The Internet is a Digital Trapper Keeper

Above from top: Dear Photograph, My Grandfather doesn't recognize me via Dear Photograph; Sad Stuff on the Street; Image via Jason Lazarus' Too Hard to Keep

Recently my Mum brought me a gigantic manila envelope over stuffed with family photographs -  among other things, of my grandparents, my first 3 school photos, half a dozen 8x10s of my grade twelve graduation photo, precision skating photos that I had dressed up with marker flowers, a photo of my Mum taking a photo. After thoroughly laughing myself to tears a few times, my first thought was to digitize these photos. And into the closet the photos went to await the day I have the time for such a project.

Though I am a photographer, I am not a keeper of photographs. I began to document birthday parties and the occasional day at school with a creaky late 80's Minolta in grade 7. I took a lot of photos. Somewhere in college I stopped holding on to photographs of people I no longer knew or had barely met - friends with divergent paths or faces elevated in status by their existence in an image but nameless as they'd turned up at a house party in the neighborhood of two a.m. This was probably around the same time my friends held negative burning (yes, toxic, I'm sure) parties for unloved assignments and unfavored images. There is something to be said for making room for the new, the next. But I think there is more to be said for the now.

Photography is no longer an object heavy process. No film canisters or negatives or calculating the rolls of film adequate to cover a particular adventure. We no longer wait impatiently for the photo lab to open, another 59 minutes to curse our closed eyes, request a do over or delete an image. Gone are the days of multiple print copies to distribute amongst friends - posted instead to Facebook or to Flickr, maybe never printing the image at all. Images undoubtedly maintain their significance but how we interact with them is changing. After all, it sure is easy to hit delete.

Art Math

Above: Youtube © Gemma Correll via Print Society *sadly, sold out. Smarties, Red © Christine D'Onofrio via Circuit GalleryOld Camera © Todd McLellan via 20x200; Car Free ©  Tatsuro Kiuchi via 20x200; To Hell With Luck © Matt Taylor via Society 6.

Remember when your house was decorated with oodles of that inexpensive art hand crafted by tiny people at tiny tables? This is not that art. Sure, there was a time when inexpensive art involved macaroni and the machinations of a kindly elementary school teacher. There was also a time before... the Internet. I am not making this up!

The Internet is to art what unicorns are to hipsters - a brilliant symbiotic relationship born of opportunity and a bit of magical thinking. But there are no ivory towers here - just a whole lot of awesome. Yes, we need to find a new word for awesome.

 

 

Automatic for the People

Community. It's a t.v. show and so much more! Today is one of those days (probably because it's Tuesday) that I'm feeling the frisbee like nature of the word and getting that Inigo Montoya sort of feeling... I don't think it means what you think it means. Particularly when you pair it with engagement. In fact, while we're talking pomp and circumstance, page 6 has it that community is buying a timeshare with the likes of deictic and creative identity. It sounds nice, right? Laid back, cuddly and casual. Like the puppy that chewed a hole in my throw rug.

As you may have noticed, I've been thinking about what old fashioned new media means these days. N.b. I'm going to be one of those parents who says "when I was your age, we had no internet. I played with sticks and mud puddles." What has the internet done to mud puddles? Nope, it hasn't destroyed them. Those April puddles are absolutely still full of mud and I'd wager enjoyed by the zillion people who have the good sense to enjoy mud puddles. But internet mud puddles are more puddle than mud. They are missing a key pleasure consistency. Connecting online is not about putting forth your best, most intelligent, well polished and erudite self. In fact, this is what keeps people from leveling up in the internet world - insert Super Mario sound effect here - the mysterious pressure to present oneself as a Stepford thought maker on whatever topic you are passionate enough about to engage in with strangers.

This is also what keeps "most people" out of museums. You don't have to be writing a dissertation on art to express yourself with validity. And by that same token, if you are writing your dissertation on art, you don't have to use the *grad school cow voice. All. The. Time. No really, they won't kick you out of school for saying "Well, that's interesting. Reminds me of pudding." Just this once.

*The Grad School Cow is a creature commonly found in the marshy lowlands of post secondary classrooms and can be identified by the lowing rumble that accompanies all carefully chewed statements ex. mmmmmmmmmooooooo, but of course, have you considered the unpublished works