Nothing I Didn’t Want to See
January 17, 2020 2:19 PM   Subscribe

“By the end of 2019, I half expected to see my own likeness in an ad served just to me — me in minimalist clothing, reading n+1 beside a bar cart. . . . Home-delivery services, loungewear brands, and weighted-blanket manufacturers were all well poised to capitalize.” Dayna Tortorici on the Rear Window world of Instagram.
posted by sallybrown (8 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I liked this a lot, but this wasn't my experience:

Yago named the exhibitions that best exemplified the “shift in art towards the exhibition as content farm”: Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Rooms...

I love taking photos in museums, because it helps me remember what I saw, but Kusama's Infinity Rooms were very difficult to take photos in -- and some of the rooms banned photography. I'm sure photos from it were all over Instagram but the exhibit itself didn't feel like it was designed with Instagram in mind, unlike, say, the Color Factory.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:41 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]

I just checked Instagram to see what ads I’m being served and the first was for Mike Bloomberg. I’ll stick to twitter.
posted by Biblio at 7:25 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

I think about Instagram a lot from an urban planning perspective and Tortorici didn't disappoint!
New storefronts and restaurants were likewise optimized for the image. Considerations like comfort, accessibility, and acoustics were secondary to visual appeal. It was as if the landscape itself had dysmorphia, altering its physical appearance to fit an arbitrary standard that undermined its primary function. But maybe I had it backward. Maybe the point of a physical space was no longer to shelter physical people. Maybe a storefront was a marketing tool for a direct-to-consumer internet start-up, the way a website was once a marketing tool for a brick-and-mortar store. Glossier. Everlane. Warby Parker. The Sill. Walking into such places felt like walking into an app. They always looked smaller in person, like actors who are shorter in real life.
posted by spamandkimchi at 7:49 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]

I like Instagram for its ability to introduce you to more things in the realms of your interests than you ever could have imagined, let alone had the time to physically experience. Of course there are dark sides to it, but a time limit + privacy controls sounds like the right solution. Also, I go Marie Kondo on my account from time to time, and unfollow anyone who isn’t sparking joy in me.

For an example of the delightful things you can experience on Instagram, for live music fans: If you follow some artists you like, that will inevitably lead you to more and more similar artists who you weren’t aware of before. They will post video snippets from shows, that you never would have experienced otherwise. It’s really great. Would it be better in person? Absolutely. But it’s not your phone that’s keeping you from being there in person, it’s the limitations of time, money, and the speed of travel. At least you know about them now and could choose to see them if you really wanted.

I wonder what other compelling worlds exist on Instagram that I haven’t stumbled across yet...
posted by mantecol at 10:23 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]

See Mr. and Mrs. Everywhere In John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar (1968)-- advertisers insert the recipients into advertisements.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 5:17 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]

Long but full of beautifully realized moments. Thanks for posting.
posted by escabeche at 7:55 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]

Although I use Instagram, this made me feel better about still posting to Flickr.
posted by doctornemo at 2:43 PM on January 18

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