Art in the age of the network is of an act, a process. Since its a process, variables of the process become a part of Network Arts (or Social Arts) makeup, its language. Variables like inclusion, exclusion, interactions, routines, procedures, iterations, protocols.
A process through a network adds another layer of elements; hubs, connectors, permission givers or pace makers; there are lots of names. The simplest diagram of the network effect of the social network is laid out by the tipping point, here:
Social, or Network art forces people to function in certain roles according to the logic of the network. Social art engages. It interacts with the environment. Street art is an example because it changes the observers relation to their environment:
You are pulled into the moment with the art piece. It changes where you are and what your doing. It makes your eyes interact with it. It forces itself upon you, it requires your mind to become preoccupied.
I’ve spent a while finding what I would consider Social or Network art, art that acts upon, with, or through people. A lot of street art requires a very low level of engagement, like the one above and the one below.
There are some art-pieces that require slightly more engagement, more of an interaction with a process. The following takes slightly more engagement for the observer or participant :
Similar is the ‘Touch a Stranger’ project, where someone asks two strangers to touch and then they take a picture:
I also really like the work of Michael Crowe, who has some interesting projects.
In Project Orange he asked people to show up at a place and time and hold two oranges and he would take a picture of them and leave:
Michael Crowe is also working on sending a letter to everyone in the world:
Where Dadaists in the mechanic era fought to strip the aura from art, people in the network era are stripping art of its structure entirely, making it about a process and an engagement. Artists are moving from focusing on the creation of an object of desire, and instead are creating a process of desire. A process people want to be engaged in. As Nichols says “Engagement with this process becomes the object of fetishzation” … “Cybernetic interaction emphasizes the fetishist rather than the fetish object.” (p632).
One of the most famous Social Artist’s is probably Marina Abramović, who recently did an art-piece entitled The Artist is Present where she sat and stared into other peoples eyes as they stared into hers.
A lot of people cried:
(Another work by Marina Abroamovic tested the relation of the audience to the artist, but I won’t go into that so here is a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Abramovi%C4%87#Rhythm_0.2C_1974 )
An example of the process being completely thrown into the hands of the ‘audience’, or the audience becoming the artist, is seen here:
Disposable Movement people give out disposable cameras with a stamp and address on them. They get the cameras back and post the images to the website.
Strangers taking pictures
I’m keeping an eye out for Social Art, and trying to figure out what lies within the realm of art induced by this Network/Cybernetic period of time.