Its been a while since I have done a “on thoughts” post so here we go.
Art is a complicated and simple idea. Complicated because it is entrenched in cultural sub-meanings, and simple because anything can be art from the right frame of mind. When I think of art, I define it as “an action or object created with intention to pass on a meaning” (Edward Leeming, 2018). Pre-social media, art was something that had to be “considered” art by the art community (in some capacity) to be named “art”. In our post-social media world, with feeds frantically flooding full (alliteration!) of meme’s (which, I consider art by my definition) it becomes harder to clearly define the separation of art and life.
In fact, in our now meme saturated* society, I strongly believe the prior separations of life and art no longer apply. The post-modernist in me will tell you that an empty can of coke in the street could be art, the deconstructionist in me will tell you to not consider the coke or the street but the consider what I culturally bring to the meaning of the picture (and then take it out). The current “ism” (Post-post-post modernism?) would take a photo of the coke can, add some cultural or temporarily relevant phrase and boom, art.
My main concern for this meme orientated idea of art is that it heavily separates groups and panders to a small encapsulated fragment of time. Its extremely difficult to stay up to date with the current trend of memes, hell, if I were to avoid social media for a week i’d be completely lost on what memes are relevant (something which happens to me more often then not). Art prior to these times are still considered art, their message is at least discernible or in some way able to be interpreted by the critics or the general public. If a painting is on a wall in a museum or a statue is raised it is apparent that it is there as a piece of art, and will still be considered as such in 50 years. Not so with memes (or will it?)
What are your thoughts on the changing nature of art? Business as usual/the end of art is nigh? What else?
*Meme’s have in fact been around for many an age, albeit not called as such. It wasn’t until Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book “The selfish gene” coined the word. An internet meme is just a faster acting meme then originally imagined by Dawkins and other relevant experts on cultural transmission.