While recently the Met was reported to be contemplating replacing its’ summer programming with filmed performances shown on the big screen, the public was more engaged in filming and tweeting about the 30 public pianos that the city of London had placed on the streets.
“They’re out there to get people talking to one another and to claim ownership and activate the public space,” said the creator of the project, Luke Jerram, an artist who lives in Bristol.
Using obvious search terms in Twitter I found no one chatting in the public commons about the possibility of the Met replacing summer opera with its big screen version. It would seem that news was a big snore, while by contrast I immediately found 140 recent tweets on London’s street pianos. Does this simply mean that in a day of social media viral news that anything you can capture on your cellphone, digitally broadcast to blogs, YouTube, and tweet about is going to have the edge?
Or does it mean something more important about our culture’s relationship to art at this moment in history?
I think the signs are there that people want to take back art from the star system, from corporate control, big record systems, film studios and corporations. From the popularity of shows like American Idol to the rise of YouTube videos to the “do-it-yourself” atmosphere of the Arts in the virtual world of Second Life, more people are spending their entertainment hours watching the little guy and more people are engaging in making art instead of being passive observers.