In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “From the Collection of the Artist.”
By the beginning of the 21st Century people worldwide were fascinated with the notion of being able to post their every move. Billions of pictures signifying the food they ate, the new pair of shoes they just bought, or maybe the odd viewpoint captured when they actually interacted with others – “The Selfie!” This new phenomena swept the more industrialized nations while others sat back creating a reply in the form of “Memes”. These memes were meant as a form of mockery, posting a picture of a young, starving child smiling while the words “So you’re telling me that people sleep in the wilderness for a vacation?”
These pictures became the art form most visited on websites, people’s email communication, and eventually sent back and forth via text message. Renowned art historians found themselves ill at ease with how to quantify this new medium. It wasn’t considered to be representative of any known category and at a conference held at The Sorbonne. Digital Artwork had long been defined as being created by an individual or group, but the new group think meant that in places where original artwork once existed these oddly collaborative works were entering the collective.
Expressing a thought while utilizing the visual medium created by another. Not building on that commentary, but including something thought provoking so as to draw the audience into a shared experience. An idea gone wrong, a slow line at the local market, or expressing a personal position about one’s spouse/partner/cohabitant.
How society viewed this is a matter for debate. The older generations didn’t quite understand, but they were answering messages for their bank accounts by the millions of Nigerian Princes looking for financial advice. Some of the more hip among them cutting and pasting countless photos to send to their grandchild asking them to explain. Those born in the middle of the 20th century were more open to the notion of shared media, but they were also sending messages via Facebook and adding everyone they knew.
For those people who never knew a world without a laptop in every corner or a cellphone that didn’t do more than dial numbers, they sought out like-minded individuals in all corners of the internet. Reddit, Gawker, TMZ, they all saw page hits increase with each new photo of a cat walking across the head of a passed out frat boy. Websites like TheChive openly collected the submitted works of others, never crediting any person for their effort.
In his renowned dissertation “Art, or my dog pooped on the carpet” Dr. Frank Enfurter Von Trapp posited that others should walk into museums and make sure to take photos of themselves standing next these new works. Thereby creating a whole new category of self-expression that could be shared globally within the fraction of a second it took to press “Post this?”
The museum reminds the patrons that any and all works created within the walls of this establishment are the intellectual property of the artist. We want nothing to do with taking responsibility for that which you create. There are times when we wished people didn’t even acknowledge they were in our facility. This used to be a solemn place, now even we don’t admit where we are employed. Thank you, The Management [yes, no names please. Our mothers are not proud!]
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