POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Christopher Weingarten is not asking for enough money. The well-known Twitter music critic of @1000timesyes wants to make a physical object out of his tweets — a tweet box — which will contain 1000 hand-typed 3 x 5 index cards, each featuring one 140-character record review from 2009 and a handsome, 12″ deep wooden box of the finest oak, branded with the @1000TimesYes logo. He’s looking to raise $1000.00, but I hope he raises more. Although he doesn’t mention the edition size of his piece, I’m guessing production costs will exceed his $1000 dollar fundraising goal.
As part of his call to action, Weingarten posts a video of himself speaking at last year’s Twitter conference, which is worth watching if you haven’t seen it already. He makes a number of salient points regarding how online culture has changed music criticism, some of which can be applied to the fine art world. I discuss a few after the jump.
You don’t need a critic to tell you if something’s good. All the review does now is re-enforce the opinion that someone already has.
Albums leak immediately online, and almost any music you want to listen to is readily available. As such, critics often no longer listen to substantially more music than their readers. Listeners can decide for themselves what’s good. Fittingly, the art world’s equivalent to this cultural trend is best expressed in their analogue forms — art fairs and biennials. This allows art viewers to see a lot of work, all at once. Readers don’t need me to tell them what they should like, though it’s not a bad idea to discuss why we like what we do.
The internet makes it harder to get exposed to things that aren’t in your comfort zone.
For all the “I-can’t-find-this-obscure-70s-porn-music” problems the Internet solves, it ushers in a new set of “I-only-look-at-what-I-already-like” behaviors. Weingarten cites the proliferation of rap, metal, and indie specific Twitters catering to unique groups. I’ll add art-market specific and painting- and photo-centric online communities to that list.
Crowd sourcing kills art.
“Why? Because crowds have terrible taste!” says Weingarten. The Brooklyn Museum’s crowd-sourced photography exhibition Click! certainly demonstrates the degree to which viewers love mediocrity. We make exception however for “Tubby Lambergini’s” photograph A Full Moon Over the East River (Gentrify This!), which naturally became a top discussion generator.
In a world without critics we’re missing the because.
Criticism is about figuring out why we like the things we do. I believe Weingarten’s Twitter reviews are amongst the best representation of the form today. He’s smart, honest, and even poetic with 140 characters. For this reason, I’m going to help him make his tweet box.