I had recently seen a very famous social media poet on the cover of a fashion magazine. It had led to some science fiction and surrealist visions along with a strong takeaway for self that I share here.
Our recent years of self broadcasting and affair with World Wide Web has given rise to a new genre currently identified to belong under visual and literary arts, but I think something entirely new is afoot and it deserves its own branch.
Poetry or painting is not just poetry or painting. When chosen to be broadcasted in social media these days, it is usually accompanied by a certain aesthetic whether a beautiful photograph of the sea, shell or a feather. It is accompanied by the personality and ego, lifestyle choices, cultural and social ideologies, daily real or made up activities, live performances of the artist. It is not just the poetry or the painting that is the work anymore; it is this complete functioning model that of the artist moving with the art, showing cautiously their existentialism, representing themes they have selected, absorbing instant feedback of the audience, and adjusting and readjusting to it, that is ‘the work’. This entire portrait of the self as believed by the artist and accompanying adaptive expression is ‘the work’.
[Imagine Monet photographed with his Water Lily Pond painting sitting under a bright sun, by the ocean, sipping a glass of wine, dressed in latest fashion, talking about how he is a representative of a new exciting brand, and what he thinks about the state of bad roads in the village, as the audience gives live applauds, and he arranges his next pop up according to the approval or disapproval, likes and dislikes of the audience. What would the next Water lily have looked like I wonder?]
What does ‘the work’ bring to the table: entertainment of the audience and capital for the artist. What does it do to the evolution of art or artistic output of our times? That I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on nor I am one of those intelligent forecasters. However I have enjoyed getting almost fooled by this vulgarity.
If an artist wants to ‘adjust’ their work and image, and marginalize their art to attract sales that is their own choice. If audience wants to indulge in that system, encourage low quality products, refuse to find higher potential of art, then that is their choice. We all will get our respective result cards based on the decisions and choices we make. And that might or might not be pleasant enough to be broadcasted. This outcome will be a very personal gain or loss whether as a writer or as a reader.