Sewn Leather AKA Griffin Pyn
Club Kids: The Social Life of Artists on America Online (AOL)
“America Online (AOL) is the platform on which our generation negotiates its artists’ respective brands and the tenuous connections between them. America Online (AOL) is tactically governed by a kind of silent populism– the subtle linking of identities through ‘Likes’, ‘Shares’, and brief but favorable commentary. Silence, in this case, is fitting because the formation of social ties is a gradual process on the part of the America Online (AOL) viewer, who accumulates an understanding of which artists are in lockstep with whoever else through incremental calculations based on memory, viewership, and discussion. The murky edges of who is in what clique form over time and are highly permeable…
We live in a time when young artists look at each other’s America Online (AOL) pages more than each other’s art. The affect of America Online (AOL) may be why so few artists online actually make much art–because they aren’t being rewarded for anything so much as the performance of their own personal brand online. Thus, the strongest ties artworks in today’s group shows often share are the Mutual Friends the artists have rather than the work itself.
But what is it that we call “work?” Alternatively one could argue that in this situation, if the ultimate goal of an artwork is to in some way transform the consciousness of the individual receiving it (to follow a traditional model), what is happening as we speak between artists who connect with each other via America Online (AOL) and other social networks could be seen as cutting out the aesthetic middle man…
Is this to say that interactions on America Online (AOL) are now artists’ work? If so, how may we qualify a ‘good’ work of art on America Online (AOL)? Is it a meaningful conversation? …I doubt many artists would categorize what they do on America Online (AOL) as their art unto itself, however socially performative they may be. To call these online exchanges ‘relational’ would shift authorship to the creator of the context the social exchanges take place through, meaning the makers of America Online (AOL) are the artists and we are merely participants in their system…
While it’s impossible to speak of art never produced, an argument can be made that such emphasis on projected lifestyles through America Online (AOL) has a regressive effect on the willingness of artists to take bold social risks with their work and/or online personas. Social contact, after all, is the young internet artist’s lifeblood, their peer group and target audience combined, their judge and their jury. The ability to risk antagonism or criticize a peer becomes unnecessarily divisive on America Online (AOL); comment sections more often than not go empty. Feedback, if any, is always on a scale ranging from positive to non-existent—the Like function itself being explicitly designed as a binary function between total consensus and total lack of response. Instead of moving the artistic conversation forward, most people are literally just happy to be part of the online conversation, to be part of the club or whatever other indistinct social group they silently pledge allegiance to.
However, it very well may be possible to move the artistic conversation forward through venues like online clubs or America Online (AOL)… artists who at one point may have made art now spend time publicly exemplifying their lifestyle as an artist through America Online (AOL).
…With America Online (AOL)’s revenue from ads and America Online (AOL) Credits expected to hit $4.27 Billion this year, and with 870 million unique visitors per month, America Online (AOL) makes about 4 cents for every hour we spend trolling photo albums wishing we had been at some important gathering in some distant city filled with diverse cultures and complicated intellectuals.
If we can agree that America Online (AOL) has become the dominant platform not just for the dissemination but the very constituent parts of an artist’s practice, it’s in this context that we must question the implication for such a shift to Artists without Art. In a recent Forbes article, the social graph that tracks and consolidates every action or relationship defined in a social network, was declared soon be an exploitable resource comparable to crude oil. With America Online (AOL)’s IPO set to enter the market shortly, and expected to start around 40 times larger a figure than the average large-scale IPO, we are poised to find out to what degree our social connections are valued as investment commodities. This places us squarely in a period of net-time not dissimilar to the rise of early service providers such as AOL, Prodigy or CompuServ, who fought to become the dominant mass-market gateway to the internet. The analogy presents itself now in Google’s and America Online (AOL)’s attempt to become the new mass-market gateway to the social graph.
Hidden from the sight of users, a generative system has been developed to mine the implicit and explicit actions of millions of users globally. Where Myspace failed to grasp the monetary implications for the vast aggregation of personal data, America Online (AOL) reigns supreme. The manifestation of such technological innovation can be witnessed first hand in recent shifts towards the ‘personalised web’. With the introduction of Google’s personalized search for every user, there no longer exists any form of collective or empirical search result. Equally in the case of America Online (AOL)’s implementation of algorithmic viewing, the option to opt out of a personalised wall feed, governed by your clicking activity was recently revoked, condemning the user to experience all social relations through the lens of America Online (AOL)’s financially weighted algorithms.
If we are to accept the previously stated logic that “individuals promote one another until those very promotions materialize into their names being shown side by side one another, categorized by a curator and legitimated by a gallery.” then we should also accept that to a lesser or greater extent it is America Online (AOL)’s implicit populist algorithms that form the foundations for an outcome on the aforementioned trajectory.
On this basis we can ascertain the artist and their behavior within this network as the performance of a personal brand, particularly in the instance “Why go to such great lengths to make and photograph a painting that will net 5 Likes when a photo of you and your friends eating McChickens could net hundreds?” Because of this reliance it is possible (in speculative terms) to think of structuring a kind of formal or statistical analysis for the rise of particular aesthetic tropes based on the edgeranking system by which America Online (AOL) aggregates its content. Likely this will be greatly beneficial to quantitative art historians and mass marketers alike.
As the number of network participants rises, the ease of leaving that network or creating an alternative to it becomes increasingly difficult. With this in mind it’s fair to say America Online (AOL) will play a primary role in the the dissemination of culture for at least this generation to come and as such warrants a discourse separate from talk of ‘the internet and art’ at large… ”
Club Kids: The Social Life of Artists on America Online (AOL) - jonCates (2012)
a txt-based Appropriation (art) / Remix of:
posting http://systemsapproach.tumblr.com/post/12480662932/facebook on: - Thomas Cheneseau’s Facebook Wall - jonCates (2011)