For me, art is the materialisation of a creative impulse based on our own perception of life. Art required a sensibility drawn in our inner self that allows the artist to create objects, material or immaterial, tangible or intangible, durable or ephemeral which represents, realistically or abstractly, his/her feelings regarding the world, society, people or him/herself.
‘If you don’t share, were you really there?’ questions the behaviour of visitors in art museums through their use of mobile phone photography. The baffling impulse that motivates visitors to capture and share museum photographs online has legitimately impacted the art institution. Traditionally, museums represent a space of contemplation, curiosity, knowledge, education and visual stimulation. However, a noticeable and impactful transformation appears since the rising development of smartphones in early 2010; the public has now integrated the use of mobile phones into their museum experiences. Social media has provoked a marathon of snapshots to dictate our everyday life.
The project draws a parallel between the physical absence of the tangible artwork and the transient life of a single image posted online. The photograph taken and shared disappears into an unprecedented flow of online images. Capturing and sharing a social media souvenir has become a priority for museum visitors, whose behaviour expresses their wish to see the most by spending the least amount of time in a specific space. This fast viewing experience generates an act of looking that prevents contemplation and is mostly encouraged by mass-consumptive, contemporary tourism that offers visits to countries, cultural institutions or sightseeing attractions the quickest way possible. This fast tourism incites individuals to capture the essential part of their trip by the quickest way possible: their mobile phones.
Museum visitors do not look at a painting with their eyes anymore; they visualise it on their screens. The smartphone has not only become an extension of the arm but has gradually replaced one of the primary human senses: eyesight. Visitors are more eager to take a photograph of a certain painting rather than experiencing the work itself. Public art institutions have then turned into a space of screens in front of artworks. However, why do people take photographs of paintings? To what extent do museum photographs increase the museum experience for the public? Where do the photographs go once taken? Do we mistrust our own ability to memorise? Or is the purpose of online partage only? Or maybe it is a sort of instant souvenir that we will keep and look at in the future in the hope to find inspiration? This performative behaviour of museum photography is supported and developed by society, social media and exhibitions. Such behaviour is instigated by artists, exhibitions and curators who integrate the mobile phone or allow the use of photography inside the museum space. From this emerges a performative action from the visitors who reproduce the act of social photography without knowing the reason.
Find out more about Aurelie Crisetig: https://acrisetig.com/