how Social Media ruined our Attention and changed Art

Nowadays everyone has a smartphone and spends most of the day online. With so many different apps there is something for everybody, which makes it hard to stay away from social media. Of course with these fast changing platforms giving us information in a way never possible 20 years ago, our attention spans had to suffer. Furthermore, being on social media doesn’t only take our time away from other activities but it also takes a big portion out of our day with endless scrolling  with  little reason or benefit.

The Internet, and more specifically social media, is a great source of instant gratification, because it gives us any answers we want whenever we want them: from knowing the name of a song that’s playing, where to go for dinner, to the most specific facts about the deep ocean, the moon or our own bodies. This instant gratification we get from social media doesn’t really work in favour of most traditional artistic practices, which are slow moving and meticulous. Therefore, artists are being pushed to work faster and to choose speed instead of quality. On Instagram, for instance, all the posts show up with the same importance, meaning that maybe a photo or video of a beautiful sunset will make you stop and look for longer and will receive a like and a share, while a beautiful oil painting that took months to finish doesn’t get much attention at all. This eventually makes artists spend less and less time on their art. 

While one piece used to take months or even years to make, today it takes a day or less. Artists don’t put in the time because it’s not worth it. The audience won’t appreciate the effort that went into the work because they are being bombarded with information and can’t separate posts that took time and effort, from posts that are just visually appealing but easy to get. If they follow all these other accounts that post everyday and don’t require much attention to enjoy, then appreciating accounts that post less often, have long captions, talk about techniques or complex concepts, etc, doesn’t seem easy or even worth it. It also is not worth it from the artist perspective, that dedicated all this time to then post something that is totally overlooked.

So art evolved and is evolving. Some changes are small, like instead of oil painting we now see more acrylic painting, since it’s a faster technique, but other changes are more impactful. Art evolved to fit into social media and to take advantage of it. A great example of this is crypto art. Crypto art is a great result and even solution to the appearance of social media and the decaying of our attention span, it takes into account where people are spending their time and makes art fit into that. Crypto art normalises its existence in the media and rewards interest and knowledge in technology.

Other than crypto art, there are also traditional art fields that are adapting to technology such as photography, video or sound. These art forms are not new, but they are being used in new ways to better fit into social media. On the other hand, not all artists are changing their way of working; some want to keep more traditional art practices and are finding ways to do so. By posting the work process, their everyday life at the studio, or any other content that will keep people engaged in their art.

Technology is evolving faster than ever, and art is catching up. But art itself is also evolving and it’s important to be informed and evolve with it.

 

Nery

Art, Interview, Magazine, Virtual Residency, wendy.network

Art, Interview, Magazine, wendy.network

Art, Interview, Magazine, Virtual Residency, wendy.network