Zachary Fine worries that “even art – that precious category of aesthetics coveted for its ability to draw our eye and focus – finds itself potentially imperiled by the company’s growing orbit”:
The renowned Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art (LACMA) just joined the app as a user, and almost immediately gathered a following with its witty snaps. Now careening along after their forward-thinking competitor, the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, the Georgia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago have followed suit.
While it remains to be seen what kind of future this bodes for habits of viewing inside museums and beyond, the prospects seem grim. Unfortunately, Snapchat rewards those very practices of rapid looking and reading that have so impaired our attention spans and hermeneutic dexterity in the Internet age. It not only convinces us that we have become good at seeing quickly, but that such practices are sufficient for the thoughtful interpretation of challenging and information-dense images. If users are determined to keep Snapchat in their lives, let them routinely resort to the under-employed screenshot—assuming fingers can scramble in time.
(Image from LACMA’s Snapchat channel via Hrag Vartanian)