Thursday, December 10, 2009

This isn't art

Earlier today, I was trying to define the purpose of art a bit. It's a good way to waste some time and excess mental energy, because art has as many purposes as it has creators and viewers. Narrowing down the purpose of art is therefore pointless but intriguing. One of the things I acknowledged today is that sometimes art exists to shock and disturb.

Then I got back from the grocery store, took my break between chores online and found this, about a new social networking site created in part as an art project whose purpose is to protest social networking sites by terminating their users Facebook identity through an online ritual suicide. The site then posts a RIP page where your friends can make comments, and your status with the new site increases with the number of Facebook friends who join the new site.

I've got some issues with online social networking, and I'm working them out by spending too much time on Facebook. I've thought more than once about terminating my account there. I can understand some sort of organized protest against Facebook, MySpace and their ilk. The privacy issues are immense. The targeted advertising reminds me too much of that weirder than usual Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report. My too often consulted PC tech tells me that viruses from Facebook and MySpace keep him in business.

Disturbed from the start with this new website, here's where they lost me completely: "Seppukoo playfully attempts to subvert this mechanism by disconnecting people from each other and transforming the individual suicide experience into an exciting 'social' experience. To add insult to injury, "The RIP memorial page it offers Facebook dissidents could easily be mistaken for a real memorial for a real deceased person. But McCusker (the group's art director) rejected suggestions that that it was in bad taste and said that no one was likely to be upset." He went on to write, "Just take it easy."

I am offended, and I will not take it easy. There is nothing fun, exciting or social about suicide. It is an act of despair brought on by the tragically underestimated pain of depression, and I do not believe it is a willful choice. It leaves a wake of more pain, unanswered questions, and I'm not overstating, devastation among us who are left here among the living.

Suicide is NOT the metaphor on which to build a business, social network or pointless protest. This isn't art. It's not funny or hip. It doesn't have a damn thing to do with the integrity of one's online identity. It's just hurtful and tasteless, and I hope they lose a whole lot of money watching their endeavor fail.


Blogger Gannet Girl said...

I wonder if it would be possible to sue someone for being an A------.

December 10, 2009 7:05 PM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I wish it were.

December 10, 2009 7:29 PM  
Blogger Nelle said...

Tasteless is right

December 11, 2009 7:45 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Last night we went to a Christmas concert, and the narrator read a piece in which the writer described snow as "falling like winter suicides." It just shocked the hell out of me, and I thought, "What an ugly simile!"

I don't think I'll ever be ambivalent about suicide again...

December 13, 2009 9:14 AM  
Blogger JACKIE said...

Rude, crude, vulger and those are the "company" adjectives. Imagine the others. Am I offended by the idea? Yes. Am I surprised? Not really. Take care.

December 28, 2009 9:48 PM  

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