Thomas Venker

Be my artist

A few days ago, an author friend of mine – who can’t quite make a living solely from his brilliant books – mentioned a recent work offer that had come his way. A contact offered him the chance to relocate to a tiny German village and join a company dedicated to running the social media world of superstar DJs.

The striving author had a quick think about his situation and figured hey, the lights are still on, the water is still coming out of the taps, so no – not going there, vielen dank. But what a world this story uncovers. When we’ve followed artists on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter that nagging feeling turns out to be true: it was never them writing the stuff. Nobodies following nobodies talking about somebodies who are somewhere else again saying different things to some other bodies, who we also aren’t going to meet.

Admit it, you must have sometimes wondered ‘why is my favorite artist making such bizarro comments about that gig last night’? Or why is he posting this so-not-cool picture from the DJ booth? And does he really dig that album and artist he’s raving about right now?

Well, no, this is a Mac-jobber spouting for a minimum wage, getting his inspiration by looking into the tour and release schedule and adding a dab of whatever the world wide web is currently saying. Input from the actual artists themselves? Are you kidding? Those people are busy…

That’s why in a small German village we can picture a bunch of young millenials at lunch, exchanging the latest morsels of knowledge from their fake identities. It put me immediately in mind of „Mister Lonely“, Harmony Korine’s movie in which a bunch of look-a-likes from Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin to Madonna and Shirley Temple cohabit in a commune in the Scottish Highlands. Our theme here is the art of the professional schizo.

So in defence you could say, well maybe this is just the next level of artistic stagecraft? True, you could, if only the results were not so terribly dull. Which doubles the tragedy as the artist is of course paying for these pale imitations, when in reality they are themselves often really funny characters who could do something far more creative.

Things get more intense when we leave the A-list superstar level, where to be honest everything is marketing and ‘realness’ is just another dictionary entry, and focus instead on the B and C list artists who are trapped in the same insane scenario. The only difference being that their rented bloggers don’t even get an office to work in and produce their fictions for even lower wages, in flat-share bedrooms.

So, as you’ve come to expect from Kaput, we’re throwing down a challenge, let’s hear it for authenticity, just like the “record store day”, we want an International Real Artist Social Media Day. 24 hours – is that so much to ask? Some of them already do a really good job and can be trusted as a role model here.

Kaput - Magazin für Insolvenz & Pop | Aquinostrasse 1 | Zweites Hinterhaus, 50670 Köln | Germany
Herausgeber & Chefredaktion:
Thomas Venker & Linus Volkmann
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