Technology Influencing Art

Throughout history technology has influenced art in different ways.  It was used as a medium, like photography and movies. It is also used as an enhancer, like photoshop and video editing.  Technology is also featured in art, with paintings of phones and street lamps. As technology progresses, it becomes easier for all people to use it.  The biggest example for most millenials, including myself, used microsoft paint at one point to make their own art.

Computers have influenced art in a very profound way.  The internet is the biggest factor of this, but it is not the only thing you can do on a computer for art.  The biggest example that I can think of, and that I personally use is microsoft paint. I would spend hours on paint making circles and coloring them in different colors to make an abstract painting.  Another example of non-internet art is photoshop and photo editing. It is very common for people to take their photos and change them to black and white or putting another filter on it. It also used to be a fun past-time to photoshop celebrities into pictures and onto funny backgrounds.

The internet is a big proponent of making art more tangible for the public.  Now people can look up famous artists from the past and present. With a quick Google search one can find out the personal information and art styles of famous artists throughout time.  This means that art can now be seen in more places than just a museum. Schools take advantage of this when teaching students about art. Now they can pull up photos and video tours of large and expensive museums that they can not afford to take their students to.

Social media in particular allows people to be more creative themselves.  It creates a forum for people to express themselves by posting their art online.  Whether that be art that they did not create using technology, like drawings, or art created by technology, like photos.  Social media also allows people to learn how to create art. The biggest example of this is Pinterest, where there are thousands of DIY art projects for whatever you could possibly need.  Youtube also has a lot of DIY content for people to learn whatever they need. I personally use Pinterest on a regular basis for DIY ideas and art projects.

Overall technology, computers specifically, have made art more accessible to the public.  This has helped make people more creative and learn more about art technique and art history.  The internet pushes people to explore their creative sides and to try new things that they never thought they could do before.

The 2013 Orientation: The Art of YouTube

I just read an article on CNN about something most everyone knows about YouTube. In my column last week, I talked about YouTube briefly, in the form of the Vlogbrothers, who have attained internet stardom.

They aren’t the only ones. As CNN points out, YouTube is a giant community that, within itself, breeds smaller communities based off of people – vloggers – who have somehow cracked the code and gotten millions of people to watch them – myself included.

On my YouTube, I currently have 46 subscriptions, though I’d be lying if I said that I only watch those channels. My YouTube preference ranges from the comedic (charlieissocoollike, Dave Days, nigahiga) to the oddly specific (BookTube, Feast of Fiction, hankgames). Each day, all the people I mentioned and thousands more get billions of hits, but they don’t do anything but sit at home and make movies.

And yet, I can spend hours on YouTube finding yet another video I have never seen before. Normally, this would seem to make the market saturated – why would I want to listen to Sam Tsui, a musician who gets his income primarily from YouTube using home recordings, when I can go watch the newest Panic! At The Disco music video?

But I think that’s what makes it work so well. YouTube has an audience of the world, and it caters to every single aspect of that audience. Not only that, it caters towards the mood of the audience. I’m bored, so I watch someone parody the life of a college student; I need a break from studying, I look up a new artist I’ve never heard of; I need inspiration for my history paper, so I look up an action video created without the help of Hollywood. The options are limitless, and it makes YouTube one of the most innovative and artistic tools of my generation.

But it also makes me wonder. Where will the next generation fit in? Will they just feed into the YouTube mantra, giving advertisers even more money with every click? Or will YouTube slowly fade into oblivion, just a social network that will be remembered only in name (R.I.P., MySpace)?

I love YouTube, I love the D.I.Y. feel, and I love that it isn’t someone I can’t relate to that is talking to me. I love that they are able to interact, reply to comments, and make videos that relate to the everyday, mundane problems I go through. I love this community, but I think that as both an artistic medium and a creative outlet, it is only the starting point for the internet.

“Icona’s Ball”: insight or violence?

I know Icona Pop through frat party spectacle’s, angsty/mainstream dance parties, clubbing, working out–basically every occasion of my life can be narrated by, “I DON’T CARE, I LOVE IT.” Or really just “I don’t care . . . .”
Due to the nature of this song, I didn’t expect much from Icona Pop’s newest song/video combo, “All Night.” I was looking for another outlet for my “poor” angsty privileged self where I can thrive in my suburban ennui, hiding in my one bedroom apartment inside of my full-size bed. But I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued, and full of feelings. I love song-screaming and I love new anthems but there were just so many damn feelings, so little time. I’ve watched the video over and over and I can’t tell how exactly I feel.
On one hand, the lyrics make my heart beat faster and I feel that it magically matches the video. Now while the “official video edit” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FWRT9C9XMQ) is  palatable for the average YouTube viewer estranged from queerness in general (coming in around 3 minutes), the better “official extended video” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNuNJLlq8eQ) is what really packs the punch–around 5 minutes of personal narratives, the names of the participants (NAMES! SUBJECTS! HUMANS!), and glimpses of people in and outside of the Ball. Lived experience oozes through the pop anthem’s video and it’s as if you’re being sprayed with a bottle of champagne. It’s pretty magical.
But is Icona Pop really paying tribute? And even if they intend to, are they really respecting and not exploiting the Ball scene, queer people, people of color, queer people of color, etc.? Is this trying to reach an audience (obviously) just to raise more profit and have more sales? DOES EVERYTHING STILL SUCK?

I support the Ball scene getting publicity if it’s what it wants. I support all of them having their shining moment for not only the people in the room but the 270,000+ people that have not and will probably never go to a Ball. I support Ball Culture.

But on the other hand, I feel guilting going into the space as a viewer without any real interaction with the humans whose lives depend on the Ball for happiness, community, and solidarity. My gaze is different from the average viewer because I’m queer but my other salient, privileged identities still hold when viewing it. Part way through I feel like I’m watching this beautifully orchestrated video that Capitalism has created: something that seems inclusive of Ball Culture in all of its queerness and diversity but something that is still a bit terrifying. I feel like this video is equating my life with those of the participants and say that I, too, can have this shining day. While this isn’t a bad message I feel like a message of equality is not what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a respectful celebration of difference where I get to celebrate people. That often does not include me, and that’s ok.

The extended cut makes the video purely magical. Although it is no “Paris is Burning” nor is it intending to be, the video portrays the hope and joy found within Balls and I think Icona Pop really show that through their intense, repetitive lyrics and rhythms that there is no room for any option besides a constructed paradise, a better life.