Tag Archives: Lovink

New media in the age of personal growth

  • You’re about due for an intervention.
  • Art as aide, helpmate, council for personal growth.
  • A blog post a day. Two tweets and call me in the morning.

A Motivational Art Intermezzo “Live to be outstanding.” What is new media in the age of the rock ’n roll life coach Anthony Robbins? There is no longer the need to be spectacular. The Situationist critique of the spectacle has won. That would be my assessment of the Anthony Robbins Age in which we now live. Audiences are no longer looking for empty entertainment; they seek help. Art has to motivate—not question, but assist. Art should not primarily reflect, represent, or discover the world but talk to its audience, hit it in the face, so say today’s art marketers. Irony can be a medicine as long as it contributes to the healing process of the patient. Be careful not to offend anyone. Today’s aesthetic experiences ought to awaken the spiritual side of life. Aesthetics are not there for contemplation only. Art has to become (inter) active and take on the role of coaching. In terms of the self-mastery discourse, the 21st century artist helps to unleash the power from within. No doubt, this is going to be achieved with positive energy. Perverse optimism, as Tibor Kalman called it, is needed. Art has to create, not destroy. A visit to the museum or gallery has to fit into one’s personal development program. Art should consult us in transformation techniques and not criticize. In order to be a true experience, the artwork has to be an immediate bodily experience, comparable to the fire walk. It has to be passionate, and should shed its disdain for the viewer, along with its postmodern strategies of irony, reversal, and indifference. In short, artists have to take responsibility and stop their silly plays. The performance artist’s perfect day job is the corporate seminar, building trust and distilling the firm’s core values from its human resources.

Self-management ideology builds on the 1980s wave of political correctness—liberated from a critical negativism that only questioned existing power structures without giving guidance. As Anthony Robbins says, “Live with passion!” Emotions have to flow. People want to be fired up and move out of their comfort zone. Complex references to intellectual currents within art history are a waste of time. The art experience has to fit in and add to the personal growth agenda. Art has to leverage fears and promise guaranteed success. Part therapist, part consultant, art no longer compensates for a colorless life. Instead, it makes the most of valuable resources and is aware of the attention economy in which it operates. In order to reach such higher planes of awareness, it seems unavoidable to admit and celebrate one’s own perverse Existenz. Everyone is a pile of shit and has got dirty hands. Or as Tibor Kalman said: “No one gets to work under ethically pure conditions.” It is at that Žižekian point that art as a counseling practice comes into being. Tired Media Art.

from “Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture” by Geert Lovink

blogging as self management

Consider the blog as self-recorded and self monitored voice of a person. From Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, by Geert Lovink.

The blog emphasizes the making of a written record from the oral tradition. Directed at a potential co-conversant, others listen in. Who reads the conversation? Who’s listening in? Who has prying ears?

How do we analyze media of such an informal character? A Weblog is the voice of a person, as überblogger Dave Winer once defined it. It is a digital extension of oral traditions more than a new form of writing. Through blogging, news is being transformed from a lecture into a conversation. Blogs echo rumor and gossip, conversations in cafes and bars, on squares and in corridors. They record “the events of the day”. With today’s “recordability” of situations, we are no longer upset that computers “read” all of our moves and expressions (sound, image, text) and “write” them into strings of zeros and ones. In that sense, blogs fit into the wider trend where all our movements and activities are being monitored and stored. In the case of blogs, this is carried out not by some invisible and abstract authority but by the subjects themselves who record their everyday life. When people are still upset to find that they’ve been fired after having made critical remarks about their employers on their blogs, one realizes we are still in the early days for the spread of this insight. “Who reads my blog anyway?” Well, apparently your boss does.

Maybe we should be flattered that the boss and what the boss represents takes the time to pay attention to our personal recordings. At least the boss reads, and not just 0s and 1s , but reads words that form meaning. Or is read to.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First consider the recording side because first comes the recording.  Bloggers record their subjectivity as they course through the day. These events happened. This event of recording happened too, and the recording itself can make something more happen when the abstract Boss reads and re-records it.

When you first hear the sound of your own voice on a recording and think, Is that really me? Do I really sound like that? you aren’t listening to what the voice is saying. Do I really sound like that? Really? The modulation of the voice can be changed. Maggie Thatcher did it, shifted her voice down a couple of notches. The change purportedly made what she was saying more palatable to her listeners, and she became more rhetorically adept. Blogging is a voice coach. This is blogging as self-management. This is the wider trend.

Then there’s this: blogging is not in vain