In October 2016 Vladas Suncovas tutor at the department of monumental art in the Vilnius academy of Art invited my for a talk about my research on friendship.
Together with the students we agreed to focus on the topic of friendships in digital media and i showed my research on the history and origins of the term friendship. In the second part of the talk i focused on how to use research as a tool in your artistic practice and how to “prolong” a research outside of the academy.
The conspiracy of friends
Friends are more important than ever in our day-to-day lives. Its important to have them, odd if you don’t have them and, for more and more people, they often replace other meaningful ties like family relationships.
Friendship is key to our lives. It is the ideal playground for freedom. New forms of communication, ushered in by the increasing use of social media, has transformed the way we live and act in friendships. These changes to the dynamics of modern relationships and friendship is a subject I am deeply interested in and want to explore through an exploration on the historical evolution of friendship. Considering this historic dimension two things become clear for the present time: friendship is a term in transmission, and it’s a term in crises.
I ask myself: What characterizes social media’s “friendship” and how is it different from previous conceptions of friendship? Taking into account that Facebook is profit-driven company, how does it connect the idea of the free-market with our ever-important social relations? Does it make our social ties more fake, or are we walking here straight into the mouse trap of culture pessimism? If you flip the coin the wider public that friendship gets in social media can be also a game-changer to make it more political.
Historic dimensions of friendship been always connected to the idea of resistance and form the basis for many movements and collaborations. Is this still possible in the times of increased social networking? Can friendship save itself without going into moral judgments and a mindless praise of “the old days”? Are there such things like critical friendships?