In New York everything is happening. I am staying at the W Hotel, Lexington Avenue, where the Lobby is buzzing with business men and women squeezing into tight dresses and slightly tipsy. It has the reputation of the being 'the place to be'. God I sound like a snob, but let's be honest. First of all I was given a room with a wall up against the window so you could not see out, then the very kind porter said "Ask for another room" and I got views of the Lexington Avenue. So when booking beg for a view. W Hotels have the correct ideas though, and have joined partners with Liberatum to give it a more intellectual bang up to date feel. They are right. Everything that Pablo touches gives a place a little more edge.
I am here to listen to a discussion about Social Media. I love it. I spend hours on it, there is something about sharing your life and seeing the lives of others that appeals to me. I am naturally inquisitive. You can now of course download your film to it, have a fan base, be your own PR and have celebrity without so much as leaving your bedroom. Best of all Francesca Carrozzini said you could "Lie and create a complete illusion about who you really are"
I am actually blatantly honest with it. I have made friends on Facebook that have become very real. I met Pablo through Myspace and an article in Tatler. I have met so many people and social media has enriched my life.I have friends who love the opera, people, The Kadashians, fashion and so on. It is in my opinion here to stay. Of course paper is great but forests are destroyed, and as a supporter of the Woodland Trust, trees are more important than the lust for a 'paper feel'. It is though over used as I said last week in my article, and we are not living in the present. We are always multi tasking which cannot "give us a cuddle"
I actually argue with my journalistic friends that papers and magazines will not exist in 20 years time. N'or will books in fifty, the kindle is here to stay. I am a fully fledged enthusiast and I have never read more or been better informed. I am also about to put my books on line.
Last night, In a conference room, the excitement believe it or not was felt in a room packed with social media enthusiasts set up by the intuitive Pablo Ganguli from Liberatum Culture. The room was packed with the youth of today.
THE PANEL chaired by Glenn O'Brien from Interview Magazine.
Scout Willis, (daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore) whose striking face was more noticeable than her nipples, Glenn O'Brien from Interview magazine, The "style" man of New York for GQ, Larry Clark, a forceful artist, who rocks the world with his infamous work of nude men making love, Valentine Uhovski a Fashion Evangelist from Tumblr. (I suppose the new word for Fashion Editor), Francesco Carrazzini was light hearted and charming, is the son of Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani, he is a photographer for L'uomo Vogue and Shala Monroque who has fans everywhere it seems, between Miuccia Prada and Larry Gagosian, and "The chair" Mr O'Brian said that she was very nice. Famous for her blog, it seems bloggers are becoming equally popular to magazines as I once predicted they would. So here in front of us, this powerful gang spoke.
I do not care about nipples or no nipples, my mother burnt her bra in the 1970's and I kept it firmly one. But in a way Scout had a valid point, she was removed from Instagram, and the office of Instagram, apparently did not like was nudity. Actually the debate should have grown. The point was not that she was the child of famous parents but that she was an artist in her own right. I think that is what she is fighting for?
On another note, we saved in social media, a woman from being stoned in Iran, unfortunately she was later hung. There is much awareness to the depraved behaviour towards women on social media. I signed a petition this week for girls who had been raped in India who had later been hung. Two weeks ago was another petition to bring back the school girls who were kidnapped. Much good is done, and I suspect that Scout was aiming for freedom for women to do as she wished in the name of art. She can, do as she pleases, but on her own blog. That can be censored too, but it is her blog. However my view is this, I do not see any men in the nude on Instagram, so you can choose where you wish to look?
Larry Clark, outrageous artist, and with a very controversial show on at the moment, at Luhring Augustine, said he did not give a damn about social media. Although, he had downloaded his film on it, cut out the middle man and sold it. (I want to do the same with my film "The gun the cake and the butterfly" and if it is not sold properly with cash in hand by September I shall).
He felt that you could be your own PR, your own sales man and it was incredible. At least he got money and 8,000 viewers (which are not millions but still a lot of people in a room. But that social media was not for his generation and that he did not give a damn about it, he clearly though had used it?. After seeing his exhibition today in New York. Nothing, not even nipples could shock Larry. His work is so alluring you can't stop looking at it, you want to know the stories behind the photographs.
So I am surprised that he is not struck off?. Perhaps he is careful where he teases the public with his collections?.
The idea that was not addressed was that you can buy people (followers) on the internet which I think is a big cheat. For ten pounds you can buy 20,000 viewers. So many people I know have done this. They lie like crazy but I like honesty and I like to know the people who are fans. I think this ruins the whole idea of who actually knows about you, and who does not? After all I am not impressed that 20,000 robots could have access to my inner soul?
Francesco Carrozzini felt that he wanted to return to art, but that as a commercial photographer the social media platform gave him an opportunity to show his work and advertise it. He has just made a film with his mother Franca. With poignant moments it apparently moves you. That he said it was his greatest achievement. It is his story of his relationship with her. I can't wait to see it. I love documentaries, I love the rawness of feeling. There is nothing on this planet stronger than the bond between mother and son. His mother definitely, as an up to date woman, uses social media all the time.
The film should be fireworks in the fashion world. Congratulations on his efforts.
Valentine Uhovski from Tumblr was given only a little chance to speak but he said the network was incredible because it had the greatest freedom of the lot and that it offered to help people with real problems. I used it last night and I could see why. It has ease. I liked it and definitely Scout is a huge fan.
Art for me is not about money, if I think about it. I may only have one fan in the room, but it is worth doing because of that. I have never made money at it.
The whole point is that you don't have to use social media, you can stay in the dark ages, but in doing so you miss out a whole lot of things. There are haters of course, but there are enthusiasts too, and the only horrible comments I have ever had were from The Daily Mail. So I shall continue to use it as if it were my newspaper. It is democratic, it is informative and it is here to stay. The only thing I wish for, is that when I am with somebody, a human being, I would like to have a conversation without the use of a telephone? Live in the present, not the future or some third world in the air?
Well done Liberatum for celebrating this wonderful medium.
On another note a mention should be given to the art in the foyer of the W Hotel curated by Tomas Auksas. All from social media, it showed what could be done with snap shot photography. Twenty years ago Franca Sozzani made me take photographs for a book, British Artists at work. In the same snapshot way these told a story. She said it would not age, she was right. The book still looks good.
The exhibition is up for a month for all to see.