Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #40

This is a project where I pay workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to review my art and website and pay them $5 for 500 words. This is the 40th review I've received, and the first to directly address the project: Please note this review is actually almost 1000 words.

I don’t know a lot about Paul Shortt or his work as an artist. In-fact I don’t know much about art either. I do know the masters somewhat and I listen to few classical pieces, know a little Shakespeare but not even, I guess, a fraction of what is required to actually write about art. I just stumbled across Paul as one often does on the internet, those threads intersect, and when requested to review his works, I agreed despite the fact that I know next to nothing about performance art which I think what his niche is. Since I was specifically asked to review the work on his website, I might as well do this by numbers. First up is “Please No Photos”, a series of photographs that pokes gentle fun at overzealous surveillance and how photography is being discouraged in public places. The way it’s shown at the first page on the website, it’s seemingly supposed to be a big thing, some sort of a big work but it’s the blandest of Paul’s works. The photos are lackluster, the message is just lost in lame fun really. But further down the page, the series continues with photos taken in Illinois, and I think these photos are nice, more suited to the theme. The lack of people actually moves the satire center stage and I liked them. Impressive photographs. Contemporary Farewells, New ways of saying goodbye. Meh. How To Be Narcissistic is a drab look at irony and people's perception of themselves and how they want to be perceived. It’s tame and it’s a social exercise but I hate these fucking things where you collaborate for fuck’s sake. As you may very well know, we’re all snowflakes here, unique in our personal bubbles. We are entitled to praise for thinking, we deserve praise for taking out the trash, we deserve praise for saving a fucking baby. But I did like the second video where people are presenting each other with certificates. 

The Car My Father Gave me is the most effective and personal work. Deeply touching. I loved the videos where his father shows off his cars photo by photo, hypnotic. He has a good, honest voice. I would have loved to see his father in the gear shift video though instead of just the voiceover. Literally and Physically is impressive. I love the "Please Do Not Climb On The Sculpture" piece. Reminds of a lot of art and projects today that you’re supposed to get in that perfect skew that the artist intended. I think Paul’s kinda reaching with ROFL CON and his internet allegory. Corner Piece is disturbing. I conformity disturbing in general so… It's Simple, But Complicated. The breakdown video is kinda dumb but "Fly the Flag" is awesome, trying to rescue something he loves that just wants to sink to the bottom of the mud. Printed Participations. I loved "resist", find such work or statement profound. Also "Art Certificates", playful, yes, but also something the viewer can connect with. Paul Shortt Shocks Chicago. More pffftzzz than bzzzzz. Three-Hour Tour. Another of my favorites. I love how the participants interact with such a horridly living place and how that space affects their perception of each other and their experience. Nice. This gives us a glimpse into Paul’s true genius here, when he succeeds in bringing out what he wants in his subjects. Modern Greetings. A look at how detached we have become from each other and our humanity that we do invent these social norms to add spice to our interaction. I guess it’s alright. Nimby's. Commentary on spaces. I really don’t see the point. PSI Paul Shortt Invitational. Now there should’ve been a video here. But the people seem to be having fun in the photos so it must’ve been. But I do like the idea of unique performances daily. 

Seeking Good Conversation. Interesting observation here. Random conversations with strangers, utter social isolation. Second video...awesome… I've lived in the same small town and known the same people for so long, I've forgotten how to make friends. Missed Connections. Best of the bunch. The video makes you so sad for the people depicted and for yourself. There is nothing worse than the thought of a missed opportunity because for most us, it’s not who you could have fucked, it’s who you didn’t love. True, the grass is always greener but it’s gotta be better than the pile of crap you ended up in. Right? And the video conveys that feeling perfectly. The Business of Selling Yourself. Hilarious first photo, made me LOL. But he’s, again, kinda reaching. Does sell himself short sometimes. Collaborations. The thanks notes are nice in a regular way. The double projector video is absolute crap. I mean what the fuck? Probably ruined some perfectly good projectors, it's just art for art's sake. Art should have a tangible meaning, first to the artist and then to the viewer and that's where they make the connection. Second video is crap as well. Art should make you think about the subject or what the artist draws your attention to, it shouldn't puzzle you about its own meaning. But then, fuck do I know. So what else can I say about Paul… He seems humble, has an honest, likeable face and a great personality, you can’t help but like him. And I guess the same can be said about his work. When it’s good, it’s very good and even the crappy pieces look like gold from a distance.