selling out and working within the system

A couple of excerpts from Hyperallergic's retardataire Tumblr symposium (in progress right now at 319 Scholes). First a screenshot from a Kyle Chayka essay about selling out:


And the final paragraph from Julia Kaganskiy's essay The Measure of Success: Making Art in the “Like” Economy:

Stats are woven into the fabric of the web and, tied as they are to the business prospects of many of our favorite service providers, the metrics aren’t going away anytime soon. If anything, we’ll probably see more attempts at the “gamification” techniques meant to encourage this behavior, like the addictive buttons and animated feedback that liking and reblogging currently feature. Short of choosing to disengage from the metrics system completely, as Benjamin Grosser did with his “Facebook Demetricator” project, which erased all visible numbers from his Facebook profile, there’s not much artists can do to extricate themselves from this data-driven system as long as they hope to make and display work online. The most successful creators will be those who choose to work within the system, but do so with self-awareness and purpose, and perhaps a good dose of humor as well.

I commented on the Kaganskiy essay:

"The most successful creators will be those who choose to work within the system," with or without the qualifiers that follow, reads like a Party dictate in the former USSR.

These writers live in a narrow tunnel defined by a handful of web providers. The point of these essays is "let's make our tunnel as comfortable as possible because we ain't never getting out."

#bonjourjeanjacques phone painting


Another painting found on phone arts, posted by Bonjour Jean-Jacques.
The smeary, broad-brush style and photographic aura recall Joy Garnett's oil paintings of natural and man-made disasters, based on media images. But the image is so ambiguous there's no clear evidence of a disaster or a media reference. Something in the atmosphere of this phone-made pic gives it a sinister reading: what might be fires in the windows of a high-rise could also just be ceiling lights flared out by the lens; the suggestion of billowing smoke just a swipe of a finger on glass.

Also unclear is the relationship of photo-made and handmade marks. Whereas a painterly photorealist starts with a blank canvas and renders with eye and wrist (either eyeballing an image or gridding or projecting it to make a drawing), many digi-painters start with an existing pic right on the phone and, using filters or virtual brushes, smear on top of it or drag parts of the image around. That looks to have been the case here. The marks, especially in the lower left, have that characteristic Photoshop smudge look, as if the fingers of a right hand made an arc from right to left, "pulling" an image out of itself in a way that is supposed to look like oil painting but inevitably signals "Photoshop smudge."

It's also hard to tell from all the blurring and smearing what the scale of the buildings is or their relationship to each other in space. The pillar in the center suggests a high-rise tower but do the orange windows belong to the same structure? Are they in the foreground or background? Too many spatial cues have been rubbed out. These aren't matters of pressing concern, though. Despite hints that all may not be well in world of this phone, mostly we are enjoying the light, hazy softness, and greying colors of the image.