Art, Jeff Bezos, and social media

January 23, 2008

william powhida- everyone i've ever met from memory (that i can remember) detail
Yes, I will string these thoughts together.

There are few things more exciting for me than finding an artist whose work I have trouble putting out of my mind.  A friend told me about this Brooklyn-based artist, William Powhida, after seeing his work at the Platform Gallery in Seattle.  In particular, he had one drawing “Everyone I’ve Ever Met from Memory (that I can remember).  A detail of the drawing is above.  He’s also done series these visual lists of Enemies and Allies (The New York Enemies List, The New York Allies List, The Seattle Enemies List).  There’s plenty to like here.  I love the irony and the sense of humor.  While there’s definitely a big wink, there’s a commitment to living a life wide open, to getting on a soap box and telling the world what you think.  And then there’s just a certain documentarian view of life that is hard not to admire.

Which is what made me think of Jeff Bezos.  bezos_j2_210x313Years ago, when I was doing quite a bit of work with Amazon.com, I remember someone telling me the story that Jeff Bezos carries a camera with him at all times and takes at least one picture a day.  As I understood it, he started the practice as a way of documenting his life and the wild ride he was on with Amazon.
As it turns out, it sounds like Bezos hasn’t gotten much farther with his idea than shoeboxes in his closet, but the data’s there.  Maybe when Bezos is old and retired and decides that rockets aren’t all that cool, he’ll pull out those shoeboxes and start scrap-booking.

Which brings me to blogging and much about social media.  It’s the modern-day intersection of the scap-book, the journal and the soapbox.  Powhida turned his real-life social networks (and his opinions of them), into art.  Bezos has it all tucked away in a decidedly private and non-technologist way.  And more than ever, millions of us are choosing not more privacy, but to live our lives  with an unprecedented degree of openness.

I find that fascinating.