This column aims to preserve and extend the lifespan of each Instagram post, creating a digital time capsule that showcases the best of contemporary digital art and associated reactions.
Social media, NFTs, and AI have significantly impacted the art world, providing new opportunities for artists, collectors, and galleries to connect and share their work. While some argue that social media can create a sense of disconnection and that art should be experienced in person, the reality is that we live in a "phygital" world where both physical and digital realms coexist. Artworks, particularly digital ones, are increasingly viewed through screens rather than in person.
Social media has become an invaluable tool for visual artists, enabling global connections and facilitating the sharing of artwork across borders. Artists from Nigeria can follow the art scene in New York, and vice versa, fostering a greater sense of community and collaboration. Personally, I have experienced the benefits of online platforms, having been discovered by curators and connected with artists and art professionals through digital channels.
Recognizing the significance of Instagram as both a medium and a platform for sharing art, I conceived the idea for my series called "POST: paintings of Instagram posts of the past." This series aims to share personal stories of artists, based on my research, while highlighting the role of Instagram in contemporary society. As artworks become increasingly digital, it is likely that future art historians will need to delve into the archives of social media to write biographies and analyze art movements.
In my view, art history is an ongoing continuum where each artist builds upon the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, adding their unique perspective. Inspired by artists like Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince, who challenged the boundaries of appropriation art in the 1970s by rephotographing photographs, I applied the concept of appropriation to the realm of social media, playing with the linear concept of time. The artists I appropriate are both rooted in their time and possess a timeless quality.
Instagram initially emerged as a photo-sharing platform to compete with Twitter, prioritizing visual content over text. However, it has since evolved into a platform where captions and comments hold equal significance to the visuals. Prince's New Portraits series exemplified this evolution, as his comments added context and meaning to each portrait alongside the captured image. Instagram revolves around individuals sharing content, which transforms into a collaborative "artwork" upon going live, incorporating the original visual, caption and the reactions it elicits.
It is worth noting that Instagram posts have a fleeting lifespan, with the average viewer's attention lasting only a few seconds. The sheer volume of posts increases the risk of valuable artwork getting lost among the multitude of images and text.
This column aims to preserve and extend the lifespan of each Instagram post, creating a digital time capsule that showcases the best of contemporary digital art and associated reactions. Only time will reveal which artists, images, and videos will be remembered and stand the test of time.
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