Alongside every update your phone requires, the way our contemporary society thinks, acts, and co-exists has been modernised. The birth of the Internet and the growing progression of technology has changed the dynamics of all industries, influencing how they operate and cater to our needs and wants.
The invention of social media has blurred the line between our personal life and work life, allowing us to manage both at our fingertips. Affecting every aspect of our life (making bank payments, coordinating events, or potentially meeting that special someone…) our lives have become digitalised.
Coinciding the advancements of technology and our booming networking culture, the art industry has evolved and developed dramatically. It has allowed the industry to expand itself, creating a stronger presence and a larger audience.
No longer having to scout out events and art openings, they now come to us via phone notifications that can even detect our geographic whereabouts. Today, artists can promote themselves far greater than ever before through various forms of social media platforms. In our modern society, we are able to virtually witness nearly everything, despite the happening’s time or place.
Technology has undoubtedly contributed to the breaking down of barriers by creating awareness, power, and knowledge for mass audiences. However, in saying this, will the abundance of society’s social networking create a departure from the ‘sharing’ movement in the art industry? How has this ultimately affected the movements to come?
It is quite clear that social media is a part of our everyday life. I wouldn’t even call it extreme to say that we have become quite dependent on it (if Facebook doesn’t remind me of an event, it didn’t happen). Something that once started as a trend, has now transformed into a cultural norm.
Previous art movements arose with intentions to challenge the norm and push the boundaries of what we experienced in art. While past movements challenged what was seen on museum walls, the current movement we are in affects every single moment of our life. While artists use to gain followers based on the art they had in galleries, now artists gain followers via social media platforms. Despite social media’s power and control, as an audience, we are always seeking what is going to be the next big thing. We currently live in the Post-Internet era, which has created the abundance of all existing virtual platforms. What could possibly be next? Should art be taking advantage of the mass means of communication or should it fight it? I pose these questions because I wonder what art’s role is and question its true purpose in society.
Evan Hutchinson is a contemporary lens based artist from Toronto, Canada currently residing in London.