ART 2.0 A blog about ART - Specifically art that is made and resides in the cyber world.

To learn more about the goals of this blog, read here

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Google Makes It Easier to Put Cool Fonts on Your Website

via Mashable:

Google has once again given an excellent new tool to designers and developers (and even CSS-savvy “common folk”) who long for better, more diverse typefaces on the web: a cool Font Previewer that makes adding a new font to your site as simple as copy/pasting a few lines of code.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Thoughts: Art with Broad Impact

**Disclaimer: because I view this blog as a sketchbook, many of my thoughts are half-baked at best (I believe this is true of most blogs anyway). Nonetheless, beyond my meager writing skills and Swiss cheese arguments, I’d like to think there are kernels of truth worth discussing.

To try and make this short and concise, here’s the thought: Shouldn’t art that the artist intends to be political in nature be judged to some degree on its ability to incite political interest in the public... outside the walls of the “art world” garden? Shouldn’t art that the artist intends to be religious be successful in inspiring spiritual awakening in people who don’t frequent museums of contemporary art? Shouldn't art that claims to have relevance in the real world engage it? Shouldn’t its success be evaluated on its impact outside the vacuum of the institution, the gallery, the world of professional theory and criticism?

Certainly not all (not most?) art today means to discuss the plight, the motivations, the faith of everyman/woman. Good artists know that their conversation is often just about art or the plight, the motivations, the faith of the artist and his/her peers. This art is about small ideas that do just fine being confined to the “art world.” And small ideas are good. They only intend to impact a small group of people.

But then there are delusional artists who think they are making art that engages humanity on a large scale and it doesn’t. The conceptual aspect of an artwork only works if it’s intended audience receives the intended message of the artist. Millions and millions of people witnessing your artwork doesn’t mean it reached/engaged/impacted those people.

Now I’m speaking of art in a very strict sense here. I mean art that serves no function but to be art. Mainstream movies, books, and music are extremely successful at engaging lots of people (and I consider them art), but delivering a message in the artistic sense is not normally their primary function (entertain/make money).

Beyond that, precedents set by artistic movements like Relational Aesthetics and much interactive installation realize the success of an artwork only when the audience is moved to the point of participation. Artists must now consider their responsibility to curate an experience. They must consider that the engagement and directly inspired actions of their viewer as extensions of the artwork and a contributing factor to its success. Are these actions of the audience realizing the conceptual intent? Now I’m not talking about propaganda, where the work’s main function is to inspire a movement in one direction or another. I’m just pointing out that if an artist intends to make art for the public at large, their related actions are part of the piece... and if there is no action, is the artwork successful? If the audience is not acting, maybe the work is reaching them, but still not successful.

Artists must be held responsible for their delusions. Just because the “art world” understands an artwork and even acts on its behalf, doesn’t mean the work is successful. Too often the work is pretending to have a conversation with the real world, only the real world isn’t listening. And worse, the piece is considered successful because the only people that are listening, the “art world,” are the determining opinion in arts success. This is short-sighted and naive.

Worse than making art that is delusional is just ignoring the public because it’s too hard to make successful work that includes them. An artist might complain that they lack the resources to engage the real world like mainstream movies, books, and music do... they can’t get an audience beyond the institution (read: “art world”). It’s possible. It’s even easier now with the Internet. Reaching the public is a noble cause for art, but we need to raise the standards of success in order to really make art with broad impact.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Thoughts: The Internet is about Context

**Disclaimer: because I view this blog as a sketchbook, many of my thoughts are half-baked at best (I believe this is true of most blogs anyway). Nonetheless, beyond my meager writing skills and Swiss cheese arguments, I’d like to think there are kernels of truth worth discussing.

The Internet is about Context

The Internet is about context. Contribution of content is necessary, but the vast majority of Internet users have traditionally contributed very little content of their own. It is true that, as social media grows, more and more people are contributing their own content (pictures, status updates, blogs, etc.) but the context of that content is growing in importance even more substantially.

The Internet is used interchangeably with the Web. As the term Web infers, it is a collection of content that is connected based on relational hyperlinks. In fact these days, with the exception of a few of the most visited sites, most web pages are only visited because they relate (are linked to) another web page. “I link, therefore I am.” Google ranks the websites that it indexes based on how many other sites link to it (the more linked to, the higher the rank). A web page’s importance is based on where it is situated contextually with other web pages.

But it’s not just importance of web pages that is based on context. The ease of distribution of content on the Internet has made it a hotbed for sharing. As I said before, very few people contribute their own original content, but many more share preexisting content. In this way content “travels” around the Internet propelled by users. While this is true of physical media as well, it is much truer of digital content (because it is even easier to share and doesn’t degrade as quickly) and even defines its very existence. Content on the Internet lives a life that is determined by the journey it takes as it is shared. It’s context(s) give it value.

Also, as I alluded to above, the rise of social media has only heightened the relevancy of context on the Internet. Where a person situates their profile (in relation to friends, interests, organizations, etc.) is what drives their digital experience. Tagging friends in pictures and commenting on a connected person’s content drives the interest of most social media users. The context websites like Facebook arrange us in is what gives social media value.

As artists, we can focus way too much on the original content we contribute... caring about what it looks like and what it means. But the Internet is about context and if we’re making art for the Internet or art of the Internet, maybe we should be focusing more on curating a context for the content we contribute instead of tripping up over the initial form of it.

Some Google Help for Artists

Google introduces an easy way to make your own Android Apps!

Cool Google research slides on the opportunities in social media and the habits of social media users...