Artist: Thomas Asmuth

Click on the image above to learn more about Thomas Asmuth

Permission obtained from both Kenneth Lo and Francesca Pastine

Since virtual life has been on my mind lately, I figured looking at social networking was apropos to the overall discussion. Quite honestly, it’s impossible to see, know, and experience the entire virtual world. It’s constantly expanding and growing and at such a rapid pace. Like others, it’s much more realistic to read and follow sites and/or blogs that hold one’s interest. Some time ago, I wrote the post, Paying my Respects to Kenneth Lo. He’s a phenomenal Bay Area artist and I’m a huge fan of his work. His Facebook statues regarding the arts (amongst other updates) are always these pearls of wisdom and truth so I couldn’t help but share one of his many witty updates. Although he has no intention of stirring emotions, his eloquent points always draw friends into a discussion (via comment thread) filled with humor and candor. Last week, he posted the status, “Sorry, this is rather bitchy of me, but it’s so very disheartening to see work that gets shown and celebrated, and think it to be so much gratuitous drivel.” I agree but it takes a brave soul to bring up such a point. When one feels compelled to re-visit an artist work over and over again it’s because the work resonates, which is a great thing! This happens all the time with music, film, performance art, etc. Yet, bad art (whatever that means to you) does exist. Being the die-hard optimist, I’ve said time and time again that the negative is just as valuable as the positive. Believe it or not, there is art I don’t like or don’t value (personally) BUT I try to understand its message or lack thereof to better understand my own notions and ideas of art.

Bottom line: Art criticism and dialogue is imperative for its growth and evolution to take place.

This cartoon about blogging was originally published in the New Yorker in 2005 and created by Alex Gregory. Think about that…2005. Blogging has been around for decades though. Technology moves fast and I’m sure many of you weren’t on the internet as much in 2005 (or maybe you were, tech folks, obviously, but my mother – not as much). I’m not going to get into the technical history on this post but you can check out this CNET news article here with a pretty nifty timeline.

I’m writing about this topic because I read a blog posting about, well, you guessed it, blogging, written by Barbara Jane Reyes (BJR) – phenomenal writer! She discusses reader engagement and the deluge of social networking sites (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) and its effect on the blogosphere. Let’s face it…everyone in the world can have a blog (of course, it becomes a question of accessibility) BUT the desire and motivation to produce content is a complete different story. From poetry to fashion to food to art to gossip to fiction/non-fiction, there’s a blog for anyone and everyone interested in something. BJR writes,

I am experiencing a bit of nostalgia over his post, what it once was like in a space that I now complain daily is rife with noise, clutter, thoughtlessness and insincerity.

The imagery that comes to mind is our own physical world. The physical world is glut with things we don’t need and discard, more so now than ever. These days, we have to navigate a virtual world as well. A world that is excessive and, perhaps, more confusing!! Although some folks don’t believe pumping out content on a daily basis is worth it, I decided to engage in the experience. I’ve been doing this Post a Day 2011 challenge through WordPress, which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Advantage: 1) Learning discipline, 2) reading (way more) and discovering new artists, art movements, and anything related to art that provokes me to write or post, 3) being mindful and posting content that parallels with my goals and aspirations – people, places, and ideas I want to study and research, 4) connecting with people all over the world (a German scholar contacted me about my work and photography, and 5) having my blog serve as my portfolio

Disadvantage: People not reading or caring. More often than not, this can really dampen all of the advantages. 😦

In talking to people about blogs they follow, many individuals have a tendency to follow blogs that deal with the following content: sex, fashion, gossip, and food (and sex, oh, I said that one already). They may not readily admit it but if you look at statistics online (i.e., followers to these sites/blogs), you will see for yourself. Trust me, not slamming ANY blogs with this type of content but merely pointing out that the content relates to the Physical/Physicality of being in the world? Let’s face it, I find Art ridiculously juicy and filled with so much intellectual, emotional, and psychological stimulation BUT I highly doubt people are re-tweeting or re-blogging my interpretation of Theodor Adorno‘s essay on ‘Society’ where he explains art as knowledge informing a society. People want to connect where they are at in a moment. They don’t want to put in the work to connect.

And you know what?

That’s OKAY with me. Being an art writer/blogger has a specific audience and I’m not going to cater or pander to folks. Over time, I’ve realized my blog needs to be a space that shows progress and not perfection (as my old guitar teacher has said). It really is about progress not perfection. It’s a virtual work space. MY work space. BJR states,

As for myself, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, writing to work out my work…having this blog be the space where I continue to process what needs processing, so I can continue to envision a project, write it to completion, see it through to publication and beyond.

Agreed! I’m going to keep art writing and posting the things I love and hoping readers (who truly read) consider the things I’ve written and find themselves engaged…

Please view the Fast Company article here to learn more about these amazing visualizations created by artists, Cullen Miller (music), Nik Hanselmann (visuals), and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA)! Being a GAFFTA volunteer, I get to work with these incredible minds!! 🙂

Click on the image above to view Nicole's site


Photo from Wikipedia

No joke.

I’ve got some serious writer’s block the size of the Transamerica Pyramid building. It doesn’t help that I imagine a block of this size wedged into the Temporal lobe of my brain. Granted, this is all imaginary but my brain is feeling the effects of overuse at this very moment. Overall, it has been a great week and I had the opportunity to meet some smart, innovative minds while volunteering at the Summer of Smart event @ Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. Amongst the Smart folks, I met journalist and SF GovFresh blogger, Jessica Pearce and Artist/Technologist/Development Community Manager for Speek, Matt Nolan. I even wrapped up the weekend interviewing talented painter, Aaron Nagel (by the way, he paints portraits of female nudes that some of you may find NSFW, just letting you know now before you click on his name). Tonight, I’ve been immersing myself in Ars Virtua‘s latest virtual exhibition look art.

The continual stream of information on art, new media arts, and looking at art history (modern and contemporary, as of late) and amassing all of this wonderful intellectual and visual information reminds me that I need to take a break every now and again. I’m feeling tired.

There, I said it. This energizer bunny needs a boost.

Fun fact: I don’t drink coffee (okay, fine, I drink tea but not everyday) and I don’t consume energy drinks. I really don’t want to resort to them either. All right, I’m going to attempt something relaxing tonight…