186119 is a quasi-random number.

Existing on the Internet as an introvert and (former?) artist

August 5, 2014 Uncategorized

When my time machine finally arrives, one of the priorities on my list is to go back to college-me and convince him to try harder to make and showcase his art. At the time, I had several things in my favor: free time, inspiration, and the encouragement of my instructors. What I didn’t have was the reinforcement of peers, a boldness to reach out, and a basic understanding of the substantive importance of such an initiative.

There’s a kind of energy that builds when peers group and bounce their thoughts and motivation against each other. As an introvert you can miss out on all that. I didn’t really carry relationships out of the classroom, which could easily be the second thing I nudge the longer-haired version of myself to do. I say this in a matter-of-fact way; I’m not bemoaning this fact or even blaming it.

When college ended, the roots that life had already planted had taken hold and it was time to watch them grow. I don’t know that I ever stopped making, but I certainly stopped completing. And that is enough information to set up a leap forward in time to now. Of the things I did and did not have back in college, the only thing I have now is that sense of how important it is to put art out into the world.

I met up with my high school art teacher recently, who urged me to take up my video camera and start recording again. I don’t have any inspiration anymore, I told her; I don’t know what to film. Just do it, she replied. This is where a network of peers could come in handy. When that motivation isn’t coming from within, it necessarily has to come from without.

So let’s talk now about the Internet. It has grown and matured since my college days during the turn of the century; within it exists both wilderness and civilization. But while it’s still open for anyone to stake one’s claim for little to no money, to showcase whatever one likes, the state of the population itself makes content creation a worrisome proposition to me personally.

Compared to the early promises of the Internet, its reality today feels woefully malnourished. At every tier there has been friction with bringing those promises to fruition. There have been political interests and corporate interests, but perhaps the greatest threat to the possibilities of the Internet has been the users of the Internet.

It turns out that, given an outlet to say anything, humans will overwhelmingly say the most asinine things. They crave the asinine; they consume the asinine; they expel the asinine back onto the Internet. The Internet became an all-you-can-eat buffet, and all we want is the fried chicken, the pizza, and the ice cream fountain; comments sections feel like the toilet stalls of this virtual restaurant. It isn’t healthy.

At some point I asked this question: what sort of content is better than this sea of the asinine? I wasn’t sure I could answer it. One thing that used to be absent on the Internet was a honest discussion about games as art. Smart thinkers have appeared since college to basically say the things I wanted to say, but better, and with that kooky thing called research to back some of it up. That left me with little reason to say much, and I was still without that free time, encouragement, or personal motivation to create art like I had before.

Thus my quandary with even having a web site: why do I have a web site? What am I doing with it; what will I do with it? It mostly exists as a bullet point for a resume. I can’t justify a full-on blog; I think that just adds to the morass of the Internet. (I specifically mean a blog from me; not blogs as a whole.) But at some point, as someone resembling an artist, the site has to act as a channel for my catharsis, which is essentially why I’m even posting this. There’s a delete button, right?

I’ve not given up. Things stay on the proverbial stove, moving on and off the back burner. When the time is right for me to say something, I am hopeful that I can find the voice and will to say it, and that it enriches the world instead of detracts from it.