Most people have an innate desire to be liked by other people. While the desire to be liked is normal, feeling that it’s necessary that everyone likes you and experiencing anxiety and stress when they don’t isn’t. The prevalence of social media in today’s society only exacerbates these struggles. People on social media literally compete for likes, thus increasing the potential for inappropriate or damaging behavior by those for whom being liked is an unhealthy need.
But through the lens of art, technology tells a completely different story. Just as the internet has affected dating, travel and the way we see ourselves and understand the truth, we see a lot of changes in how we view older art forms, like painting, sometimes referred to as “the oldest screen in the world”.
The new social media have changed the ways we see ourselves. It’s not surprising that facebook is often nicknamed “the fakebook”. While the internet has offered the artist a direct way to reach out to the world by circumventing the traditional hurdles of gallery owners and publishers, it also increased the pressure upon them to conform to the generally accepted opinions and values. An artist’s desire to be authentic and to create art that ventilates their own believes, values and aesthetics can be as damaging to their personal life as the image that fakers create about themselves.
In our post-Snowden world, surveillance is something we all worry about. Remember; it’s not only the government who may read your posts. Your boss, colleagues, family, neighbors and other acquaintances may also check them out (and often do so). People have seen their careers disappear through the gutter because of some “incorrect” opinion, picture or remark on the social media. Artists have been sued by family and friends for slander or breach of privacy, because the latter didn’t want to get associated with certain artistic creations.
Many contemporary artists thus decided to disconnect their work from their personal life, and hide behind an avatar. They argue that once a work is finished, it stands on its own. The “Death of the Author” is a concept from mid-20th Century literary criticism; it holds that an author’s intentions and biographical facts (the author’s politics, religion, etc) should hold no special weight in determining an interpretation of their writing. It suits me since I’m not looking to become rich or popular. I just want to pound my egg, and keep conducting my private life as it suits ME. And if someone, sometime, somehow would decide to pay me for that, that’s fine too.