you guys for coming,” Alexis Clements said last Thursday night to a small crowd at the Brooklyn Museum largely comprised of women. “Actually, I shouldn’t say ‘guys,’” she interrupted herself, “Thank you all for coming.” That introduction set the tone for a panel that the playwright, performer, and Hyperallergic contributor moderated, called “The Art of Feeling: Contemporary Arts Writing and the Internet.”
After thinking through the idea of Tumblr as art, I began to find the difference between various social media platforms glaringly obvious. Marshall McCluhan’s phrase “the medium is the message” came to mind. How do settings and mediums change or possibly mandate artistic intention? After exploring Tumblr’s unique qualities, I wanted to expand the focus to another relatively new platform for artistic creation, Twitter.
My latest thoughts on the evolving discussion about the use of social media in art and where it should (in my opinion) go.
Critic Paddy Johnson just penned a column for L Magazine about something she terms “Twitter art,” by which she means (I assume) art that uses Twitter. I often enjoy her take on new media but in regards to her treatment of Twitter-related art, I think she misses the mark. Here’s why.
This month’s ARTnews includes an extensive feature by veteran arts writer Barbara Pollack on social media art. This is a fascinating read for anyone interested in understanding the emergence of social media art and how artists are using the medium to create work.
Sometimes, the internet is boring. It’s a tough truth to bear, but it is true nonetheless, and I deal with that fact when it rears its ugly head. But what brightens up those dreary internet days for me aren’t just the websites I check out for news and info, they’re the personalities that I rely on to get that info to me: their senses of humor, senses of the surreal and their ability to hand-pick and hand present stuff that I want to see. Here are ten Twitter personalities that I love hearing from, and I think you should check out for the New Year, and beyond.
The Brooklyn Museum has posted an archive of its 1st Fans Twitter art. The Twitter Art Feed was a benefit for @brooklynmuseum‘s 1stfans (formerly @1stfans) members from December 2008 to December 2010. The feed featured tweets by contemporary artists every month, including Joseph Kosuth, Tracey Moffatt, Mike Montiero, Duke Riley, and names familiar to social media art fans, such as An Xiao, Man Bartlett, Lauren McCarthy, Nina Meledandri, and Joanie San Chirico.
In the West, culture is at risk of being a form of entertainment — exiled Iranian artist Shirin Neshat #TEDWomen
Part of me thinks this has already happened. I asked An Xiao for a context for this quote at the TEDWomen conference and she provided the following:
Neshat spoke today about her experience as an artist exiled from Iran. She explained that art and culture are a form of resistance, and that she envied Western artists for not having to think about resistance in their work. The only challenge, though, is that art here in the West can quickly become entertainment instead.
If you, like so many art-worlders, are heading to the Miami art fairs next week, chances are you may be feeling a little grimy. Why? Not because of the humidity, but maybe because of the exploitative economic interactions and hierarchies on display at US’s biggest art shopping mall. The antidote to all this is #Rank, an event organized by artists William Powhida and Jen Dalton in collaboration with the Edward Winkleman Gallery, which will be park at the Seven art fair. #Rank will critique the blatant displays of wealth and status and the stratification of the art world through panels, artist projects and lectures. The details of #Rank were until recently unclear aside from a call for proposals, but now Powhida and Dalton have started announcing their artist projects, and they sound great. Here’s a preview of 5 projects that I find particularly interesting.
Last Friday, the virtual art world became the real one as fellow Twitter followers met one another in reality, Facebook friends shook hands and a certain performance artist crossed the thresholds between digital and analog. During #TheSocialGraph’s opening at Outpost in Ridgewood, a growing community that exists largely online met in person — and actually talked. Like, with sound, instantaneously. This was all helped along by a large keg and stacks of plastic cups that may have been an exercise in relational aesthetics, but probably were not.
For #TheSocialGraph, I proposed a look at the next step in social media — telepresence, which, in its simplest form is a large-scale video chat meant to mimic the presence of someone in the room, and at its most complex can take the form of a roving, camera-enabled robot.
Since almost as early as the invention of the telephone, human beings have imagined the possibilities of video communication. How amazing would it be to see each other over the phone? That technology now exists, as cameras become embedded in our computers and our smart phones. But even Apple has had trouble pushing it past niche uses. Video chat, for most people, is just too weird.
In two weeks, #TheSocialGraph will open at Outpost in Bushwick, Brooklyn and we’re incredibly excited. What is #TheSocialGraph? It is an evolving exploration of the burgeoning field of social media art and the relation of contemporary art with this populist tool as a medium, facilitator, and subject for art.
I am the curator of the project and I’ve pulled together a number of interesting artists, writers, social media mavens, and others to share ideas and explore possibilities presented by the intersection of visual art and social media. Some of the art in #TheSocialGraph will be about social media, some will use social media as an integral component of the finished project, and some will be more of an experiment so we’re not exactly sure what to call it.