Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mechanical Turk Review of My Art

This is a project where I pay workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to review my art and website and pay them $5 dollars for 500 words. This is the second review I've received:

The artwork available for viewing on Paul Shortt’s website is simply amazing. It combines a very modern style of art with a more interactive feel for the audience. For example, one piece of art, entitled “Corner Sign,” is located on the corner of two walls and directs viewers to “Put your hands behind your back. Then put your head down.” The result is a time-out style piece of art for adults. Similarly, another piece of art, entitled “ROFL CON,” directs people to “Roll on the floor laughing.” The images on Shortt’s website illustrate the fun that adults have doing this activity; a man can be clearly seen joyfully laughing and rolling on the carpet. Similarly, numerous other pieces make the simple things more sophisticated. His website discusses the “Modern Greetings,” which is a manual featuring “alternative ways to greet people.” These creative ideas for adults to say hello and connect with others will, at the very least, bring a smile to your face when witnessing them and when imagining them happening in everyday life. These alternative greetings include a side bump, a butt bump, a cell phone rub, a squat jump, and a snapping technique called “Yeah…snap.” Each photograph of the aforementioned newly suggested modern greetings shows audience members taking part in Shortt’s show. This interactive element clearly keeps things interesting, as evidenced by the looks of happiness and enjoyment on each audience member’s face. Almost all of the audience members are laughing, but at a minimum smiling. These images provide a snippet of the pleasure the audience had, and simultaneously reinforces the youthful ideas that Shortt seems to want to impart on his viewers. Shortt’s video, “It’s Simple, But Complicated,” illustrates the difficulties one man has while trying to be patriotic and fly an American flag. Although he comes prepared with a ladder, the flag pole is over twice as high as his ladder can reach. Ultimately, the man ends up disassembling the flag pole so that he is able to physically move the flag up to its appropriate place at the very top. This video may serve as a metaphor that sometimes trying to do the right thing is not as easy as it may seem. This ultimately expresses something much deeper than what is superficially obvious. Shortt also details his interactions with visitors at his first art show in Chicago. He designed the classic hand buzzers—used to surprise and literally shock people as they unknowingly shake hands with you—to say “Paul Shortt shocks Chicago, 2011 Free Handbuzzer.” As he went around shaking each of the guests’ hands, he would give them the handbuzzer to keep—after shocking them, of course. The buzzing continued as guests began to shock other unsuspecting guests. Shortt’s young-at-heart guests seemed to have truly enjoyed this gag, likely something they hadn’t experienced (or even thought about) in many years. These pieces bring a youthful side back to adulthood, which can often become so monotonous and often too serious. These playful pieces of art bring a more enjoyable feel than a regular trip to an art museum or for a showing at an art gallery; they allow the viewers to actually get involved, feel, live, and appreciate the art. Viewing his website brought a smile to my face and brightened up my day, as well as making me hopeful that someday I’ll be able to attend one of Shortt’s showings and view his jovial, seemingly-simple-but-simultaneously-complicated artwork in person.