Brad Delong had an excellent piece yesterday on the need to build new institutions - see here. It is mostly centered on new media (blogs) as a needed antidote to the increasingly suspect media insititutions. (David Brooks of the NY Times recently spoke more vile accusations against the blogging community in typical hypocrisy mode) What is best about the post though is the link to this amazing piece by Jay Rosen at Pressthink called the People Formerly Known as the Audience. Its sort of an "open letter to the landlord" type of the thing. Its a great piece it truly is, with links to major media outlet heavy weights - the AP, Reuters, Rupert Murdoch etc. It goes quite nicely with the New Media post I did in May that linked to the excellent Economist survey.
Rosen's piece conlcudes with this:
The people formerly known as the audience are simply the public made realer, less fictional, more able, less predictable. You should welcome that, media people. But whether you do or not we want you to know we’re here.Take some time with thread as well, excellent commentary.
So why am I taking the time with this cliche discussion on the power of blogs/podcasts? Because its about Audience. I know this notion of the audinece participating is also abit old hat for many in the performing arts/performance artists but it has become renewed and validated again in the larger public sphere. These are revolutionary times - I'm not sure we'll recognize much of anything in 20 years - environment withstanding.
What does this mean for the art audience? The painting/sculpture audience? Is that audience being empowered by the same forces we see effecting journalism and political discourse? With some many artists blogging and providing art criticism and art practice insights will this lead to a wider more engaged audience? Do we as practioners/artworld citizens even know this audience? (aside from ourselves) Is there a new audience yet to emerge? One largely coming to the fold through art blogs?
Bill Gusky reports on one seemingly stilted effort at a New Media art experience by the Whitney Museum's traveling show Remote Viewing , which asks patrons of the St. Louis Art Museum to view art works through an Ipod. Bill is riffing on the heels of Todd Gibson's original June 16th post on the same exhibit. The curators of the exhibit in essence are asking audiences to choose a mediated experience through a popular manufactured commodity over/or in addition to a direct and personal viewing experience. Ironies and cross-branding aside - as Bill abley points out - the Audience unwittingly becomes secondary to the device. Its the technology of the device that the curators are interested in - and how that technology mediates experiences with painting and drawing through "remote viewing". The art is simply "future"media content and the viewer becomes the consumer. I would have preferred that patrons were given a chance to create a podcast while interacting with the exhibit. It seems that would have been more in the spirit of New Media and given patrons a chance to speak to their art experience. I'm sure many of them would have provided excellent and original commentary - and I'm sure some of it would have been bad, but that is the power of it after all. Imagine a general audience asked what they think and feel about what they are viewing? Could change some lives I think. I haven't seen the show so if someone knows more on the actual usage of the device please let me know, couldn't find one mention of the Ipods in any review I read on line, which speak volumes in itself perhaps.
So everyone, I'm interested in what people think about the questions posed above regarding the influence of New Media and the People Formerly Known as the Audience:
Send me your thoughts and I'll post a piece based on those.
image: Rocky Horror - the first active film audience?