Shitty Audiences

I was at a conference recently – about smartphone photography. There, quite frequently, people raised the question, if everybody nowadays must be considered an artist of some sort, since everybody takes pictures. This quickly veered off into the question of who should be considered an artist and what might be good – or maybe worthy art – to look at. This debate isn’t new and for my taste, there seems to be a shitload of terrible art – even by established and successful artists and photographers -, in- and outside the classical art scene.

But what gets overlooked is the quality of the audience. Most of the time, the audience of exhibitions is entirely passive. The come to look at pieces of art and they leave. The same is true for visitors to my website. But that seems normal. Some museums and galleries kept the antiquated remnant of the guestbook, but the way people interact with these can be entirely ignored. The internet claims to be interactive, and sites like Instagram enable interaction between creator and audience, but let’s face it, much of this interaction is limited to something that resembles a thumbs-up or -down. That Is just the claim of interacting, rather than the real deal. Sharing stuff is the same thing. If you – as a creator – take notice of the fact that people are sharing your work, it is mostly in the form of a reminder how many people encountered your work without interacting with it.

Sure, we could now bash on the artists, that they are not coming up with “interactive” art works. Why? Just so that it is even easier for the audience to interact? No, I believe that much of the audience is shit. They are lazy and bored. They just want to be entertained. That is all. Most people, I guess, are not even getting what they are looking at, if this stuff reaches a certain depth.

Yes, we can and should talk about the quality of art and artists, but we desperately need to talk about the quality of the audience as well. Bunch of lazy bastards!

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