[Jakarta, LTTW] Google, the tech company who program search engine into our curios heads gives us something new to ponder. This time the 1996 founded company is taking a shot at persuading people to care more about arts and culture of the world, exploring mankind creative legacy as the ideal goal.
An application named Google Arts & Culture gain a relatively large attention at the start of 2018. Originally created in 2011; the sudden fame came because a new feature that automatically compare the users self portrait to works of art.
Our face can be compared to Rembrandt’s self portrait painting or anything else that has a resemblance with us — juxtaposed side by side. The details of the painting are described in the application; we can learn a general knowledge about the painter, the painting, and the museum that keeps it. For now it is limited in the United States, but other countries can easily access it with a VPN.
It wasn’t a significant increase in art enthusiast, instead it can be seen as a significant increase in people who simply like to post their own portrait with some gimmick that accompany their faces. Google try to use a modern behaviour as a bait for a greater purpose, but the worse case comes when people succumb to the comfortable bait without even using it in a wider positive sense like it supposed to be.
At this point, the application is no different than face “filters” or animations that social media such as Snapchat and Instagram use to lure it’s audiences.
In Greek mythology there was a beatiful man named Narcissus. He fell in love with his own reflection in the pool that leads to death. A self absorbed being, still relevant until this day. Google’s new feature and other application that celebrate narcissism are the pool that can reflect our own demise.
It’s seems rhetorical to think that the internet positive effect is to give the users information, ideas, and even perspectives. It goes old when we still uses that argument because the current technology keeps expanding — making room for new negative effects. We must be critical and not take everything for granted, including the one we are comfortable with.
The Google Arts & Culture aspire to be a portal with vast collection of art around the world. It even allows us to take a virtual tour of museums and other art related places. A clear purpose that has the fundamentals of internet creation.
The challenges of the internet era are real, one of them is the unmeasurable success accompanied by more weight on factual failures. We must ask ourselves, does people really broaden their mind when comparing themselves to art pieces or does it stop at just another selfie? Falling deep into the Narcissist art bait.