This week’s readings have been incredibly intriguing to me as both a budding art history scholar and a painter who uses social media. “The Museum Opens” weaves a fantastical narrative both celebrating the possibility of infinite knowledge while also condemning it for the intellectual destruction it may bring. By “intellectual destruction” the author muses over the concept of digitization and how it may leave one feeling empty despite having every artifact available at their fingertips: “File pollution threatens the integrity of cultural memory as it rewrites itself in rapid refresh without any control” (Drucker 2.14). Meaning, that unlimited access to every piece of knowledge without having to do any work for it may corrode history into a bite-size, “likeable”, artifact for the internet.
I will be honest, I do not entirely agree with what is being said here. I certainly believe and know that if used incorrectly, the internet can corrupt how you view the world. It is actually why I left Twitter last week despite my art account having 3.5K followers. My hard work was reduced to a .jpeg, an artifact for others to like, maybe retweet, and then move on… It had caused me to measure my work in terms of “likes” instead of fully enjoying my creations. I say all this while still having a large presence on Instagram and DeviantART. An artist nowadays does need some presence if they want their work seen and engaged with. And those are my choices that don’t stress me out. This can extend to things like artifacts and monuments which are captured at the click of a button. Then they can be tossed on Instagram, FaceBook, etc to culminate in an “achievement” for the photographer. But do they appreciate what they are looking at, the history of it – in that moment?