To be Noticed by and Connected to Others

Two works, Location of I and I Wanted to See All of the News From Today are included in a Rhizome Member Curated Exhibit: To be Noticed by and Connected to Others. Amy writes:

Upgrades, improvements, advancements: All are achievements that, in the digital age, aid in the continued betterment of everything from communication to work flow. In the beginning, when the Internet was “new” technology, it was a slow process to transfer or transmit information, but now faster ISP speeds allow people to quickly and easily communicate through the transmittal of files [1]. However, while digital is inevitably on the rise in society, the actual personal level of things is on the decline.

Computers and humans are not naturally compatible and thus scientists are working to make interactions between the two easier. There is a whole psychology behind their findings and project, but more importantly, society is becoming more and more dependent on the use of computers or technology for communication [2]. Humans, as a very basic instinct, long to connect with others, and are reaching out for any means of contact amidst the cold, impersonal digital landscape.

With Internet art, digitally produced art viewed online or ANYTHING that is displayed on or through a public domain, there is very little to hide. Once something is out there, it is exposed, and while whatever it is can be taken back, there is a high possibility that at least one person will see it before it is gone. Perhaps this is exactly why many artists prefer to make websites to display their work. Galleries could very well be considered out of date or old fashioned considering the rate at which art is displayed through the Internet.

In any case, I have found that artists (through their publicly-digitally-published art) seem to be reaching out for some sort of connection, whether it is to get someone’s attention or to reveal something personal or private to their viewers. Allowing others to see a side of oneself that is not usually apparent tends to form strange little bonds, and there is something strangely intriguing about knowing something about a complete stranger. This sort of information may come from a variety of places, or come in a variety of forms, but it gets where it is intended eventually. I hope that I have chosen a variety of pieces that will aid in showing the different methods used to communicate connections. In a general sense, we are all connected by the news and things happening in our own societies. Whether you are from the United States or Australia (or anywhere for that matter), SOMETHING is happening around you whether it is the same THING or not.

Martin John Callanan addresses this in his piece, “I Wanted to See All of the News From Today (a work in progress),” by displaying the front page of all printed papers, all on one web page. Bloggers that have reviewed this piece claim that he is making fun of how the news industry bombards its viewers with too much information [3]. However, I would say that it is more of a direct statement that we should recognize and appreciate that everyone, though different, lives in this similar way of keeping up-to-date and thus connected.
[…] Have you ever people-watched while sitting in a park or on a crowded bus and wondered what kind of people you were seeing? Who are they, what do they do? In Peoples, by Gregory Chatonsky, you get to find out the answers to your questions. By selecting a person from a crowd, you are directly sent to another page that continues on to randomly generate words and images pertaining to the particular person you chose.

On the other hand, some artists like to invite their viewers into the own very personal lives. Martin John Callanan (from who I have chosen to include two pieces), in The Location of I, has mapped out his location for the whole world to see. He likes that he can easily be tracked by anyone, and yet he remains nearly un-findable. In any case, he has purposefully made his location apparent so that people will track him down.

Ellie Harrison, while not telling her location, has posted some he personal thoughts in combination with what she was drinking at the time. In her piece, Tea Blog, she presents her thoughts in a sort of random, and yet very structured way. It’s almost as if the viewer could be sitting with her conversing over the tea or coffee that accompanies her thought.

As a viewer, myself, I wondered after reading a few of her thoughts what I might be thinking in her situation … what is it that goes through my mind at first when I settling down to drink something that is most likely meant to sooth some tension. I don’t know, next time I drink a cup of tea, I may just consciously note what happens to be in my head at that time.

A true artist, whether digital or not, will make you think, and connect to you in some way. All of these pieces and their artists are very different, but even they are connected; not only by this art database/display arena (Rhizome.org), but by the fact that, as a viewer, I have found something about each piece or artist that triggered a response or feeling of connection.

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