Monday, October 17, 2011

Social Media as Art

On Thursday me and my Word City Studio collaborator Kathleen Sweeney went to check out an exhibit at the Pace Gallery in Chelsea about social media. This is how the gallery summarized their show, which closed on Saturday: "An exhibition investigating the ways in which contemporary artists approach public platforms of communication and social networks through an aesthetic and conceptual lens and examining the cumulative effects of social media on our daily lives."

To be fair, it's accurate that it was an investigation of how artists are incorporating social networking into their lives. The possibilities are as endless as the infinite Twitter feed, and most effective to me was a collection of thermal printers hung from the wall with a constant stream of twitter feeds that were in their wholeness a study of how emotion moves through the electronic ether (the paper mess of it is shown above). Overall, the artists communed on the theme of pulling together collections of words/ collections of images/ collections of Google Searches to illustrate greater happenings of our collective consciousness. A wall of sunset images from Flickr (?); a study of the emotional peaks and valleys of emotional expression across the span of a lifetime (20 somethings tweet about connectivity and isolation, while people over 50 tend to feel blessed about their worldly and unworldly accumulations).

I left the exhibit feeling empty. It seemed to me that everything was so parceled out, broken down and abstract that I couldn't reach in and pull out anything human and real. Makes me want to ditch social media for awhile and call a real person on the telephone where our concerns can't be captured and tampered with and manipulated beyond, "Wow, it's just really great to see you."

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