Twitter as Big Brother?

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at090505a.jpgIn last week's program I asked you for advice: To Tweet or Not to Tweet... and respond you did – with humor, sarcasm, and good straightforward advice. To read all the responses posted, visit the Art Talk page of the KCRW website. Here are some excerpts.


Anita wrote:

I loved the questions about Twitter, Facebook, etc. I'm asking those same questions as well...especially as a high school teacher. So, please post some of the most helpful and/or humorous and/or outrageous answers! We all need some help in these strange times.


This comment came from Joyce:

I do appreciate you, especially when you are so funny. I have been invited to be 'Friends' times over on Facebook - remain Friendless to date. Encouraged to Twitter and have not (yet) made a Tweet. Can hardly get through emails and suffering for time for REAL WORK. How many hours a day do you have?


Stephen said:

I'm not at all convinced that Twitter has added any value to my life. It is enticing and interesting, to be sure. It may be a gigantic waste of time. All sorts of fascinating people use Twitter. What I can't tell yet is if it's just a tool for bored celebrities or if it can serve a real purpose. You might find it an interesting way to share quick you walk through an exhibit – a sort of 'pre-review', if you will.


From Barbara:

I'm a painter in Ithaca NY and a fan of your podcast; I wouldn't get too sucked in by the latest technology, specifically Twitter. Often it's a reflection of what technology CAN do, rather than SHOULD.


T.S. wrote:

Dear Edward: I encourage you to resist this temporary fad of so-called 'social networking.' There is really nothing social about it – all of these communications erode our personal privacy and encourage 24-hour surveillance. Hello Big Brother!


From Steve:

I was at the Fisher Gallery at USC check out the Warhol photographs. The way he was constantly taking photos and keeping a journal, documenting the details of his every activity, was the 1980's equivalent, I think, of Twitter today. I just don't share Warhol's need to document, let alone share with others, all the details of my life. But then, lots of people were interested in him, while the same cannot be said about me.


And finally, this from Brenda:

I love your Art Talk newsletters. They are thoughtful and intelligent. I also love technology but I feel strongly that technology should work for ME, not the other way around. I don't need to know what you had for breakfast, nor do I need to hear your art comments RIGHT NOW. But since we are all a product of our time and place, it is hard for us over 30 to understand 20-somethings who just can't live without texting and tweeting. So, I don't want your tweets, texts, or otherwise. Please just send me the ancient email and I'll have my assistant carve it into a stone tablet that I can firelight, in my mud hut.

at090505b.jpgEncouraged by your responses, I tore myself away from the computer and set off in search of art and happiness, in real time and real space, from Culver City to Santa Ana. At Susanne Vielmetter, Los Angeles artist Jedediah Caesar managed to shock, amuse, and subsequently seduce me with his sleight of hand.

at090505c.jpgThe LA Times described him as “a fascinating cross between sausage-maker and archaeologist,” and indeed, staring at his work, you realize that his process is akin to cooking. He literally collects all sorts of junk, stuffs it into a box and then pours resin over it. Once the resin hardens, he proceeds to cut this gigantic 'fruitcake' into thin slices to be served not on a platter, but on the wall, thus magically transforming the mundane into poetry.

at090505d.jpgOn Saturday night, happy crowds strolled through the cluster of galleries in the historical center of Santa Ana. I drove there to see the exhibition at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. All four participating artists – Nancy Harlan, Pamela Grau Twena, Miriam Wosk and Yaya Chou – work with odd materials ranging from orphan socks to starfish, coral, and cactus spines. Pamela Grau Twena's socks crawl across the floor and up the walls; these barnacle-like organisms resemble intimate body parts, from intestines and lips to tongues and vaginas. Very unsettling, very intriguing.

at090505e.jpgThe idiosyncratic tapestries and collages of Miriam Wosk channel the exquisite but restless energy of her imagination, where songs of angels collide with growls of demons. There is a lesson for us here on how to reconcile such opposing forces.

Jedediah Caesar
On view at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects through May 23

Pretty: Disturbing
On view at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art through May 30

Banner image: Jedediah Caesar at Susanne Vielmetter, installation view, 2009