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?
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.
Cogitations on non-linear time, ignorance-driven segregation and violence in our political status quo.
This past month has consisted of me endlessly exclaiming how quickly time is passing. Half an hour before I decided to update this vacant digital space, I was recovering from the intricately full-circle* plot in Arrival and its proposition that time is not, in fact, linear. While learning heptapod is not the immediate call-to-action in this post, the underlying message in the film is one that resonates with our political status quo. The film directly challenges our perspective of time, which tends to reduce our cognitive process to one that is narrow-focused and short-sighted. As it grapples with the science-fictional theory of being able to observe the future and comprehend the choices we make, it echoes a message of unity and hope. Rather than segregating the foreign, the story unfolds as the characters attempt to interact and converse with the unfamiliar.
Often, however, the most disconcerting ignorance-driven violence stems from the lack of understanding of our own kind. Take Negan in The Walking Dead as an example; the beginning of season 7 saw the living slaughtering one another during a zombie apocalypse (a rather abrupt reference, but nonetheless proves my point). Beyond the small and big screens, we’re in a period of severe marginalisation and divide. While we’re not amidst an alien invasion or zombie apocalypse, both of which speak directly to my choice of entertainment genre, it’s crucial to hold onto these sentiments, because change all starts from within. All of that just for me to welcome the new year for the first time on this platform. But also, don’t give up on hope.
* Yes, that was indeed a heptapod pun.
Recapping our year in the form of speaking about Jesus, presidential elections, Orlando, Christina Grimmie. None of which are mutually exclusive.
It never fails to surprise me how quickly each succeeding year passes by. Apparently, this is a digital age trend: an illusion created by our dependence on technology that time is being sped up. I mean, bless shortcut keys on laptops. Although, I’m not sure about the new MacBook touch bar situation. Being Generation Y, it would be quite hypocritical of me to preach about how socially unhealthy it is to fixate our attention to technological devices (or complain about the new touch bar function on the MacBook like I did a sentence ago because my new MacBook is literally arriving next Wednesday). But while truth resides in that sentiment, that is not the main purpose of this article.
Christmas time is a season of joy, festivities, gatherings and celebration. The obvious textbook response to the question ‘what are we celebrating?’ is Jesus (because Jesus is always the answer). But the awkward week of transition between 2016 and 2017 (or more so preparation for said transition) begs the question: what is truly worth our celebration? What have we accomplished in the past year that we haven’t before? This past year has shone a light on the polarising divide that had always existed within our society, but had merely subsided within the fabric of our routine daily activities that over time became unnoticed or ignored (whether related to presidential elections or unreasonable shootings for all the wrong reasons). Politics, Christina Grimmie, Orlando and more important affairs aside, this year I turned 21, got better grades, drank more water, met new people, got a new job, and haven’t been shot yet. It’s mundane, but I mean, I hope this classifies as exciting because if this isn’t worth celebrating then I don’t know if there is much left worth to celebrate. Sometimes, it’s the small things in life that matter the most. On that note, Merry Christmas, kiddos. Out (with a food coma).