Art in the Age of Data Analytics
Art by Reza Afshar
I’ve been thinking about art and data lately. How does a modern-day creative stay afloat in the digital age? Does the real truly rise to the top?
This current train of thought was spurred by two things: pumping out articles for my day job about data enrichment, data analytics, data decay, and secondly, people posting these weird videos on social media doing ordinary things such as cleaning with moving music in the background.
This hyper-focus on relentless content creation in the social media landscape is something I’ve personally battled with over the last couple of years as a creative. People tell me to put myself out there more often, which isn’t bad advice. “You should start a TikTok” is thrown my way at least a month. I have a strong urge to put out more content but on my own terms. I don’t want to become a slave to the algorithm just to be seen by ten more people or shilling out meaningless content I don’t care about. It doesn’t sit right with me. Plus, I want to enjoy life, be present in the moment, and make art. Hang out with friends and make art. Rinse and repeat.
For a brief time, I worked as a music manager, and hired a social media agency for one of my former artists. They came up with a three-month plan and went all out. They created captions, hash-tags, an entire aesthetic, and an overall theme for my artist. All we had to do was provide an endless stream of photos, reels, videos, etc. that fit the established persona and overall theme. It was cool at first, but after a couple weeks passed, it felt like we were feeding an insatiable beast at times.
The agency’s team would post 4-5 times a week when in actuality they wanted to post 7 days a week. My artist simply wasn’t built for this output, let alone the grind of the music business. She abandoned ship on the whole thing.
I remember the agency’s CEO talking about the need for reels, the need to trigger the algorithm…I was soaking up game, but that doesn’t mean I want to play it. I did a ton of research these last couple of weeks on companies struggling to manage “big data” stored in data warehouses, searching for companies to analyze it, enrich it to maintain high-quality data, and more. They turn to applications, automated data pipelines, and machine learning models that pump out actionable insights. Are these actionable insights leading them in the right direction? Is this truly the right direction to move in?
Sometimes data accuracy can be off by a wide margin, and data decay is a real thing with people changing phone numbers, e-mails, addresses, etc. These systems can’t be flawless especially when big data became a hot topic in the last decade alone. Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram recently released a personable video on Twitter explaining changes coming to Twitter; how they were planning to become primarily video-based a la TikTok, and the response was horrific. People attacked him like a pack of wolves and rightly so until he dropped a new video saying they heard the the people, and they would regroup and maintain photos.
I joined Instagram to post photos, share photos, and a video on occasion. See what my friends were up to and discover cool pieces of art and photography. I understand change is constant, change is inevitable, but within reason. If I go to Starbucks, I expect coffee. I don’t expect to go there tomorrow and order french fries.
The sheer thought of pumping out endless videos for social media makes my head hurt. It’s so much work and to what end? I don’t mind putting in work when it comes to self-promo, but you have to ask yourself, at what cost? Is it worth it?
I mean that’s part of the reason I made this newsletter. To stay connected with readers/fans on my own real estate, on my own terms, and do whatever the hell I want. I don’t have the answers, but I have emerged from the ashes of countless social media platforms, reborn and blazing like a phoenix.
Grant Wamack @grantmiragePreorders are now live for my crime fiction debut BLACK GYPSIES via @brokenriverbks. Run that shit up at the link below. https://t.co/l56aMvUNTp
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I took myself on a solo movie date earlier this week on some self care shit. I haven’t been to the movies in ages and I felt like Nope could be worth the expedition. And surprise surprise, it was worth it. It’s a fun, beautifully shot Jordan Peele film with ufos. It’s hard to compare to his other movies, but if I had to rank it…
In other news, I was featured on the newest episode of the Agitator Podcast with the Broken River Books Boys J. David Osborne and Kelby Losack. We cover chapters 22-26 of the Millennium Falcon Arc in Berserk, talk Black Gypsies, Black Illuminati, salvation through destruction, and more. Great episode…listen here.
Speaking of Kelby…he’s currently cooking up the audiobook for my horror novella God’s Leftovers so I’m hyped for that. That’ll end up being the cover below.
On the writing front, Project Hum is the main focus since that has to be turned in next month. We’re moving along though. Notes on other projects are progressing, scenes are being sketched out, and I feel good about what I’m working on in general.
Currently Watching: Moon Knight & Ozark Season 1
I’m trying to knockout a blurb for someone’s novel so progress on normal reading is slow as usual…
Currently Smoking: Kiva Raspberry Wedding Cake
Drake’s former ghostwriter Quentin Miller is having a creative resurgence as of late, releasing a slew of records on Youtube. “We all want something” is a cool video with a DIY aesthetic, where Miller chooses to vent his frustrations with a woman over this moody record. Walk in your purpose Miller.
Chicago’s Valee seems to be back from the dead with “Macy Gray.” He pulls out a lowkey flow, showcasing his crazy wordplay and an oddly hypnotic hook.
“Let’s move forward with passion, and love.” This is a fun, poppy record that has won me over. Shoutout to Doja and Malone.
T-Pain comes through with an undercover stripclub anthem. It’s nice seeing T-Pain still doing his thing after all these years and the shootout with the IRS is a nice touch as well.
Until next time….