Let's go back to the questions posed by last week's Brooklyn Meetup event:
Social Media, Art & The "Like" Economy
How do we value art online? In a setting that privileges and rewards content with mass appeal and a meme-ready aesthetic, how does the creative practice of artists working on the internet conform to or defy these rules? In the absence of a true art market for net art, new media art, or art that takes place on social media platforms, does a work's viral potential become an indicator of success or quality?
In this moderated panel discussion we'll hear from artists, curators, and art critics who are looking at the way art functions in the digital gallery of the internet. We'll be exploring whether success online can translate to success offline, and exactly how much stock one should place in the "Like" economy of the web.
Previously we flagged "interesting & cogent discussion" and "institutional recognition" as art's main evaluators on and offline. Money comes later (for some) but it's kind of boring and gauche to talk about that when you're still hashing out what your art even means. The "like economy" is an amateurish idea that sacrifices brains for commerce, or artists pseudo-maybe-ironically being in bed with startups and everyone else wondering how they are going to profit from the web. If, twenty years ago, a gallery panel was convened around the idea of "Gah, how are we gonna make money?" it might have been less well-regarded than say, a panel on how the "neo" movements of the '80s shaded over into early '90s relational aesthetics-style activities. Because it's the web, there is an uneasy mingling of what artists do with what entrepreneurs do.
As for popularity and going viral as a metric, this gets back to the zillion hits vs Henry Darger dichotomy posed by Ryder Ripps. That might have been a more interesting way to frame the discussion than "like economy: love it or hate it" which presumes the like economy already exists outside the grad student imagination.