Social Media as Medium for Art

by Sharp | February 23, 2012

Amid Social Media Week panels and keynotes last week, I took a bit of time out of the brand/marketing/industry speak to indulge in a bit of fresh air courtesy of the #ArtsTech Meet Up.

Much has been said about the greater access and visibility for art granted through social media. We see major museums investing heavily in digital and social platforms in order to reach new and varied audiences with their collections and exhibits. Where this Meet Up went, however, was interesting in that it focused not on social media as a conduit for art, but social media as the art itself.

I was introduced to artists who are using the Tumblr platform as a medium in itself – working with the API to create interesting visuals and collaborative experiences.  A fairly comprehensive list of artists on the platform was provided by the team from Tumblr at:

My favorite presentation for the night was by Shane Brennan who talked about Twitter as a public forum – an open community where anyone can be a contributor and where performance can be cultivated and recorded. This idea of Twitter as a platform for performance art came together within his project, Creative Time Tweets, was interesting to me, and even more so when I was introduced to the three exhibits curated by the program.


You can take a look at all three here and see for yourself.  I love the play on traditional venues and communication (spoken word, public performance, the telegraph and postcards) within the context of new media and Twitter.  The content takes on a whole new meaning when a book excerpt is translated into a tweet or a transitory tweet is translated into a permanent record.  The elements become beautiful and fascinating and challenge us to think about the way we communicate in new ways.

The Marketer in me was also interested to see brands commissioning open artistic expression, funding interesting projects and supporting artists in un-branded ways (see Art She Said from Ann Taylor).

But more than anything else, for me having the chance to learn from disciplines outside my own is oftentimes more rewarding than following the closed industry networks.

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