A. Ellis

These two articles, though not directly related to this idea, make me think of collective online initiatives and curation. This immediately came to mind after reading Okwui Enwezor’s article “The Artist as Producer in Times of Crisis.” Enwezor writes, “The second type of collectives tend to emphasize a flexible, non-permanent course of affiliation…This type of collective formation can be designated networked collectives” (para 5). The internet, especially sites such as Tumblr and WordPress, offer space to foster networked collectives. In the case of Tumblr, more so than WordPress, those collectives tend to be liberally driven, creating socially-conscious followers and sometimes degrading and sarcastic labels as a result, such as “Tumblr feminists.” Take Food Hacking Base. The information that appears is drawn from a group of people connected through technology, through this networking exchange of knowledge. The need for this food exchange is what brought the collective together.

Enwezor also writes that collectives tend to merge during social crisis. Now, though Food Hacking Base may not have emerged as a “crisis” response, there was a reason for its emergence, the need was there. So if it can be done for food, why not Trump? There are spaces for this online already. There is a Tumblr that counts down the days Trump is in office; Tumblrs that organize around radical Marxism to comment on the administration. In a broader sense of political and social commentary, the Tumblr of George Takei is a huge collective! In taking in Randy Martin’s piece from “Artistic Citizenship,” we think of how art can be utilized in this kind of collective.

Artists are not necessarily coming together over the creation of national monuments—they often find each other through the internet, especially in a professional sense with LinkedIn, but also in that exhibitions are readily available on gallery sites. Martin writes that because the artist is no longer creating national monuments, the art is no longer “the integrative longing of the state.” Which is why Enwezor may state that collective art is not considered seriously in the art world. It’s because the state doesn’t take it seriously because the art is “dangerous” to citizenship. However, that is not the case.

In the few weeks of this semester I’ve been considering what it means to make art collectively and to engage social situations. Right now my mind is oriented towards this idea of political and social education by engaging issues within the art piece itself. It is Martin’s “invitation to view the work where the artist forms a partnership with the public” (15). But what is this partnership? To me it is making sure citizens know their rights. It is knowing the values the documents of the United States puts out as opposed to adhering to them and generating a conversation with those who may not even consider politics of daily life as politics. The need of knowing one’s rights is always present, but I feel even more so now. Know the system before you push it, I think. The internet is a great resource for this learning, to create an internet classroom collective.

The classroom I imagine is not didactic, it is informative. It is plugged in, tuned in, and awake. It is artists coming together to share their work and in doing so, create the art in the collective. Amassing information, but not just amassing it, commenting on it, curating it. Artistic citizenship and technology — how well they go together!