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Experimenting with Vine and the Social Experience of #Art

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When Twitter's companion video app Vine launched last month, the initial draw of the social media tool was how it can "turn us into artists" (even some of the porn variety).

Just how Instagram turned us all into photographers, Vine has the potential to turn us all into stop motion animators and filmmakers through its six-second video-making tools. No surprise, it was nicknamed "Instagram for video" upon its launch.

While that much is true, I was less interested in making art and more interested in sharing art that I've seen. Vine is, in some ways, no less different than making a video and uploading it to YouTube, or sharing photos of art and installations to a Pinterest board. But the key is how incredibly easy and simplistic it is to use. After taking just a few seconds of video, you can immediately share it to your Twitter, Facebook and Vine friends. It sure beats uploading and editing a video from your camera or phone any day, even if you're limited to only six seconds of footage at a time.

While gallery hopping this weekend, I was inspired to experiment with Vine, and Lawndale Art Center provided some inspired pieces.

In the third-floor project space, "Rivers of Our Vision" consists of new pieces by Xochi Solis. The low-relief wall installations are comprised of gouache, house paint, acrylic, acetate, colored paper, vinyl and found images from books and magazines. Mostly for my purposes, they were flat, colorful, small enough to fit within my phone's screen and -- best of all -- there were only five pieces. That meant that I could spend about a second or so on each one for enough time to process the image, and still manage to include them all within the six-second span. I could ostensibly fit the experience of the show into one Vine post.

Soli's pieces looked great in the space, and I love how the looping of the five makes it easy to compare each one and see the differences in shape, surface and color. The only thing missing was sound, which another installation was able to provide.

In the main gallery space, included in the group exhibition "Present Tense," is this eight-screen TV installation by Britt Ragsdale. Called Scream Queens, it features black-and-white film of actresses lip-synching the screams of the female protagonists (aka "scream queens") in films like Pyscho and Halloween.

The great thing about this piece is that, like Vine posts, it is already on loop -- it runs for a minute or two, gradually building to a crescendo of screams and horror sound effects, before starting all over again -- and there's relevant noise. The thing that really sets Vine apart from other social media is that you can make gifs with sound. Too often, though, that feature is an afterthought and you wind up with white noise that doesn't service the clip at all. But here, the screams were integral to the experience of the piece and I was able to capture them, even to the potential annoyance of my fellow "Viners" scrolling through their feed.

After these two experiences, I'm already pleased with the potential to share my interactions with art that goes beyond a carefully filtered Instagram photo or Pinterest pin (as long as, of course, the museum or gallery is OK with noncommercial film and photography!). I can also see Vine being useful for capturing performance art and other ephemeral experiences. And the best part is -- besides it being so easy to do -- is that you don't have to do much on your end to make it arty. The art can speak for itself.

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