Digital Painting: Social Network

  • "Social Network" and its accompanying research explore the importance of physical and emotional connections to the success of new media art works. By creating a digital installation which addresses and questions whether digital environments can adequately communicate emotions in a similar manner to the aura of the unique art objects discussed by Walter Benjamin in his seminal essay "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," I hope to understand the nature of our transformed social encounters in virtual communications such as Facebook. My research uncovers that communication through digital means can be limiting and that there are larger social repercussions to the emotional discourse in contemporary society. Can computers be used to express emotions and not just communicate information and ideas?
  • The "Painting"

    The installation is a "digital painting" mounted amongst small shelves. The painting is of lightning bugs. For every social network friend there is a lightning bug. Every lightning bugs light pulse is that of the corresponding persons heart rate. It's important to note that this is not an application or tool. Although it has elements of data visualization, it is a work of fine art and its purpose is to challenge set ideas and concepts of social networking. It's not to state that social networking is good or bad, but to hope that people better understand the medium and how it shifts our social interactions.
  • The Facebook Road Trip¬†
    To get each person's heart rate for my art installation I went on a road trip to visit my social network friends in person. I saw a wide variety of people in the last twenty years of my social life.
  • Mini-Documentary¬†
    Below is a 15 minute documentary done by my friend Josh Baron, who accompanied me on my trip. You can see some of the fun ... and awkwardness we shared. If you like any part of this project please send to it someone or blog it. Thank you for reading!