Week 4 – Jerry Makare

A large part of this weeks readings and viewings were focused on tactical communication using art. Art is by it’s very nature the best possible example of participatory media particularly in that it stems from the human need to communicate and connect.

I am certain we could have a decent discussion regarding whether or not looking at static images such as paintings, stills and sculpture, or watching a film could be considered participatory, but to me when you are engaged in any work of art you are participating at some level, and if the experience draws out an emotional response that you reflect on or share than you continue to participate. For the record whenever I think of looking at art I automatically go to this scene:

The art installations we looked at for this week were interactive and tactical, and they did serve as decent examples of tactical communication through art. The most interesting and successful example in my opinion was Rothenberg’s “Invisible Threads” piece, which has come up in several blog posts as the one that most people gravitated to. The integration of Second Life with the art project culminating in a real world (meat space) product while highlighting current production and distribution methods is well done, and poignant. This is a piece I would have loved to see live, just to see the way people interacted with it, and what their reception of it was in real time.

What constitutes good art is incredibly subjective and too many words have been wasted by critics and enthusiasts while critiquing artists or their works. Determining what is “good” should be off our plates, but we can look at what makes a work of art successful and learn to adapt the things that make it successful to our own types of media. What determines whether a piece of art or media is successful?

A successful piece draws out an emotional response, fuels thought, starts conversation, or disrupts a person enough that the will ruminate on what they have seen and felt. Success doesn’t imply that any of those thoughts or feelings are positive, and I think that often the pieces that draw a negative response, (beyond simply not liking it), are more powerful and have a longer term impact on my thoughts. What we can take from successful are, no matter the style, the medium, or the message, is that in order to create any works or communicate any ideas we need to be able to express them emphatically through our works, and no one should be able to look at the things we do and label us fence walkers, in fact to me that is the single most important thing to take away, and that is in everything we do we should make sure it is not vanilla, boring, bland. or pointless.



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