Events We Love: Aesthetic Darwinism

We’re big fans of new technology, especially when it’s woven into a part of our lives where it hasn’t always existed. So naturally, we were quite smitten when we first heard about Gretchen Andrus (_g)’s art and her upcoming show, Aesthetic Darwinism.  _g’s inspiration for the Aesthetic Darwinism show came from being overwhelmed with imagery. With Instagram and iPhones, she wondered if visual art even mattered anymore.

_g’s show starts well before the attendees even enter the gallery. After a ticket is purchased, attendees are directed to her Facebook app and encouraged to pick their favorite piece when shown two _g images side by side. She then selects the works to be displayed at the show in accordance to the crowd’s taste.

What you’ll see in the Aesthetic Darwinism Facebook app.

Want to know more? Don’t worry, we caught up with _g to pick her brain! Read on:

Tell us a little about your background and what inspired you to create this show.

I can get really bored at art shows, even and especially my own.  I started looking into how other art mediums address audience, how concerts, for example, can so gracefully be both art and entertainment.  I came up with a few experiments and Aesthetic Darwinism is just the first of many looking to make visual art more worthy of attention.  In Aesthetic Darwinism, we are testing out a new level of interaction and ownership.  I like technology, that’s why I moved to Silicon Valley… but more and more I am excited about it as a tool instead of an end.

How does social media play into your artwork?  Is this an artistic decision or is it a pragmatic one?

It’s a realistic one.  A lot of art and painting has been “done before,” but still matters because each time and place needs its own artistic expression and representation.  We live in a time when social media matters and art made today needs to confront that.  It can choose to reject it or to embrace it, but ignoring it makes art like the travel agent industry.  It also provides a platform to meet new people and share ideas.  I get a lot of criticism on social media too.  People are more open on the internet than they are to your face.  There is a lot of value in having people feel comfortable to criticizing you.

In a very app/platform heavy society, how did you decide which technologies to integrate with?
For this show I considered building a native application for this show but knew I’d have to make both an iphone and and android version.  I know that being down to two versions is monumental compared to where we were five years ago but its still too many for anyone who’s primary job is something other than application building. As a former tech geek I’d like to say I pick based on the technical strength of the platform.  Android excites me. HTML5 is starting to.  But for now, it’s iPhone and Facebook, based on where the users are.

Can you explain how you’re using Eventbrite, and if there is any particular feature you’ve found to be especially helpful?

At a basic level I am using Eventbrite to sell tickets but also to manage communication and keep track of what marketing pushes have been successful.    I like knowing that I’ve sold zero tickets via Eventbrite emails and over 30 from the widget in the Facebook application.  I’m excited to have the names and email addresses of those who are attending the show, as this is going to allow me to reach out and get feedback and not have to start from scratch for the next show.

Unlike a lot of art shows this one is unapologetically event-driven.  By that I mean that Aesthetic Darwinism on Nov 8th is an art opening, but the show is coming down the next morning.  One night only, limited time.  Being at the event and meeting the other people who provided input to the artwork is essential to understanding the art.  You have to be there.

Intrigued and want to check out the event in person? Grab tickets here!