Monday, January 14, 2013

Mechanical Turk Review of My Art 43

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 43rd review I've received.

I don’t know very much about art, and even less about Paul Shortt, but I came across his website, and I was really touched by the emotion, and occasional cynical humor. I decided to view some of his other work and it was interesting to see how he came about. I’m going to review his website specifically, collection by collection, because each offered an interesting perspective in their own way. First offered up is “Please No Photos”, he described it as “As part of the 8th annual street festival Art In Odd Places I walked along 14th Street in New York City holding an enlarged seven-foot “no photos” symbol that implies a prohibition on photography and questions the constant surveillance of public spaces.” It’s an interesting idea, and it was well done. He had people hold the sculpture and have their picture taken with it “subverting the act the sculpture implies”. I saw this as a reference juxtaposing current society with a dystopia similar to that portrayed in the famous novel 1984, given that so much of the world is more concerned with their individual rights, that they’d be willing to ignore the larger issues of mass security and privacy. While one may not be comfortable having a stranger photograph them in a public space in general, it’s much more accepted if they are able to hold a sculpture, or pose next to it. This is where I saw cynicism and humor most specifically in his work, and the fact that you can almost see his attitude in the very first collection is something to admire in a young artist. The next collection we get to view is “Contemporary Farewells: New Ways of Saying Good Bye”. This was kind of a silly collection, but nothing that really jumped out except for “The Cell Phone Bye”. It may just be my own personal experiences, but it makes me sad that so many people so have lost touch with one another and they hide so much behind their own personal electronics. I think the collection is meant to be silly, and many of the images made me giggle, but that one evoke a bit of sadness. We as a society are losing touch with one another, and focusing so much on our electronics, that it’s become a difficulty to have personal face-to-face discussions. The next collection is called “How to be Narcissistic”. It was similar to many that you’ll see as ice breakers for a new job or even a college class. It wasn’t too far out of the ordinary or out of the box, but still rather interesting to see people portraying themselves as how they’d like to be seen, as opposed to how they are. The collection titled “The Car My Father Gave Me” nearly made me cry. The video portrays his father going through images of the car, and it touches on the very sentimental family feelings. I loved it, and watched the video three times. It was sweet and clear that his father cared a lot about him and about the car. It was the most personal of the collections, and the most well done. It would have been nice to see his father in the video, but it was well done. “Literally and Physically” is the next collection, and it’s an array of sculptures. “Please Don’t Climb On the Sculpture” is a fun perspective piece, and the ROFL carpet is interesting and it’s fun to see what everyone would look like if they did roll on the floor laughing every time they typed it. “It’s Simple, But Complicated” is an interesting look on the tasks that many people take as being simple but have deeper cultural meanings. They are worth the watch, but don’t go as deep into the implications as they could. “Printed Participation” is kind of meh to be honest, but still worth looking through. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen or expected to see before. “Paul Shortt Shocks Chicago” is where he tricks people with those hand shockers that have his name on it and gives them to the people who he shocked. Also, kind of meh, but I hope it went well, as there wasn’t much information beyond the concept on the website. “Three Hour Tour” was a wall of text but worth the read. I don’t want to spoil it, but I think readers would like it. This is followed by “Modern Greetings” which is the inverse of “Contemporary Farewells” the pictures were kind of silly and people looked like they were having fun, but it wasn’t really deep, meaningful or emotional. “Nimby’s” was a collection of images that were a little interesting, but mostly kind of fell into the ‘it’s been done’ category. It wasn’t bad, and it was kind of fun, but it wasn’t really fresh or new or personal. It was rather thought evoking though. The next collection was the “Paul Short Invitational”. The images were fun, but it would have been nice if there were videos instead of just still photographs. “Seeking Good Conversation” had several good videos. It was a thought provoking section. It reminded me of how hard it is to get to know people and make friends as an adult and really have interesting conversations, instead of mindless drabble. “Missed Connections” was interesting. He read and placed ads from the Missed Connections sections of Craigslist in the places they happened to create new connections. I put this in the same paragraph as “seeking good conversation” because I think they could go together as a collection. The artist is trying to help people have good conversations with their own missed connections, and it evoked a lot of the same feelings. “The Business of Selling Yourself” is a cynical look on dating and even getting hired. It’s silly and interesting and definitely worth the read/watch. “Collaborations” is the last collection. The images are kind of funny, the video was awesome, and it’s really great to look through. In conclusion, Paul Shortt is an artist with a lot of potential who doesn’t often stray into the emotional, but when he does it’s a fantastic site. He can and will do a lot with his future and he’s definitely worth checking out.