‘Log In’ Exhibition at Darb 1718
Social Media Meets Art
By Nadia El Dasher
Last October Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, placed a large order with Lego for a politically-influenced exhibit in Victoria, Australia. However when the Danish toy company came back saying that they, “Cannot approve the use of Legos for political works,” Weiwei took to Instagram to dispute what he felt was censorship.
The reaction? He was flooded by responses from fellow Instagrammers who wanted to donate their Lego bricks to the artwork.
Over the past six years social networks have changed the face of the music, film and fashion industries – the art world as a whole is moving towards a more interactive interface. This is a step in the right direction from a straightforward marketing perspective as well as a tool to engage an artist’s audience.
With social media playing a pivotal role in the success of young and established artists, it’s only natural that these same individuals would be inspired by it.
Darb1718’s latest exhibit Log In does just that. Moataz Nasr, of the Cairo-based space, tapped into artists worldwide to create pieces following a social media theme. Darb1718 announced the open call through their own social networks as well as their website and some offline materials
The artists explored the topic of social media from both a positive and negative perspective with some even using technology as the medium. Steven Guermer’s BREAK required the audience to view the artwork through Google Play, transforming a two dimensional image into a virtual 3D one.
Chadi Salama experimented with the intimate side of social media by designing mirrored logos of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the exhibit’s name Objects in mirror are closer than they appear printed just below. The glossy mirrors served as a literal reflection of the audience’s faces – perhaps questioning how much social media platforms are a reflection of our true selves.
The artists designed interactive works and encouraged visitors to participate in the conversation by scanning QR codes on photos and by posting their thoughts of the pieces on social media. The audience was even provided with Facebook-inspired “reaction” stickers to express their feelings about each artist’s work straight onto the walls of the gallery space.
Perhaps what makes social media art most unique is its ability to take every facet of an artist’s work, their spirit and personality, and distribute it to the masses – sometimes introducing it to individuals who might otherwise never come across their work.
Artists, gallerists, critics and curators are reacting to the imminent presence of social media by not only embracing but also incorporating it into their works.
From the ever-trendy Banksy to the subtle visual poems of Robert Montgomery, the age of worldwide connection is heavily upon is. The only question is: How will you react to it?