Artist Sven Goyvaerts presented his social media experiment One Year Life Performance 2.0 at the University of Nevada, Reno on November 12, 2009. He began recording everything he does during the day on June 16, 2009, and sharing it through social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, vimeo, YouTube, and yes, even World of WarCraft.
This is an experiment that tests the ability of social media and whether it truly does work. Goyvaerts likes to say that his experiment is like a “reality show, coming to you, on each day, for one whole year, for free.” However, do people really pay attention to what is going on? Do you need to have a personal connection with somebody who is blogging, tweeting, or updating statuses to truly care about what someone is saying or doing? Is social media a form of art?
To answer the last question first, social media is not a form of art. However, social media is a vessel for Goyvaerts’ art. It is just like how a canvas alone isn’t art, but what the artist puts on the canvas is.
His project reminds me of Glenn Weatherson’s project called Sixty-Days. Weatherson created a video series on vimeo sharing his days while being stuck in an apartment on house arrest. He also shared his experiences on his portfolio, Flickr and Twitter. This can be considered art, but Weatherson had no intention to make it art. He started doing absurd things in front of a camera and shared it with his friends and family members. He would do things such as drink a gallon of Tampico orange juice and throw it up or rearrange his entire apartment to have all the furniture stacked up on each other in the center of the room.
Goyvaerts and Weatherson’s projects are similar in their use of social media to promote their artistic ideas. What I have noticed is that they began promoting their projects through their friends, and then their friends helped them promote it, and then their friends’ friends sent it to their friends. It’s a chain reaction. And, there you have it… the power of social media.
I would like to see more art documentations such as these. The most interesting part about it all is to see how people react to them – whether they view, interact or participate in the work.
Great job Goyvaerts and Weatherson! You continue to make social media a fascinating topic of conversation.