Good and Bad Art
This question arose as I read a review of Mirror City, the new exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. The Guardian’s review was not good. The first criticism is that the exhibition is presented as a mediation on reality and fiction when it is a mediation of the digital. Jones then reviews a selection of exhibitions are explains why they are bad art: weaker attempts as what has gone before (Laure Prouvost); misconceived and muddled work (Lindsay Seers); meaningless work (Tim Etchells) are just some of the major criticisms. There is one exception (John Stezaker) and his innovative use of photo collage is praised.
Jones uses these criticisms to question whether London has lost its mojo in terms of artistic intent and whether there is an expectation that art cannot respond to technological change with a speed that (he says) we expect of it. But I want to use them to consider something else. What makes good art?
Clearly for Jones the art must resonate with the audience and have a clear voice that means something. So is the criticism of misconception, muddling and meaningless fair? Other reviews suggest it’s not.
“It wasn’t until I left, exhausted, that I realised that was probably the point. The “mirror” of the exhibition’s title is a Foucauldian mirror, a non-place. We might all be sharing the same city but we’ve simultaneously created our own worlds – some more secretive than others – mediated by digital platforms. The city is a place unique to each of us, in which facts – in the form of images, startling newsflashes and so on – merge seductively and dangerously with fictions, including those we create about ourselves on social networks.” (Waters, 2014)
And that’s the point: one persons view of something as muddled is clear to someone else. The definition of success may be based on the number of people whose views are shared.
All of these points got me thinking about production values and methods of consumption. I doubt that I will see MirrorCity in the flesh. I will consume it through the internet on my computer screen as, no doubt, lot of people will. Have the producers of the exhibition design in this method of consumption? No. The website is purely an orientation and advertising portal. You could argue that this is because people have to pay to get into the exhibition while internet users do not and so if the exhibition where presented on the web the exhibition organisers would lose money, but you could also argue that showing exhibits on the web is so different from experiencing them in person it could result in more people attending.
I can’t answer the question but the issue has made me think about my final exhibition and the modes of consumption I should offer people.
Blogging with purpose
October is clearly a big month for the MA in Fine Art Digital. I not only follow the blogs of my cohort but of last year’s too and received over 40 emails on one day alerting me to new posts.
But most of the posts were from three students and this got me thinking about the purpose of posting the blog and my plans because my reaction to receiving such a high volume of posts over the short time was to delete most of them after a cursory view.
The aims for my blog are as follows:
- To be a repository for my work so that I can move around it, share it and refer to aspects of it easily.
- To act as a tool for publication and engagement with others both on the MA or not.
- To evidence my MA research
Now it seems to me that the first and last bullet points can be met without any need to think about how often one posts but if the blog aims to engage others then some thought and planning needs to be carried out to ensure that I can structure and schedule my posts in a way that allows for easy consumption and engagement but also meets the course requirements.
The structure of the course makes it clear why I am receiving so many emails – those students a year ahead of me are moving into a new phase where they resolve the work carried out so far. Does this matter?
One the one hand I have not read all the emails because I received so many in such a short time. Yet this only matters for those who are following the blog by email because if the application of tagging is done well then short single issue posts are probably better for navigation than multi-subject ones (like this).
Note to self don’t make anymore post like this, break them up into single subject posts.