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How Pop Art & Digital Culture Intertwine


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Digital culture through an Andy Warhol lens...tracing the trajectories of our contemporary times as embodied by Warhol. Part of a "Gretzky is Everywhere" exhibit at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, September 1st, 2017.

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How Pop Art & Digital Culture Intertwine

  1. 1. Gretzky is Everywhere how pop art & digital culture intertwine Bonnie Stewart & Daniel Lynds
  2. 2. we grew up in a time & place where ONE of these images was familiar
  3. 3. Andy Warhol looks a scream Hang him on my wall Andy Warhol, Silver Screen Can’t tell them apart at all - David Bowie, 1971
  4. 4.
  5. 5. so eventually i learned to explore the unfamiliar…
  6. 6. digital media platforms *are* familiar...but we need to take them apart & analyze them Twitter amplifies celebrity
  7. 7. Warhol = a powerful lens for analyzing how contemporary digital culture shapes us
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
  10. 10. ‘The more you look at the same exact thing, the more meaning goes away, and the better and emptier you feel.” — Andy Warhol, 1975
  11. 11. “I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They're so beautiful. Everything's plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.”
  12. 12. Andy Warhol was a prophet of our contemporary times
  13. 13. ...because so many trajectories of change are embodied by him identity commercialization mass participation celebrity
  14. 14. so is Warhol to blame?
  15. 15. techniques & technology “digital” derives from fingers/digits et_tree_of_life-LHFage.jpg/603px-GuaTewet_tree_of_life-LHFage.jpg mbetika_%282%29e.jpg/1024px-Cave_Paintings_Bhembetika_%282%29e.jpg
  16. 16. c 1400
  17. 17. 15th century 1871 Ambrogio de Predis James Whistler
  18. 18. pop art dada & duchamp - 1910s - onward
  19. 19. found art & mash-ups tremors and after effects of duchamp
  20. 20. sports/celebrity/branding
  21. 21. Gretzky the celebrity
  22. 22. mythology tackling Gretzky … “was like wrapping your arms around fog.” - Denis Potvin
  23. 23. Warhol was fascinated by celebrity & myth-making
  24. 24. he cultivated celebrity, & created & fostered spectacle
  25. 25. digital culture follows that arc
  26. 26. “Exposure and attention make a work famous - the more you talk about it, the more attention it gets, the more validity it achieves.” - Andy Warhol
  27. 27. Web 2.0 was supposed to be democratizing It hasn’t been. It has created platforms for microcelebrity, sensationalism, and amplified societal bias
  28. 28. instead, influence is primarily about visibility, connections, & perceived clout ● how many followers do you have? ● do your tweets get engagement? ● are your tweets circulated by bigger names? ● what conversations do you show up in?
  29. 29. shaped by algorithmic profiling & ambient data collection
  30. 30. in spite of his focus on mass production & “everyone,” Warhol built a cult of personality
  31. 31. built partly on repetition & remix of other people’s cool
  32. 32. roots of remix gold marilyn 1962
  33. 33. remix culture marilyn diptych 1962
  34. 34. Marilyn Monroe - 1967
  35. 35. filters now
  36. 36.
  37. 37. was the “15 minutes” quote serious? with Warhol we never know. ongoing playfulness wry approach
  38. 38. remix now = a central feature of communication, self-expression, & play
  39. 39. even work, sometimes
  40. 40. breaking down binaries & boundaries between “high” & “low” forms
  41. 41. Warhol’s work is, at its core, a blatant acknowledgement of the commercialism of American society.
  42. 42. sometimes even an embrace
  43. 43. Warhol started as a commercial artist
  44. 44. “After I did the thing called “art” or whatever it’s called, I went into business art. I wanted to be an Art Businessman or a Business Artist. Being good in Business is the most fascinating kind of art.” - Andy Warhol, 1975
  45. 45. digital culture, too, is all about selling yourself
  46. 46. Web 2.0, the web of platforms, personalization, clickbait, and filter bubbles...exists by extracting individuals’ data through persistent surveillance, data mining, tracking, and browser fingerprinting and then seeking new and “innovative” ways to monetize that data. - Chris Gilliard, 2017 ...or being sold.
  47. 47. collaboration & commercialization
  48. 48. the question will we use these paths Warhol paved for us?
  49. 49. omg. everything is terrible. everybody go home.
  50. 50. WAIT.
  51. 51. none of our problems come FROM Warhol, any more than they come from technology alone
  52. 52. icon & iconoclast, survivor, breaker of new ground. flamboyant & vulnerable, public yet private.
  53. 53. really, WARHOL is everywhere, these days. THANK YOU.