Matt Retallick: Social Media – a prompt for a podcast

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This short post is a prompt for a podcast we are recording this week. It does not intend to answer any questions but lay down ideas towards our forthcoming discussion. 

I feel in our podcast recording last week, that we touched on something quite interesting. My proposal to talk about social media, and what it means for artist visibility extends from this. I admit a slightly selfish intention in that I am personally quite interested in this, especially from the point of view of curation. How do artists (or creatives, maybe a better word) curate their content, and in-turn, curate themselves? Is this an exercise in controlling public perception and persona? We spoke briefly about the shift from Facebook to Instagram – to me, this is hardly surprising as the latter is built for the visual, but it’s become to some as valid as the traditional gallery model. I wonder what we gain, and what do we lose? I’m thinking about the digital exhibition, and how this has come into sharp focus since Covid restrictions. Is Instagram, as a case in point, ever a valid exhibition platform? Does social media mean artists are now working differently? Are we now so aware of how we look to the outside world, that we always lack authenticity? Do you need to include yourself, to give your art the clout it needs? Or what about anonymity, and what bearing does this bring? How is the Independents Biennial 21 using social media? Does social media always foster new audiences, or is it an echo chamber? That’s not to mention algorithms, a subject that is technically bewildering and beyond my knowledge… but are artists therefore just as overshadowed as they are in the real world? Censorship? Shadow bans? The mysterious forces behind what we are allowed to see, and what we’re not. Let the discussion commence!

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