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The artist and his echo chamber

Have you ever shouted out in a valley and laughed out in incredibly playful happiness?
The marvel that is echo. (umberto, go sit down in that corner :P)
Isn't it beautiful? to hear yourself. louder. bigger. from unknown corners. delayed, almost leisurely. Whatever age you may be, the moment you do it, you turn 6 year old faster than the speed of sound. You may try to hide yourself, but don't you for that moment become that annoying little kid who gives you creases on your forehead in annoyance and ripples of laughter in your heart?

But this echo is temporary. after the 10th echo, you will start getting tired. (it actually involves physical efforts you know? yeah. really. the very concept of any real physical effort outside of a gym will soon become extinct, i know. hmmm.. whatever ) There is no more novelty to it as well. The echo is going to come out exactly the way it has been coming all this while. There is no more mystery left to it.

But, there is another magical echo too. much more permanent. and much more uncertain. It can die quickly or it can go on and on and on. The echos here even have shadows and mutations. And when a whole lot of people join in the echo chamber, its a beautiful cacophony of names. Everyone keenly interested in hearing his/her own name coming out through the din.

This magical echo chamber is the social media.

It has put a spell on us. In front of it we become  toddlers. the ones who, when growing up point out any new exciting thing they see and run to their mom saying 'look at me mom, i found this/ i did this', with a beaming face. They expect a 'appreciative comment' from the mom.
This magical echo chamber is where we yell out all our 'discoveries', our amazement, our self-pity,  our 'wins' and where we dare not say things that will earn us a 'facepalm'.
The mom in this case is the facebook notification window. The faster it ticks, the giddier we get.
We are all peter pans in the wonderland of facebook, blogs and 'my photography' albums on flickr. We are boastful, blissfully unaware of the world beyond, judgmental and often quite selfish. Nevertheless, just like peter, we also have a strong sense of justice and would raise our fists collectively at any great threat (as long as it only asks us for 'that' action).

This echo chamber is a world by itself. and the amazing nature of its distributed togetherness causes it to be personal and at the same time universal.
Every person is a world unto himself. and he has every right to it and all its opinions. He paints this world with his own colors, his own biases. In this world he can don the hat of an activist, an artist or a smart funny guy. (why does everyone want to be a smart funny guy on twitter? no, really?)

I don't know about the other hats, but I do feel compelled to support the wearer to don one particular hat.. the one that lets him play act as an 'artist'.
With each new discovery, with each new mutation an 'artist' in us is born. We run to our mom that is the notification window for some appreciation of the 'work' we have created and labeled it ever so subtly as 'through my lens', 'joe photography' and so on. People might ridicule us. Indeed, most of the work we put out is not merely pedestrian but smacking of sheer indifference and ignorance of the rest of the world. Its almost insulting to the world around. But an artist is never deterred by the world's opinions.
There is never going to be a perfect ideal of artistry. An artist by the virtue of his act of creation has earned the right to be free. to be free to entertain only self's idea of art and being an artist. The artist only entertains his private moral compass.
People may point out and say that my artistic ideals are holier than yours. They are merely deluded. There is no relativity in the world of art. Your art is yours. its valuable to you. It may or may not be valuable to me.
Art is boundless. Art is imprecise. Art is yours.
So, we may be guilty of being too indulgent of ourselves and being a tad too involved in the chamber of echoes, we have our right to it. The democracy then perhaps turns into a din making machine, but that's merely the price of it. I think, its worth it. So it is, being a peter pan. 

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Withdrawal symptoms

Ctrl-tab
Ctrl-tab...
Scroll Scroll Scoll..
Alt-tab
Alt-tab...
Catch yourself slipping away.

Deep  breath. 

Close the browser. silence the mobile and turn it away.

Open an offline-real-paper diary. Stop your thighs from lolling impatiently. Stay still. 

Pick up a pen awkwardly. ahh, the fingers are stiff. It will take a  while for them to get used to holding a pen. Quick finger exercise - open the palm, stretch finger outwards, close into a fist, dig the fingers in. Repeat.
Ok now.. about to pick up the pen again, but eyes dart towards the screen. Tempted to check email.

Shut up. The last consequential email came two months ago. Nothing of consequence is online.

Pick up the pen. Don't fetishize the object now. Get on with it. Put it on paper, write a word and start it already. If I get to a sentence, perhaps I will get into a flow and won't have to look up from the paper at all. 

One sentence later.

Ahh. That was good. I am feeling good about myself. The sentence makes sense. …