Today I keep catching myself freaking out about living in the future. I'm honestly intimidated by the amount of information that is available to me at any given time, and I'm having a bit of future shock about how social networking may be changing society, group dynamics and how people communicate with one another.
Case in point
Between researching how artists are using Second Life, (yes artists use Second Life) and how new Smartphone applications are allowing us to access more and more information no matter where you are, I feel like it is becoming increasingly difficult to unplug. The word Smartphone for instance brings up visions of a "Logan's Run-esque" dystopian future in my mind, but that could be because I watched a lot of Sunday afternoon science fiction growing up.
As arts professionals we need to remember that all of these new technologies should function as tools, either for communication or research, or even to help in the production of art. It can be pretty easy to become inundated with learning the minutia of a new tool, or even seduced by the bright new shininess of it, but we can't all become slaves to the Facebook, or become so fixated that we Twitter our lives away without getting anything done.
Facebook is leading the charge of a societal change much in the same way that the cell phone did way back in the mid 90's (post Zack Morris phone, pre Razr). It has gotten to the point that it is almost a necessity. As Farhad Manjoo, the technology columnist at Slate, pointed out, "The site has crossed a threshold—it is now so widely trafficked that it's fast becoming a routine aide to social interaction, like e-mail and antiperspirant. It's only the most recent of many new technologies that have crossed over this stage."
We are just beginning to see how society is changing because of these new online applications, and the art world is no exception. So over the next week I'll be exploring how artists have carved out an alternative space for exhibition and performance art in Second Life, and showing you what your Smartphone can do for you next time you visit a museum.
So until then, try to go outisde while it is still nice. If you're here in Pittsburgh, it's one of the 15 sunny days we get a year so you don't want to waste it.