Read here or listen there.
A friend and I began discussing the idea of an artist who creates one-second videos everyday. He takes these one-second videos and combines them into a film that represents a year of his life. So a six minute video would be that year. At the end of the year he wanted to be reminded about all the wonderful things he did that year.
He called himself an “artist” and this idea of a one-second video per day was his “art”. Now I’m not one to criticise other people and certainly not other gave-up-my-day-job-and-called-myself-an-artist artists - so I am sorry for my criticism.
However: Art without criticism is just consumerism.
Also I won’t be ranting here if the guy didn’t call his idea “art”. Call it whatever else and I won’t have said a word, won’t care, won’t be throwing bananas, nope none of that. I’d be complaining about something else but not his idea.
Either way I complained, to my friend, that this idea isn’t art, it’s simply a compressed form of Facebook where this guy presents his life and all the wonderful things he did. He even talks about the fact that he gets bad vibes on a particular day if he didn’t do something that was worth filming. In his talk, he also mentioned how difficult it was to film bad days or tragic events. Well, no shit Sherlock - emotional difficult events, for someone who only focuses on positive, plastic, skin-deep, fake crap events are hard. Doh!
It gets better. So it turns out that this guy made an app for everyone to use so that, they too, could record one-second of their lives per day. Now, how much does this app cost? Only nine dollars per month! So this guy is making a profit off his art … so much for his loving idea of making the world a better place.
No Wait, hang on! That wasn’t even this guys idea! That is, to make the world a better place. No! His idea was to be an egoist and fill the world with more crap, his own personal crap. These are short videos of his life - uncommented and uncritical. Giving his “piece of art” a non-meaning, non-confrontational, conformist, commercial, mainstream form. And what is art called that has these attributes?
A product. Perhaps a well designed product, with rounded corners, polished edges and shiny bling-bling effects, but a product nonetheless.
He made a product and probably brand, that he now sells and makes money off. So art becomes a profit-focussed greater-than-zero-sum game. The result: art that isn’t monetisable and profitable isn’t worth doing and isn’t made.
My first criticism would be this exact last point. The world is losing items of beauty because beauty that isn’t profitable won’t be created. Strangely, an exception to this is love: for the people involved, it isn’t profitable but for third-parties selling the promise of love it is very profitable.
My second criticism is that this form of art - a one-second videos, strung together into a disconnected series of moving images, underscored by a meaningless soundscape - is completely and utterly without meaning or critical statement. It is yet another avenue for an individualised human egoist to present themselves to a larger group of individualised human egoists and say: “look at me and feel bad!” (and don’t forget to take your pills).
Whatever happened to the art that made a critical statement of society into which the art was born? Whatever happened to those artists that took a mirror to society and said: look, look, … what do you see … what do you understand … what is wrong here?
The point? Why look at long - unfortunately - dead artist and ask them? Why not create your own interpretation, opinions and art based on the spirit of these talented and expressive artists.
My friend and I did finally find a good reinterpretation of the work. Which we aren’t going to sell for nine dollars a month, in fact this idea is free in the sense of freedom and free-of-charge!
The idea would be to take one-second videos, as many as you can, as often as you like (none of this one-per-day stuff) and then combine them into a collage.
But wait that’s the same idea!
Hang on, here’s the difference. Of what should you be taking a video of?
Advertising: driving past on the side of a delivery van, advertising: endlessly rolling around on digital billboards, advertising: staring at you from street corners and street walls. Advertising in its perfidious form, wherever you discover it, make a one-second video.
Then combine all your videos and e’Voila, welcome to your wonderful enjoyable life with advertising surrounding you. Make all your digital friends jealous with your expressive, non-conformist, confrontational digital artwork.
An artwork made in a world over filled by fake people presenting fake products with fake smiles. Why do we accept this? Why isn’t there a critical political movement against advertising? Why is the public space no longer public but sold to the highest bidder? If you don’t believe this, take a spray can to a billboard and spend the night in a prison cell. It’s no longer public space, its corporate private property.
Unfortunately, advertising is the plankton for consumerism, if it dies out, so does consumerism. So don’t hold your breath that advertising will disappear any time soon.
Oh, and here comes one more critical statement. If the guy was clever, he even got a patent on his idea. So that would make this idea a patent infringement. So the good old days of standing the shoulders of great ideas, are dead.
Imitor ego et adepto sequitur - Copy me and get sued!