ART & SOCIAL MEDIA panel discussion at Social Media Week

Social Media Week 2011. Photo: Jekaterina Avant-Hard

The Social Media Week started yesterday and ARTCONNECT BERLIN was happy to host the panel discussion about ART & SOCIAL MEDIA: a long distance relationship? The speakers were: Mirko Nowak – Head of Communications – C/O BERLIN; Julia Schmitz – Head of Online Department – KUNST Magazin, Gregor Hose – Gallery Manager – Johann König Galerie, Julia Mari Bernaus – Founding Director – ARTCONNECT BERLIN, Eva Kaczor – Social Media Consultant – Private Curators, Rachel de Joode – Artist using social media. It was moderated by Matthias Planitzer – Castor & Pollux.

The media guests have expressed their own observations, sharing their thoughts about market affairs and why do they find social media threatening. In the panel we could see already the beginning of a struggle between new ways of consuming art (social media) and the old established institutions. Some parts of the art world (press, private museums) already started to use, create and connect with a new generation of artists and “art consumers”, like C|O Berlin and KUNST Magazin – they realised that the traditional press/advertising methods are not enough to be recognised. Artists already actively use social media to promote their work, connect with other artists around the world and sometimes even to sell their work. It becomes clear that the way galleries function today is not going to work anymore: a new way of relationship with consumers and artists is emerging. Gallerists will need to rediscover their role when everyone can be their own curator.

Social Media Week 2011. Photo: Jekaterina Avant-Hard

Galleries seem to be fighting for keeping the elitist system, but as we discovered yesterday they are conscious that things are changing. We think that they might be forgetting that the Facebook user of today could be the collector of tomorrow. Facebook has changed our lives in the past 5 years, has changed the way we relate, the concept of privacy, the speed of information and the marketing strategy. All these things are interesting for artists and they like to be responsive. The same way that it has changed our lives, it is changing the way artists relate to each other, how they could possibly use it as an art piece – as a Canadian artist in the audience said-, or how artists can find people who they could work with, no matter where they are. The possibilities that artists have with social media are infinite; we just have to discover them.

Many questions were left open as we ran out of time, but there is one thing for sure – we cannot deny the importance of social media as it has become an integral part of our lives and we must be fully aware of its presence and the functionality.

Social Media Week 2011 – Solveig Maria Ebbinghaus and Rica Amaral from Artconnect Berlin in the first row. Photo: Jekaterina Avant-Hard

We would like to thank everyone who came; such a good turn up proves once more that this question is important and not yet fully discussed. For this reason ARTCONNECT BERLIN plans to make another open panel, where artists would be able to express themselves more and give us different examples from their lives.

We were very proud to have among us such fantastic people from the Berliner art scene and we want to thank the Social Media Week for giving us the chance to bring up such an interesting and important subject.

The panel was organised by Solveig Maria Ebbinghaus, Matthias Planitzer, Julia Mari Bernaus and Rica Amaral.

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