Internet Community for Community Art Practices
For just over a decade, the way that Americans connect with each other have been dominated by the ever-growing, constantly evolving influence of the internet and social media. Scholars have theorized a myriad of new issues and new opportunities that this landscape has created. We can instantly connect with people over long distances that we may have otherwise never met; since we have our devices with us nearly all the time, we consider ourselves and others always available; language is evolving more quickly than ever before and creating new communities that have little connection to geographical proximity.
Community art practices are inherently collaborative, grounded in a specific community with the intent to grow, heal, or otherwise benefit that community, often creating cultural objects or spaces together in the real world. Given the dependency on embodied participation and on interpersonal communities, how are community art practices being shaped by the internet? Has the internet weakened our concept of geographical community? If so, is this a bad thing? How have online community art projects built and sustained communities?
I will be doing a survey of the online presence of Chicago community art projects, practices, and organizations. For each practice, I’ll gather observations about their use of websites and social media as well as conduct online interviews to gain insight into the attitudes that direct their decisions about internet engagement.