Creativity and Technology. Yeah, It’s Complicated.

In liberation.nyc

As a creative person, one of the biggest struggles I have is my complicated relationship with technology. I love technology because it’s truly democratic in the sense that I can create and distribute work on my own. But I also find it to be a monumental pain in the ass. There’s so much of it to wade through, evaluate, learn, and hope I’ve made the right choices. It wasn’t always this draining.

Example. Being part of Gen X, I loved making fanzines in the ’90s. The process was pretty simple. Pick a topic. I wrote satire so my ‘zines were about subcultures that lent themselves well to parody, like, say, goths! I chose a name for my ‘zine (The Tomb), I wrote my purposely bad and overwrought poetry, I designed a cover – any photo of a grave or coffin would do – then hit the Kinkos in Harvard Square to print them up. I distributed them via a mailing list and Factsheet Five. Easy!

I had a conversation with a friend recently about WordPress. He wanted to start a blog and our conversation yielded a ton of questions. Is WordPress easy to use? What’s the difference between WordPress.com and self-hosting? How do I choose the right theme? How do I install the theme? Do I need to hire someone to customize it? Should I promote my blog on all social media sites or start with a few? Why the f- should I pay Facebook to show my posts?!?

With so many hurdles to jump, it’s amazing tech novices get projects off the ground at all. He just wants to write. It’s also worth pointing out that I’m not immune to such struggles hence the year long gap in my blogging. (My personal struggle involved finding the right tone of voice, a conversational tone vs. sounding like an article.)

There’s a desktop pattern I love by Blaine Hogan that reads, “What story do you want to tell? Now… How do you want to tell it?” It resonates with me because it’s really easy to lose track of our storytelling with so many decisions to make with regards to the way we tell them.

Here on my fancy new .nyc domain – get yours here – I’ll be exploring the relationship artists have with technology. Highlighting artists like Chet Zar who used Kickstarter and Instagram to create an art exhibit, the struggle musicians are having making money in a culture of streaming, and start-ups like Gertrude who are using the web to organize art salons.

I’m also fascinated with the uphill battle tech companies like Amazon and Google have on their hands trying to mainstream and monetize art and how technology is both revolutionizing and disrupting the entertainment industry. And don’t get me started on art galleries selling animated GIFs.

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