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The new age of media is upon us and it comes in the form of little boxes which you can choose to like, ignore or comment on. Sounds farfetched, right? Well not really anymore, but 10 years ago definitely.
For me, I don’t have much of a clue about who really owns Instagram and yet I use it sometimes… okay a lot of the time…
Alright! Every spare minute I have.
Seriously, you don’t really realise how often you are on these “social” pages until you are without your smartphone when going somewhere.
Doctors waiting room? Better check my followers. Just finished work? Gotta check who’s liked my post. Leaving a funeral? Whats the new trending hashtag. Maybe an over-exaggeration, but it’s still quite terrifying how many hours I, and many others, put into these online personas. But we are the creators and artists behind this media platform without us there is no “social”.
Sponsored links are becoming more prominent amongst my Instagram feed, and it seems to be following the same trend as Facebook, with its astounding 75 million active users per day surely there is a better way to gain profit. Alas, we are stingy and do not want to pay for a service we have enjoyed for free for so long.
I’m not sure where Instagram will end up in the future but if it follows the same trends as Facebook I believe it will experience a steady decline in the years to come.
Every minute we constantly perceive then distinguish everything that we look at, almost always subconsciously. Usually all of this is completely decipherable, however, these are day to day items we know. Art, in particular, street art is a way to express yourself, or represent something to the audience in a creative fashion. One of the most prominent social commentaries in the world right now is street artist(s) Banksy. (For my own sake I will refer to Banksy as a he from now on). The cover sheet for this blog is arguably Banksy’s most renowned, a satirical piece that plays on violence and riots present at the time of creation.
Banksy is famous for lampooning the very audience that he is supposed to be appealing to, but it works; in a strange uneasy and yet satisfying way.
The piece ‘Mobile Lovers’ (left) is one that appeared in Bristol, UK, on the 14th of April 2014. Banksy posted an image of the artwork on his website and allowed his loyal followers to perform a treasure hunt of sorts, a day later the piece was discovered.
A man and a woman embracing each other tightly, their faces gleam manifesting the love and compassion for one another. However, that light is produced by their smartphones situated directly behind each mobile lovers head. Feelings of evil, mystery and extreme negativity are conveyed through the dead black backdrop.While, the white faces of the individuals represent innocence, although it is illuminated artificially so it could be deemed fraudulent. The phones, the major icon evident here, are almost sucking the very life from the individuals.
Banksy’s work relies heavily on social commentary and without the surrounding social circumstances it is nearly impossible to understand. The ‘Mobile Lovers’ piece works because every smart phone using individual has felt controlled by it at one point or another. The work is also a comment on itself, where Banksy relies on technology to display and spread his art to a wider audience.
This piece is a frightening reenactment of what 21st century romance has become, a swirling spiral of imaginary social perception swallowing non-fictional passion.
Growing up in the 90’s I was surrounded by Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson wannabes, the classic shenanigans of The Looney Tunes and Scooby-Doo, and the wit of Seinfeld that taught me life lessons. By the late 90’s most kids wanted to be rappers and gangsters like my main men Eminem and Dr. Dre. Popular culture developed in an exciting and frightening way. Children weren’t playing outside anymore and one major reason for that was the development, distribution and increasing popularity of video games.
Since I can remember I have played video games. When I was about my 5 my parents bought my brother and I a Playstation 1, we loved that console and it definitely brought us closer together. Our parents had no problem with us going to the video store (unsupervised), borrowing games and playing them for hours on end. Until, when I was around 10 years old; my brother convinced my mother to buy us a little game called Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The 7th instalment in the infamously known series has the player play as a gangbanger living in a sensationalised version of America which is full of: car chases, prostitutes, drugs, murder and plenty of curse words. Even though the game was listed as R18+, my parents did not expect such explicitness to be readily available. My parents ended up restricting how often we could play this game, of course this was happening all over the world and still is today.
The multiplying popularity surrounding this brutal franchise has sparked many debates regarding the graphic violence involved, accessibility and target demographic. There is a whole generation out there who grew up surrounded by this ’empire’ and have eagerly awaited each next instalment and know exactly what vulgarity can be expected. However, there is also a new generation of gamers (and parents) who may be oblivious to the stigma accompanying the brand. I mean it is one of the best selling game series’ of all time with an altogether 114,000,000 units being sold as of May 2015.
There is good reason to be scared of emerging popular cultures especially if they are new, exciting and jeopardy is present. This has happened right the way through history, something is introduced and completely flips our perceptions and ideologies on its head. I have gamed my entire life and have never thought to murder or commit any crime, because I can do that in a gaming format! However, it is up to individuals, parents and the distributors to educate everyone involved and attempt to not drastically alter our lives.