Paige Saez-Falcon VS MFA Thesis 2009
Practical Everyday Magic: A Statement about Folk Art in the Digital Age
My thesis Everyday Practical Magic brings together my research in social media, experience design, and anthropology, with my experience as a maker of material objects and hence, a facilitator of intimate exchanges between people, objects and the media. Through the work of Donna Haraway and Clay Shirky I outline the conditions of our political identity as cyborgs. I highlight the tremendous impact networked cultures (mobile and internet) have had on our understanding of social ritual. I describe three projects completed over the last four years that laid the groundwork for this paper and my thesis exhibit. Using Wittgenstein’s writings on meaning and use in his Philosophical Investigations, I point to the political power of language in shaping cultural understanding of different kinds of economies. I illustrate the work of two other like‐ minded collectives; Superflex and The Center for Tactical Magic, and clarify what happens when art‐making, cultural activism, and communication technologies collide. Through Henry Jenkins’ work on Participatory Culture, I elucidate the hybridity of social media and art and describe the difference between interaction and participation.
I rely on Jerry Saltz’ review of The Generational: Younger than Jesus to explain my and other millennial artists work as evidencing a trend towards anthropology, sociology and ethnography. Then I summarize the simplistic process, yet complicated context of the work I created for the Practical Everyday Objects exhibit. Finally, I point out that art itself is a social media that emerged through use, and I discuss the power of creative agency to shape the world around us.