I’m still reading about post-Internet art (just about, I’m near the end). One of the points made in one of the last essays in this book has made me observe more closely than normal the humdrum, every day activity that flows in front of me 18 hours a day on the Internet: the Instagram photos, the Facebook photos, the tweets, the links, the questions and the provocative confessions.
The essay in question, ‘May Amnesia Never Kiss Us on the Mouth’, argues that everyone, to some extent, is an artist in the post-Internet age. As it states about the Internet: ‘Here is everyone’.
What it meant by this, is that with the resources available to us through the Internet, anyone can observe, upload, photograph, comment and have an impact. Many people who use the Internet in this way, through Instagram, Twitter of Facebook and the like, probably don’t even realise that they are being artists. Anyone can be an artist. Everyone can be an artist.
This is a Good Thing in my opinion. You don’t need to be good at drawing to be an artist and the Internet allows people who might not have the confidence in their drawing or making skills, to comment like an artist and observe like an artist. It is a misconception that to consider yourself an artist you need to be good at drawing. A few months ago I overheard a conversation between two students walking out of the Art School building in Wolverhampton which ended with: ‘I’m not even sure why I am doing this degree, I can’t even draw!’. To be an artist you need a good eye, curiosity and the ability to form an opinion or make a statement. That is all.
The Internet is a mass of images, comments, poems, essays, statements, videos, blogs, vlogs and sound bites. It is an archive of the contemporary. However, unlike more traditional archives, it is ephemeral. It is there. It is constant. It reflects life. It is huge. but that hugeness only lasts for an instant, and then it moves on. It is like a wave. We take it so seriously, but only in the present. It rules our lives. It has a good short-term memory, but a rubbish long-term memory. Most art created on the Internet dies as suddenly as it appeared. That, is my one regret about the Internet. I see so much wonder there. But can I remember the next day what I found so wonderful on the previous day? Not likely.
We use the Internet to express something of ourselves that previously perhaps all but the ‘creatives’ of the real world kept hidden. Once the Internet became universal, it was a brand new communication tool, the likes of which we had never had before.
So that is what I mean by ‘we are all artists’. The Internet is the pencil that everyone can use at the same time, and you don’t need to worry about your artistic abilities because it permits all abilities of expression from the completely banal and stupid to the astute and sublime. We all think we are good at Internet engagement whereas we don’t all regard ourselves as good at art.
That is the reason that I love the Internet.
Abbas, B. & R. Abou-Rahme ‘May Amnesia Never Kiss Us on the Mouth’ in Kholeif, O. 2014 You Are Here: Art After the Internet Cornerhouse: Manchester