Saturday, March 16, 2013

Amazon's Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #55

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 55th review I've received.

The exhibition title “How To Be Narcissistic: A Workshop and Performance ” seems to be an appropriate title for the art show laid out on artist Paul Shortt’s website. From the very start, I loved the work. The works were unique in composition and a very interesting look at the “self” and outside perception of that self. The more I saw and read supplemented my enjoyment of the exhibit when I was able to put it in the context of exhibitionism and voyeurism. Contemporary media has inundated us with the minutia of everyday life of our peers. We are encouraged through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and many others to share our faces, feelings, and actions. Then there are the interactive reality shows, which push individuals to live together in a proscribed setting in order to film whatever action results. The individuals on these shows are showcasing their lives as theater for a captive television audience. But then, because there is an audience, the reality stars change their behaviors and raise the level of exhibitionism. Additionally, this exhibit prompts a discussion of surveillance and voyeurism, prompting a critique of the “Big Brother” style security found in today’s airports, buses, city streets and stores. The title “How To Be Narcissistic: A Workshop and Performance ” juxtaposes the relative safety of a workshop and forces us to consider if such exhibition on a public stage is necessarily innocent and is perhaps a very dangerous force. The more I saw and read supplemented my enjoyment of the exhibit when I was able to put it in the context of exhibitionism and voyeurism. This show made me question the idea of a static “artist” and “viewer” and consider that art can be a dynamic collaboration between the two. The expectations and preconceived notions that the participant or “narcissist” brings when they enter the room impact the art to the point that it changes its meaning. Conceptual art is art in which the idea of the work takes precedence over traditional aesthetics. A renaissance art scholar would look at some of Shortt’s work and definitely not call it art, however it is still art because an artist is a person who makes the viewer think about a concept or idea or wrestle with something they had never considered before. His art falls into this category of conceptual art and I think he does a magnificent job in making the viewer think. Beyond that I found the photographs on the website not incredibly aesthetically pleasurable, but rather more of a record of an event, which was much more journalistic, in a sense. The type of activity plus these journalistic type photos drew out the comparison to Facebook even more for me. I imagine it was incredibly worthwhile to be present at this exhibition/activity and would give the viewer a very different conception of the art. The difference between reading a friend’s description of a vacation and “Liking” it on Facebook is similarly very different from actually physically sitting down, having a drink with that friend, looking through physical photos and chatting about the trip. Overall, I enjoyed looking through Shortt’s art and will keep tabs on his art and work in the future.

For more info on this project please check out my website: