Taking social media use to the next level
Some arts organizations understand this and are changing the way they work; using social media to bring backstage onstage with social media; curating the voice of the artist and sharing the creative process behind the artwork.
At the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH), for example, Stacey Garcia, Emily Dobkin, and Nina Simon make their creative ideation process public, using Pinterest to document and share ideas for exhibits and events. Not only has it helped to solve internal communications, it enables the sharing and indexing of images and ideas between internal staff, interns, and members of their community.
In the United Kingdom, John McGrath and his team at National Theatre Wales, use their own social networking site and other services to share the rehearsal process for their productions. They share blog posts, tweets, video diaries, and Flickr images from directors, actors, and crew as curated through Storify, creating a collective production experience. The Storify for The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning (2012) provides an example.
Then there is the world of the playwright. In 2012, while in downtown Chicago I walked past a storefront window. Inside the window was playwright Trevor Dawkins typing. Facing out to the street was a large LCD screen. As he typed, his words appeared on the screen in real-time.
Trevor was participating in the Storefront Playwright Project, a project with 31 Chicago playwrights sharing the creation of their work in real-time. Walking on, I followed the projects blog and hashtag #playwrightinawindow on Twitter in order to learn more about the work of these Chicago writers.
Virtual Choir by musical composer and conductor Eric Whiteacre is also pushing the boundaries of social media to socially co-create art practice. The concept involves singers from around the world each uploading videos of themselves singing. The videos are then edited together to create one piece.
The first Virtual Choir (2009) had 185 singers from 12 countries. It then grew to 3,746 singers from 73 countries for the third choir in 2011. The project has a Facebook page followed by almost 30,000 people and in January 2013, Eric successfully received Kickstarter funding from 2,000 backers pledging more than $120,000 to fund Virtual Choir 4: Bliss.
These are a few examples of how artists and arts organizations are embracing the creative and innovate uses of social media as social spaces and social practice; more akin to the artist’s studio or cafe, than a marketing channel.