This week at The L Magazine, I take on Twitter art. Here’s a teaser:
…while refreshingly clear in intent—statements written by artists working with social media are actually a joy to read—[social media art] often lacks the creative juice that defines truly great art, and privileges meaningful exchange instead.
An Xiao, a social-media artist receiving growing attention this year, is a consistent offender in this respect, using her projects to engage people in relentlessly banal ways. It isn't intentional: in a project titled “The Artist is Kind of Present” recently profiled in ARTnews, she asks participants to sit in front of her as they would in Marina Abramovic's famous stare-off performance, only this time they tweet! Predictably, as evidence of merit, ARTnews quoted Xiao's account of a conversation made significant by its middlebrow depth. “One woman told me stories about her first child and I asked her about how that felt and she was very forthcoming,” she said, “We never actually spoke but we had a very intimate conversation.”
Fine, but I can't help being skeptical of art whose success is measured in relationships—after all, we make plenty of those on our own. The social conditions here are mostly irrelevant, making this project and others like it part of a growing worst-case-scenario movement spun from Relational Aesthetics. Unlike Nicolas Bourriaud's original description, in Twitter art alternative visions for interaction are never proposed.
To read the full piece, click here.