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March 5, 2010 in amateur hour, arts & crafts, blogs, pop, social networks | Tags: 'culture', art criticism, blogging, cult of the amateur, kDamo, online journalism, public culture, visual artists ireland | Leave a comment
KDamo interviews Irish art bloggers for the Visual Artist’s Newsheet.
My interview is below and full article is here. Other interviewees are the blogs/ online magazines Some Blind Alleys, SuperMassiveBlackHole, Blackletter, Fieldwork, and Paper Visual Art Journal.
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What made you start your blog/online magazine?
My blog started as a curiosity, a kind of experimental, public notebook. That’s still its main function really, it’s more an artist’s blog than a blog about art. I have a portfolio website and a blog/ RSS news feed attached to that, so it’s not about promoting my professional practice and I don’t link the two together explicitly.
What reasons do you think are contributing to the apparent lack of Irish art blogs?
I imagine the proportion of art writing to sport, politics and music correlates to mainstream print media (ie. not strongly)? Though traditional print media is increasingly dying out due to freely available content online, critical art writing has been comparatively slow to move in this direction. Do you agree? What are the reasons for this?
The decline of traditional print media due to the ‘democracy’ of blogging is pretty bad news for most serious journalists, both in terms of earning a living and developing in-depth researched pieces. The quality of writing on blogs is a very mixed bag indeed, and the act of reading from a screen, scrolling through text, is a completely different engagement with a text than the sensory experience of reading a paper. It imposes a different form and structure.
Art writers usually work freelance, and it’s not terribly well paid, so I’m not sure I’d see how serious art writers would have the time or energy to maintain a blog – the majority of bloggers are hobbyists. Also, it doesn’t have the prestige of being published in print.
Art is everywhere on the internet (everywhere!) Yet the significance of blogs in the industry pales in comparison to music/sport/politics/etc. Why is this?
I guess this relates partly to the above question, in that art still relies pretty heavily on traditional cultural gatekeepers and arbiters of value. There are cultural institutions that use Facebook for publicity purposes, but that’s mainly a communication/ marketing tool, I doubt it’s effected the programming! There isn’t a visual art equivalent of MySpace where artists yearn to be 'discovered': there isn’t the same “fanbase” – a more appropriate word to use here than “audience”.
On most of the blogs that do exist, there is a noticeable lack of debate and/or discussion amongst the readers. Why has this not taken off, when you consider so many of the heated debates that occur in colleges, galleries and other social situations?
Commenting on blogs, or websites in general, does not typically bring out the best of discursive skills (see: misogynistic, racist, homophobic bile on YouTube for example). So that might be one reason people in general are circumspect about participating. Also such comments may have a wider or potentially more embarrassing public than a discussion in a gallery or a college – you do have to put your name to such comments, even if it’s only an alias. And everyone knows everyone else in Ireland…