Hi and welcome ! We are Alice, Maeve and Eléna.
This website is the result of a project that we led for our "digital culture" class, in SciencesPo.
We had to analyze a controversy that has emerged in the recent digital era.
We chose to focus on artistic creation on digital media, and more specifically to explore the question :
Instagram : Beyond the square boxes, an artistic tool ?
In our ever more connected world, many artists have used social networks such as Instagram as a tool to broadcast their art. Internet has enabled them to push back some boundaries, whether physical ones - data can now be spread in most parts of the world, social ones - art has become more accessible, or economic - posting an artistic creation on Internet is free. Social media have thus enabled artists to create more while being supported across the globe. It has also provided them with new artistic and digital tools, encouraging them to create other types of artistic contents and formats. In that sense, it can be said that social media have fueled and encouraged artistic creation, while artists have progressively become accustomed to customizing the web. However, this very positive outlook on social media and artistic creation can be nuanced. It entails some limits. Questions of monetisation, data appropriation and privacy laws are some of them. Technical issues may also arouse : even though the social media platforms are easy to use, being able to customize them to achieve a personalized use of a given social media account can be very complex. One might for example argue that Instagram kills creativity as all accounts always feature similar types of content, all restricted into some very specific settings, starting from those basic square boxes. This project therefore explores the extent to which Instagram has enabled artists to customize the web to offer original and artistic creations.
Instagram does foster artistic creation and creativity because it gives artists a platform to expose their work, find or broaden their community, and feel supported. However, the extent to which artists can be creative with the platform itself is quite limited. Instagram offers its users the possiblity to customize the web by using filters, play with the organisation of their pictures on the feeds, use stories or the "comment section"... However, these technical options remain limited. One could nonetheless argue that this limitation fosters creativity and leads artists to push boundaries back. But once more, this would be a choice that Instagram offers to its users, and therefore something that the firm itself controls. In addition to the technical issues that may arouse, the legal framework should be taken into account : although the "Community Rules" on Instagram may not always be fitting the French legal framework, there is little that the French justice can do to counter the violation of intellectual property and abusive censorship that occurs on Instagram. Instagram constraints, once more, artistic creation and customization. That is why nearly all of the webpages of this website link back to Instagram's profile : Instagram remains the master mind at work, and customization is only possible to the extent to which it allows it.