Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Selfie Ergo Sum

O.K. I'm still obsessed with selfies at the moment, even though the first usage is reported as early as 2002.  I looked up some definitions:

Merriam – Webster    self·ie   noun \ˈsel-fē\  An image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks
Oxford English Dictionary   Syllabification: sel·fie   Pronunciation: /ˈselfē  (also selfy)   NOUN (plural selfies)   informal  A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social mediaoccasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary

Dictionary.com    selfie   [sel-fee] Spell Syllables   noun, Informal.  A photograph that one takes of oneself with a digital camera or a front-facing smartphone, tablet, or webcam, especially for posting on a social-networking or photo-sharing website.

There are lots floating around on the web, even lots of articles like: The 29 Greatest Selfies Of All Time from the Huffingto Post.

Hashtag fundraising is something which has become hugely prevalent in the last few months. This new popular method of fundraising seems to offer the holy trinity of selfiedom. exposure, cachet and self congratulation. In our increasingly media conscious lives, it is hard to feel meaningful. 

Probably the most famous was #icebucketchallenge. From home movies (home videos?) to Bill Gates well produced video,  according to the BBC over 2.4 million ice bucket-related videos were posted on Facebook. Did that really translate into money for the charity? Yes and No. The money did go up for many charitable organisations. Pre-ice bucket, the MND Association was receiving about £200,000 a week in donations while between 22-29 August, it received £2.7m. The danger is that people may feel "done" and if the charity doesn't come up with something else as "fun," it may lose supporters very quickly.

The success of the ice bucket challenge was entirely different to that of #nomakeupselfie. It's viral nature was a result of its nomination capacity. Those completing the challenge asked  friends to follow suit within 24 hours, and thus Facebook newsfeeds were taken over by the videos, with a better than average chance of nomination for everyone.

William MacAskill, founder of 80,000 Hours, publicly came out against the ice bucket challenge stating, "The challenge gives you a way to very publicly demonstrate your altruism via a painful task, despite actually accomplishing very little (on average, not including those who don't donate at all, a $40 gift, or 0.07% of the average American household's income): it's geared up to make you feel as good about your actions as possible, rather than to ensure that your actions do as much good as possible."

Ultimately only time will tell if #hashtagfundraising increases our propensity to give and to generate more selfies, or just allows us to feel better while doing less.

Getting to the art part of it...my friend from art school at the San Francisco Art Institute, Adal Maldinado, has been doing elegant and interesting takes on the selfie. These next images are from his book of self-portraits, "I Was A Squizophrenic Mambo Dancer for the FBI" by Pull Press, NY, 1990-2006

You can see more at http://www.adalmindfictions.com/#!auto-portraits   But what I like the best are some of his very recent ones from work called "GO F_CK YOUR Selfie." It's on Facebook now along with fans who have submitted their own selfies in response.  

Hmmm, groups, responses, charity and more— doesn't sound so selfie to me.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Collectors, a Rare Breed

Rome made me think about collectors. People like the Popes, the Borghese, the Medicis or the Farnese, who transformed Florence and Rome. 

I also encountered other kinds of collectors, those who just buy and buy, often the same things over and over again like Evan Gorga. For instance in the current exhibit at Pallazzo Altemps, he owned multiple examples of mortars (for pestles) in the shape of fingers.

And the impulse is everywhere. Look at Graham Barker who collects his navel hair or Natasha Goldsworth who has an enormous Hello Kitty collection.

And of course, the famous/infamous Herb and Dorothy, with whom our interest shows no sign of abating.

Art News publishes the top 200 collectors every year or one might look at a more historical list of collectors. And so on and so on.

If 98% of Americans have a moving experience with art at some point in their lives, why do only 27% think artists should be paid reasonably for their labors?  ,,,Let us now thank collectors one and all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Echo Shapes

Echo shapes eternally reinterpreted. The strategy connecting old and new.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Veni, Vidi, Selfie

I am still amazed by the connectivity of all our new devices. Here I am on a super fast train (250 mph +) from Rome (heyday 200 b.c.e.) to Florence (heyday 1400 to 1700 a.d.) and I'm using a smaller than a deck of cards 64 gig wireless hard drive loaded with a SD card from my camera to send images directly to my phone where I am blogging via the internet (so now.)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Selfie, Selfie, Selfie

The current wild wave of selfies has given rise to a host of controversy. And has spawned a new industry.  Guys now walk around Rome selling sticks that will hold your cell phone far enough away to get yourself, your loved ones and a monument. Monumental vanity?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jet Lag

I think I am going to be too jet lagged to post this Tuesday so I will just share some of my snaps from the last time I was in Rome plus the foot that I'm sure inspired Philip Guston and my two favorite paintings I did in Rome. And Rome is worth how many words?  Oh, just one. Bellissima!