When I turned to social media - Instagram in particular - as a place to build my "story" (images online that communicate who you are) - and I immersed myself in that new culture I had no idea that I would be turning a lens on myself in the figurative sense to benefit from a greater understanding of my own aesthetic. In effect the medium has affected my seeing, and therefore my art. How? I was getting instant feed back from a diverse sampling of people who by liking the images I was putting out there as part of my story - little glimpses of my aesthetic - inadvertently encouraged me to create more. I had not recognized my own aesthetic until I recognized that certain images were generating engagement in others, and until I started strategically selecting images as little metaphorical pieces of me, and placing them side by side on a page. That's when the patterns emerged. Textures, tones of filters, colour palettes, connecting to emotion/feeling that were in turn connecting with others. Communication!
The feed back comes at all times. I have been looking for patterns there too. Ie. days of the week, times of day...but I can't think in terms of my time (Pacific Time), anymore. I am on world time. The likes are coming from all parts of the world, in various languages, at all times. "The medium is the message" a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan is so often quoted, but do we truly understand it? It is perhaps more subtle than it appears at first mention. At 5:30am today I was doing a quick search of the phrase, when I came upon this expression of the idea in an essay by Mark Federman of "the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology." Click the link to the source.
What he had to say resonated with the experience of that shift in thinking that occurred for me when I introduced a new medium to my expression.
McLuhan tells us that a "message" is, "the change of scale or pace or pattern" that a new invention or innovation "introduces into human affairs." (McLuhan 8) Note that it is not the content or use of the innovation, but the change in inter-personal dynamics that the innovation brings with it. Thus, the message of theatrical production is not the musical or the play being produced, but perhaps the change in tourism that the production may encourage. (Federman 2004).
Click on Mark's link below for acknowledgement of source material.
McLuhan defines medium for us as well. Right at the beginning of Understanding Media, he tells us that a medium is "any extension of ourselves." Classically, he suggests that a hammer extends our arm and that the wheel extends our legs and feet. Each enables us to do more than our bodies could do on their own. (Federman 2004)