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This Is Not An Article - How Journalism Has Gone Post-Modern

"Plaster Surrogates" by Allan McCollum
"Plaster Surrogates" by Allan McCollum
Jonas Pulver

-Essay-

GENEVA - Have you ever heard of Dan Rollman? If so, you are spending way too much time on your computer – just like me.

Dan is a Canadian native who now lives in New York and works in media. On May 28, he caught the attention of Internet addicts when he went viral with a nicely packaged little nugget: a tweet of a vine of an Instagram of a Tumblr post of a Facebook post of a tweet. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” as Mary Poppins would say.

This is a tweet of a Vine of an Instagram of a Tumblr post of a Facebook post of a tweet: https://t.co/eSRouKly3a

— Dan Rollman (@snerko) May 28, 2013

Rollman says he created an “Inception-esque tweet that integrates all major social media platforms.” On Vine, users can share 6-second video clips, while Instagram and Tumblr are fixed image platforms. He created a communications tumble and roll, an origami folding on itself, a tweet (-y bird) chasing its own (feathered) tail. A Droste effect pointing at the accumulation of social networks, and showing that while these platforms allow us to share information, they also result in its circularity.

“This is a tweet,” Dan writes brazenly. His crypto-artistic confidence is somewhat reminiscent of ready-made art, and French artist Marcel Duchamp. Who knows, surrealist Magritte might even have replied, “This is not a tweet”.

Have you ever heard of Allan McCollum? If so, you must be spending a lot of time in museums – at least more than me.

I found out about this American artist on my last visit to the Pompidou Museum in Paris. One of McCollum’s creations is exhibited in the 1980s section. It consists of a multitude of little black canvases in framing mats. Typically the kind of work that people allergic to conceptual art would hate, but which turns out really interesting and significant once you have read the explanatory notice (which was very helpful in this case).

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Shapes by Allan McCollum - Photo: Lian Chang

Plaster Surrogates (1985) offers to replace paintings with castings of paintings, which are then reproduced on a large-scale basis, in order to question inspiration, artistic reference and remaking, art after art. It highlights the dialogue between plastic creation and everyday objects, institutional art and industrial products. In other words: “This is not a painting.”

Writing about a tweet of a Vine of an Instagram of a Tumblr post of a Facebook post of a tweet in a newspaper (or on the newspaper’s website), is like exhibiting a multitude of “fake” paintings with no “real” image in an art museum. At first, you’re not sure that you understand, but then, with explanations and context, the whole thing suddenly springs into focus.

In the 21st century, most journalists do not create content anymore, they are more like curators, like those guys at the Pompidou Museum who write the explanatory notices on artworks. Nowadays, the world of media is expanding in multiple directions, becoming faster and volatile as any user can share information through networks.

Consequently, the added value of journalism not only lies in the (verified) facts, but now also depends as much on how they are connected to each other, put into perspective. Being critical about the facts is now as important as reporting them – in content as in form alike. In a nutshell: journalism has become postmodern.

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Society

"Splendid" Colonialism? Time To Change How We Talk About Fashion And Culture

A lavish book to celebrate Cartagena, Colombia's most prized travel destination, will perpetuate clichéd views of a city inextricably linked with European exploitation.

Photo of women in traditional clothes at a market in Cartagena, Colombia

At a market iIn Cartagena, Colombia

Vanessa Rosales

-Analysis-

BOGOTÁ — The Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz is celebrating the historic port of Cartagena de Indias, in Colombia, in a new book, Cartagena Grace, published by Assouline. The European publisher specializes in luxury art and travel books, or those weighty, costly coffee table books filled with dreamy pictures. If you never opened the book, you could still admire it as a beautiful object in a lobby or on a center table.

Ortiz produced the book in collaboration with Lauren Santo Domingo, an American model (née Davis, in Connecticut) who married into one of Colombia's wealthiest families. Assouline is promoting it as a celebration of the city's "colonial splendor, Caribbean soul and unfaltering pride," while the Bogotá weekly Semana has welcomed an international publisher's focus on one of the country's emblematic cities and tourist spots.

And yet, use of terms like colonial "splendor" is not just inappropriate, but unacceptable.

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