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Hello everyone – This is my Mid Point Review.

 

Social Media + Art – Can Art be social?

Social media is undeniably an increasingly big part of our lives. For many people in our generation, social sites like Facebook are the last thing we check before we go to bed and the first thing we check when we wake up in the morning.

Social media lets normal people become publishers, and news spreads quickly on Twitter before large news medias get hold of the stories. The reporters are not journalist, but normal people. The amateurs.

And it’s the same with creativity. 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Amateurs create most of this content.

72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Amateurs create most of this content.

Many would argue that the abundance of amateur work on the Internet is trite and of poor quality. But I find it interesting that these new possibilities of voluntary participation let people engage (with the art) in deeper level.

The first part of my process I spent narrowing down what social media art really is.

In fact there are many ways to define Social Media Art.

  • One way would simply be “Art that is displayed trough social media”,
  • Another could be “Generative art that is created from data from social media”,
  • And yet a third way is “Art that is co-created through social media”.

I see this last definition as the only truly social way of creating Social Media Art; so this is the type of art I am focussing on in my MA.

Two questions quickly occurred:

  1. Can art that is co-created by amateurs be as meaningful and aesthetic as art created by artist?
  2.  What will role be as an artist?

As I see it the roles of both artist and the recipient change. The artist becomes a curator or even facilitator, and the recipient becomes and active participant. This also raises question about creative ownership.

My theoretical research:

My theoretical research up to now has primarily been focused on understanding social behaviour. I have read many books and articles on the matter, but some of the books that I have found the most important have been Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky and the social behaviour book: I’ll Have What She’s Having by R. Alexander Bentley, Mark Earls and Michael J. O’Brien.

I have also been looking into theory about co-creation, start-ups and interactive art. And studied the work of social media artist such as Aaron Koblin, Chris Milk and Taylor Jones.

Also, I have attended the OFFF festival in Barcelona where I was extremely inspired by artist like Found and Daniel Eatock.

My practical research:

At this point I have conducted three experiments for my research.

Experiment 1: The co-creation and creative ownership experiment.

Through my job as a tutor in art direction and creativity, I created a two-week assignment for 66 BA students from 3 different creative courses. I asked them to co-create three works of art to decorate 3 large fences around Metro diggings in Copenhagen. First the students worked in small groups, each group creating ideas for every location. But since only one idea for each location could be carried out in the end, a small jury had to choose 1 winning work for each location. The following week we started out by announcing the 3 winning ideas, and all the students who’s work was not chosen, had to decide what art project they wanted to take part in and help create it during the last week.

My main interests throughout this experiment were: How motivated would they be to execute someone else’s idea? Who has creative ownership?

Experiment 2: The Social platform experiment (ongoing)

I am an eager user of Instagram. And I had this idea of using the thumbnails on the “tag pages” in a creative way. I asked 18 Contributors to create their own version of a small section of Botticelli’s classic painting Birth of Venus, and post it in the correct order and tag it #venusreborn so they all would show up on the same page. The result resembled a technique from the old Dadaist drawing game “The Exquisite Corpse.”

 Note: For my first test I invited all the contributors, and I still haven’t tried this with strangers, though this is the plan. The logistics are difficult, if images are posted in a wrong order the whole thing messes up. Also if anyone uses the tag for something else, it will also damage the image. This fragility, frustrating as it might be, is also something that I find very interesting and true about creating art through Social Media.

Experiment 3: Personal participation (ongoing)

The final thing I have been doing is taking part in different types of online co-creation art projects and memes. I am doing this to gain understanding in what it takes for people to join in these projects, and to understand their motivations to be part of crowd sourced or co-created art projects. I have promised myself that I will participate in 6 more online projects the next two following weeks.

What’s next?

Part of the methology I mentioned in my project proposal was outlining relevant technology. This means that I need to do more tests on media platforms like I did in the Instagram experiment. And since Facebook is the one major platform today, I am keen to use Facebook Connect in some way.

 The final project:

My  main objective is to create a true social experience that can engage and activate participants.

I have still not chosen the final form, and I am looking forward to hearing your input? Should I create several small art projects on different already existing social media platforms like I did with the #venusreborn project?

Or, should I set up one major crowd-sourced social media art project – possibly creating the platform myself?

One thing I am certain of though is that my project needs to be displayed online so that anyone can participate at any time.

Other questions:

1. Can art that is co-created by amateurs be as meaningful and aesthetic as art created by artist?
2. And what will my role be as an artist?

As I see it the roles of both artist and the recipient change. The artist becomes a curator or even facilitator, and the recipient becomes and active participant. This also raises question about creative ownership.

 

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing your comments!

 

 

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