Creative Challenge: Your Digital Life as Art

Net Art Quote

Part One:

Social media is such a large part of our lives, it is no surprise that it has become a popular medium of artistic expression. The internet has created a new connectivity that is radically changing our culture and how we communicate as human beings. Many contemporary artists have begun examining this phenomena and the result of technology’s role in our lives with exciting and innovative works of art.

I am intrigued by the conceptual ideas that are produced when both social media and the internet are used as subject matter. It requires examining your culture from the outside, an important skill to develop as an artist, as it can add tremendous meaning to your work. This is a skill that I personally struggle with, which is why I decided to come up the Creative Challenge to create a work of art using social media as the source material.

My hope is that this challenge will create news ways of thinking about and adding meaning to future projects. It is a challenge in the thought process behind creating art, in giving importance to the idea behind the finished product. There is so much art in the world that is created purely for aesthetics, I love this kind of art, I make this kind of art, but I recognize how having a valid message in your work can push it to the next level.

This exercise is a step toward creating more meaningful works of art. The goal is not to create a conceptual masterpiece, but to stimulate new ways of thinking and generating ideas.

Victoria Siemer Human Error

The Challenge:

To use social media or the internet as either a medium or a source material to create a work of art.

Ideas on how to get started:

  • Make a list of all the websites sites you frequent; Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, etc.
  • Visit each site or choose just one. As you interact with the site, try to look at the content from an outsider’s perspective.
  • Take time to think about things like the symbols and icons being used. What different kinds of language and ways of communicating are specific to each site? How are images being used to communicate?
  • Make a list, sketch out, or even grab screen shots of your findings. These are your source materials.
  • Get out a pen and paper and do some brainstorming. Working from your source materials jot down any ideas that come to mind.
  • Avoid criticizing the ideas at this point just write everything down.
  • Group ideas together by looking for related concepts that might give you some direction. See if anything stands out.
  • Try combining unrelated ideas or images and see what happens. Expand upon interesting relationships.
  • What can be modified or substituted? Can anything within your source materials be eliminated, reversed, or magnified? What messages, text, or imagery from your chosen site could be replaced or adapted to change their meaning? In what ways might you bring the digital world into the physical? What kinds of intersections can be made between digital concepts and conventional art?

At this point a few good ideas may have surfaced that are worth investigating. It can be really helpful to take some time to reflect on the possibilities before moving forward. This helps to ensure that you have a solid concept and allows space in your head for more connections to be made.

I hope you feel motivated to give this a try. In the next post, I will include some examples of artists working in this genre to inspire even more ideas.

Happy making,


Human Error artwork via Victoria Siemer 

Feature Image of Twitter Icons via Webtreats

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