Emancipation of Art on the Internet

© Greg Ory 2018, Announcement: The League of Free Arts, by Gregorius Vatis Advena, presenting a network of independent websites for artists.

Art is the most fragile element of societies. It is our duty to protect and promote it. As artists, critics and lovers of all arts, we must ensure that creativity may find an adequate space online. We believe the best way to achieve this is an independent web presence for every artist. Art is not free when artists do not have the tools to shape their own space. Their attachment to social platforms is preventing their work from being properly promoted. We therefore encourage artists to support each other in building their own websites as part of a healthier network.

The reasons that artists should quit or reduce their use of social media and platforms are the following:

Social media are synchronising platforms: They provide users with the same default account. In an independent network of artists, people build their website as they wish. The face of the website becomes part of their creativity.

Social media are walled gardens: You can only connect with those who have an account; you are not encouraged to look outside. In a network of independent artists, people connect with each other without an intermediary platform getting in the way.

Social media are run in centralised private servers: The contents you share do not belong to you and can be erased without your consent, or remain on the server after you have deleted them.

Social media are funded by adverts: You become a product to be offered and sold to advertisers. The platform is just an alibi for the enrichment of its owners. You cannot opt out from being exposed to adverts.

Social media trivialise communication: Everybody is encouraged to act and react too quickly. Slow, moderate and critical thinking cannot break through the spell of artificiality.

Social media cannot control hate speech: Elaborated and refined content is exposed to abusive and bullying language. Victims of hate speech are traumatised.

Social media are a threat to democracy: During any major election, armies of bots sabotage the platforms to manipulate millions of voters and undermine trust in democracy.

Under these circumstances, social media are below the standards of artists who:

It cannot be but degrading for a conscientious artist, thinker or committed citizen to expose themselves to this kind of centralisation. Adhering to and mixing with platforms that are not conducive to refined creativity and critical thinking can only devalue their work. It is vulgar. The production of both high art and subversive art is averted by cheap entertainment (cat gifs), addictive networking (social comparison) und unhealthy behaviour (hate speech) as the new opium of the people.

By social media or network, we understand any blogging platform that artists may use in the belief it will promote their name and their work, including the platforms of this non-exhaustive list:

The responsible attitude is to quit – or at least reduce the use. Writers, painters, musicians, free thinkers must flourish in a network of independent websites, building a cultural alliance for mutual support. The League of Free Arts provides and encourages the following solutions:

Artists must be empowered with HTML and CSS literacy: As an artist, you should learn the key languages for building websites. As a programmer, you can volunteer or offer low-cost advice to beginners. As a growing art network, we are contributing to a more inclusive, decentralised and healthier Internet.

Artists have access to a network of social-media-free artists: Only a strong network can ensure a visible space for independent and uncompromised art online. In the League, you have access to everyone. Walled-garden accounts are replaced by a participative decentralised mailing list.

Artists meet regularly to exchange experiences: A web presence is a means but not the purpose of art. The League organises regular meetings for members to interact. You need personal contact, face-to-face support and critical debate to mature as an artist.

Artists interact with a wider audience: The League also organises events for single artists. One thing is to know some people appreciate your work. Another thing is to meet them personally and hear what they have to say. Interaction with a critical public is a positive input to creativity.

Artists promote each other as they wish: You can advertise the websites of like-minded artists on your own website and write about them. You can even share a unique website with two or three other artists. No matter how amazing you are, do not let your website be just about yourself.

The League of Free Arts supports any artist willing to build a responsible online presence and meet a network of conscientious creators. To join our mailing list please contact Gregory Name (rhymes with palm):

Rules of Enhanced Debate

Any debate on-line should be taken and handled as seriously as “in real life”. This is why an enhanced on-line debate takes place in a setting based on three practices: no fee, no ad, no registration. To ensure good standards, this website adopts the following rules:

§ 1: Write a contribution between 1000 and 7000 words.

§ 2: Be always courteous and abstain from abusive language.

§ 3: Wait three days before responding to the last intervention.

The aim is to foster elaborated critical reasoning by encouraging slower, moderate and methodical thinking. While receivers have the legal right to react to any on-line content in a quick, spontaneous and extreme manner, no sender has a moral obligation to publish such reactions on her website.

Although debate on this website is open to contributions from any receiver, the debate itself deserves to be respected. This website regards it as its duty to protect its debates from any kind of debasement.

Participation in this debate requires proportional commitment. The commitment is proportional if all debaters commit a similar amount of time, energy, length and respect of others in their contributions. It is not proportional when e.g. a debater spends one month to compose a lengthy and courteous contribution, and another spends two minutes to answer with a quick tirade.

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© Greg Ory 2019, Nulla Dies Sine Linea. Website by Gregorius Vatis Advena.