• Personal

    Crys­tallise

    18 June 2017

    How can social media algo­rithms and engage­ment tac­tics coex­ist with cre­ative process­es that were born in an envi­ron­ment where indi­vid­ual expres­sion was the para­mount moti­va­tion, rather than the recep­tion of one’s work by oth­ers?

    Syd­ney, Aus­tralia

    Amidst the hec­tic onslaught of uni­ver­si­ty dead­lines, I’ve spent the past month recon­fig­ur­ing my cre­ative process in an attempt to crys­tallise what pre­cise­ly dif­fer­en­ti­ates my pho­tographs from those of oth­ers and, more fun­da­men­tal­ly, whether I was cre­ative­ly ful­filled with the con­tent I was push­ing out. The para­dox is that cre­ativ­i­ty is such a sub­jec­tive and flu­id con­cept that any attempt to clear­ly define one’s aes­thet­ic is some­what futile because it is inher­ent­ly elu­sive and ever-chang­ing. Most art stems from one’s sense of cre­ative free­dom and the abil­i­ty to inject con­cepts that are miss­ing in cul­ture and soci­ety. But what hap­pens when so much of the same mate­r­i­al is cir­cu­lat­ing the cre­ative space that it under­mines the very fun­da­ment of art-mak­ing? How can social media algo­rithms and engage­ment tac­tics coex­ist with cre­ative ten­den­cies that were born in an envi­ron­ment where indi­vid­ual expres­sion was the para­mount moti­va­tion, rather than the focus on recep­tion of one’s work by oth­ers?

    It’s the repet­i­tive­ness of con­tent per­me­at­ing the art scene today that runs against the objects of cre­at­ing art in the first place. This inevitably has severe reper­cus­sions on the over­all qual­i­ty of infor­ma­tion shared online and could poten­tial­ly be one of the key caus­es of decreased inno­va­tion in the dig­i­tal age. This is exem­pli­fied by the auton­o­my of users to selec­tive­ly fol­low the works of their favourite pub­lish­ers through sub­scrip­tion. On one hand, if users are con­scious­ly sub­scrib­ing to pub­lish­ers that cre­ate con­tent extend­ing across a wide cat­e­go­r­i­al spec­trum, this could poten­tial­ly mit­i­gate the issue of restrict­ing one­self to a select few gen­res of inter­est. On the oth­er hand, since per­son­al­i­sa­tion is an inte­gral fac­tor to the enjoy­ment of the appli­ca­tion, most users only fol­low those who inspire them, which goes back to the bub­ble effect of recy­cled con­cepts that cir­cu­late social media and the imped­i­ment on expo­sure to a wide range of con­tent. Con­cur­rent­ly, how­ev­er, per­haps the prob­lem rests in the fact that our gen­er­a­tion has become too depen­dent on online out­lets as sources of cre­ative stim­u­la­tion.