Social Media as a Platform for Art

I am writing this as the day of graduating as a Master of Arts in Circus converges. This is also the time when my fate of acquiring the most despicable profession in Finland (as studied in Suomen Kuvalehti -magazine in 2018) is at hand. It is time for me to become a Youtuber.

Making performing art in this day and age sure seems absurd. That is the case even without the paralysis that the COVID-19 pandemic caused. This time I am omitting the excruciating facts about the difficulties in maintaining a lifestyle of a performing acrobat. Let’s instead focus on the competitors of the performing arts. Why would a person bother leaving the comforts of their own home to see a potentially dull performance if they can entertain themselves with audiovisual stimuli? Of course, the answer is easy. There is nothing that beats the good old human-to-human interaction. There is more to life than video curated by algorithms. Or is there?

It is estimated that 6 out of 10 people will be on social media by the year 2024. In 2019 there were 3.484 billion social media users in the world.

People just don’t check the bulletin boards at school for upcoming events anymore. They don’t read about rock stars on Rolling Stone magazine and hunt for autographs. They want a selfie with their favorite Youtuber. So should you become a social media personality to reach the public? I would say it definitely helps. In this field of work it appears that you have to know the right people to get somewhere. So what better way to get to know people than social media, right? 

As of May 2019, more than 500 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute. This equates to approximately 30,000 hours of newly uploaded content per hour.

The chances of your content being noticed are pretty slim. Still, many social media users try to impress the public by trying to go viral or participating in challenges. I personally would not want to make content just to please a particular appetite that the algorithms favor. Let’s be honest here, I am not getting into this for the money or fame. This will be just me expressing what I find interesting and valuable. If the Motör Circus channel gets views, so be it. If it doesn’t, at least I have a good documentation of what I wasted my life on. The internet never forgets. This can be a terrifying concern or the ultimate goal for an artist. To be remembered.

Motör Circus, Photo by: Isak Stockås

First times when I performed the Motör Circus street circus show in 2018, a spectator told me that I shouldn’t say things about environmentally friendly traffic in such a provocative way. He said the FBI might come and get me. I would like to say “Don’t shoot the messenger!” but social media is cruel. The feedback from the first iteration of Motör Circus was depressing. “You’ve got a lot to do before being eco-friendly!”, they said online. Someone had come to see the show live and then posted a comment online! Sadly, they didn’t know the whole story. No one had told them about the fundamental values of Motör Circus. The bumpy road leading to the performance. The rusted bolts that had to be muscled open before anything could happen. There was no proof of my efforts. Soon there will be.

When I heard that an artist must speak loudly about themselves to advance on their career, I began to think this is not what I signed up for. Being as shy and insecure as me doesn’t really help when it comes to talking about your own work. Just try selling something you are not quite sure that meets the quality expectations of the buyer. “Learn by doing” they said. As if you would reach a sufficient level of self confidence by faking it. Well sure enough, I am not going to fake anything because a true story is always more interesting than the polished one. People want to hear stories. This is why Youtubers prosper.

Sharing is caring. Every day short stories are passed on in social media. These stories fill a human yearning to connect and understand. Some of these snippets bring value to us. The Motör Circus content on Youtube, Instagram & will handle the EV conversion of my Volkswagen Bus, life as a circus artist and sustainable living. I am just doing this for myself and to save the planet. You are free to join and share your ideas about this wild ride!

They said your first video is gonna suck! (Indepreneur: Creative Juice)
I might procrastinate on this for a while. Stay tuned!

-Eikka Alatalo

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