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  • Ihor Biloushchenko

Art and Social media. Who shapes our perception?

Is it a Personal choice or Data-Driven decision?


In today's digital age, the relationship between art and social media is complex. Social media platforms offer new opportunities for artists to connect with audiences, spark conversation, and create new collaborations. Even well known artists like Yoko Ono, David Hockney and others have embraced social media and digital culture to share their ideas with the world.


However, I often ask myself why do I like something in particular? Was it my own choice to like this particular art piece? In other words, what is the role of personal choice or artistic expression and algorithms or data-driven decisions in shaping our artistic experiences by visibility of certain forms of art.


Why is something "good"?

With the increasing saturation of art content on social media, it becomes difficult to distinguish genuine artistic expression from mere spectacle. Furthermore, the algorithms that govern our social media feeds can have a homogenising effect, amplifying certain voices while suppressing others and influencing our perceptions of what we consider "good" or "important".


The philosopher Martin Heidegger, for example, argued that the essence of art lies in its ability to reveal the truth about the world and the human condition. But the influence of algorithms and the emphasis on popularity and likes on social media raises questions about the extent to which these technologies shape our understanding of art and the world around us.


There were always artists who used their work to challenge and to criticise the dominant narratives or common social values. But the rise of art activism has shown the potential of social media to amplify the impact of politically and socially engaged art.

The recent surge of eco-activism uses the power of art to raise awareness about the urge to protect our environment. However, art is less important for them, the history of art can be destroyed to give place to the “new art”. Maybe it means to destroy our perception and elitism of art, but still it gives an impression that everything is only about getting likes and shares. The philosopher Jean Baudrillard warned of the dangers of the "simulacra" of social media, where images and ideas are increasingly divorced from reality and become detached from their original meanings.



Do we think critically?


It brings us to the next question whether we are critically analysing everything we get from outside. The psychologist Sherry Turkle explored the impact of social media on empathy, arguing that our increasing reliance on digital technologies is reducing our ability to connect with others and experience the world in a meaningful way. Our growing addiction to social media and its algorithm-driven content often leads to a reduction in empathy and critical thinking.


I think it is not difficult to trace how did we end in the state of apocalyptic world again. We are bombarded with information that is designed to be pretty and easily digestible, we focus our attention only on scandals and juicy stories and spread them around. Each story has to be more scandalous and juicier otherwise it is just boring.

We are all on social media that makes us less social, we are wrapped in the cocoon of own believes and stories we prefer. I agree with philosopher Guy Debord who argued that our obsession with image and spectacle risks reducing our experiences and interactions to mere representations, rather than genuine connections with the world and each other.


Maybe we cannot stop the continuous rush for the instrumentalisation but we still can pause and try to understand where we are. Therefore, it is essential that we critically analyse the role of social media in shaping our perception, and be mindful of its impact on our ability to think critically and empathise with others. By pausing to reflect on the messages and ideas that art presents to us, we can deepen our appreciation and understanding of this powerful tool for social and cultural transformation.

 

References:

  1. Heidegger, M. (1935). "The Origin of the Work of Art." In Basic Writings, edited by D. F. Krell, pp. 139-212. HarperCollins Publishers, 1993.

  2. Baudrillard, J. (1981). Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994.

  3. Turkle, S. (2011). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic Books.

  4. Debord, G. (1967). The Society of the Spectacle. New York: Zone Books.


More questions to think about:

From digital art to meme culture, social media has opened up new ways for artistic expression and collaboration. What do you think? How can we collaborate? #art #socialmedia #digitalart #memeculture #artisticexpression #collaboration #humanity #artdiscussion #artandhumanity


Social media gives artists a global audience and a platform to share their work, at the same time it gives the pressure to constantly create content. What challenges do you see/experience as an artist? #art #socialmedia #artistchallenge #socialmediachallenge #humanity #artdiscussion #artandhumanity


Art is used on social media to inspire and spark a conversation. How do you use art?




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