Combat Zone

Art and social media: gone too far?


By Paliaccio

In this modern age, it is easy to get too wrapped up in scrolling through social media mindlessly. The rise of disposable cameras and film photography in young people demonstrates a desire to become closer to the form of communication they use and to be more mindful about what they post on social media. Rianne Kindlin explains her choice to only take film photography instead of using her iPhone. “I just want it to have that certain look, y’know? Any amount of effort is definitely worth posting great pictures on social media. Of course, the end goal is to always show who I’m hanging out with and how often. So honestly it doesn’t matter what medium, as long as the end goal comes through.”

This trend of new art media on social media does not stop at film photography. Other students have gone further and decided to only prove hang out sessions through more obscure media. Marguerite Redshew gave us an in-studio tour. She showed the development of one particular hang session through art forms. “I started out with the film photograph, but then I did a study in watercolor. I didn’t like that either, so I made a woodblock print in the style of German impressionists. I was pretty happy about that, just because it really demonstrated the mood of the night well. However, I ended up settling on a Raymond Pettibon-esque abstraction to really reinforce some of the ideas I gained from that night. I love Pettibon’s interplay between text and image and how the viewer has to interpret the relationship between the two. I think the viewers all like my work, or at least, they really only have one option on Instagram, and they all ‘like’ what I post on there. So, yeah, I’ve gotten a pretty good response both critically and in pop culture.”

On the other hand, junior philosophy student Kayla Johnstone prefers the 17thcentury Dutch style of Vanitas tableaus to show who she hangs out with. “Instead of focusing solely on death and decay, I needed to show people who I hung out with. So, in this example (pictured) I put in bottle caps to suggest a large social gathering, my friend Katie’s iconic red bandana, and bright colors to show I hung out with Theo. Vanitas paintings are most conducive to my personal social media branding.”

Clara Mersereaux has even gone further, staging her own performance art in Wheelock Student Center to get people to acknowledge she hangs out with people on a regular basis. “I put my movement-sansmovement interactive piece on Facebook Live so I could get a larger audience. I included lots of elongated and staccato movement to show I was hanging out with my friend Nita. She’s really cool, so I wanted to make sure people knew what I was going for.”

No matter what medium you choose, it is indisputable that this focus on artistic approaches will only increase the level of pretensions on social media.