Use Your Attention to Promote Love

Disclaimer: My ideas are developing and I’m okay with being more vulnerable as I work some things out in my life/art-practice.

I’ve had a productive week in thinking through some new developments in my work. I’m trying not to reduce my interests to just the digital world and think about the root of what I’d like to communicate.

Some of my recent prints and installations read as sarcastic or at least skeptical of the authenticity of digital communication (referencing spam, solicitations, and bots on Instagram). Creating things is the best way to work out ideas, so now looking at this new body of work I’ve been thinking “why does this even matter”? Why should someone care about inauthentic communication? I’ll come back to this question…

Taking a break from drawing, this week I’ve been screen-printing photographs of a friend. In fact, we made a ‘contract’ and for one week I take a photograph of him each time we cross paths (which is often since we both work in the printmaking shop at UConn). Here is the cover letter to the model release form and a few of the screen prints.

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I’m only a few days in but think that the whole message of the piece is somewhat disrespectful (I was trying to joke about social media but in a way the model is the brunt of the joke), that’s why I’m in the process of rewriting the cover letter to something more affirming. This piece is more about friendship and the people in my life that I appreciate.

That’s been a big revelation this week and I think I’m going to do a 180' with my direction. To make interactive work you need to create a safe environment, and this is even more true with social practice art (something which I’m starting to think about more seriously). Honestly having an art practice is such a demanding thing that I’d rather focus my energy on how I’d like to see the world around me rather than what isn’t working (at least when I’m working with other people).

This brings me back to my earlier question, why should someone care about inauthentic communication? Perhaps the answer is that I care about what is authentic and that the people in my life and the moments of meaningful connection are all that I really have.

Anyways, those are my sappy thoughts for today, thanks for listening.

Paul M