New Year, New Answers to The Proust Questionnaire

Here I go again, unfolding in Proustian style in my relentless pursuit of self-knowledge and exploration of psychic patterns and cognitive shifts. With an almost masochistic pleasure to dissect the mind, peel off layers that only I’m allowed to touch, and assimilate phantoms, the self gazes into self in a way that no one else can or even dares to do lest they be met with the manufacturing of all sorts of defences. Ok, there is always symbolism and mist (not to be confused with smoke and mirrors), as this is a public virtual space where I can design and master my surroundings for my comfort. I wonder whether there have been any significant changes since the last time I completed this. I will add a link to my answers from a few years ago at the end of this post.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I can think of endless scenarios, but regardless of the where, the what, and the when, two constant ingredients are inner peace and sanity. Beyond this, imagine shadow integration, ecstasy, bliss, aesthetic pleasures, decadent fancies and desserts, and multi-sensory stimulation. Full immersion in the moment. A less earthly and less hedonistic answer would be merging with my higher self, exploring this vast cosmos and other timelines, transcending space and time, and having an immortal nature- to annihilate my ruminations about ephemerality. Arcadian wilderness inhabited by nymphs, playful spirits, mythological figures, and other supernatural entities coexisting with sci-fi/ futuristic dreamscapes, all drowning in the smell of orange blossom trees, snowdrops, honeysuckle, and all the intoxicating fragrances one can think of. Having occult powers would be pretty entertaining. I could go on, but this answer is already too long!

What is your greatest fear?
Losing my mind and ending up in a private hell. Self-obliteration. Death.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Taking into account women who have had an impact in the history of literature and art, I have to say there are many women in me, even if some personalities exist as representations of thoughts that I’m unlikely to nurture and materialise. Anaïs Nin, Virginia Woolf, Dora Maar, Francesca Woodman. As for mythological characters, Persephone – I like her dual nature, because I, too, thrive in spring and rule over the underworld.

Which living person do you most admire?
Hélène Cixous, Irvin D. Yalom, Tilda Swinton, Chelsea Wolfe, David Lynch, Godard, Werner Herzog,…Oh, and Jung, he haunts our psyches, his presence is too relevant to not transcend death.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
None.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Malice, duplicity, gossip, hypocrisy, judging others based on a flawed system of reference, & lack of empathy. I also dislike dark triad traits, but I am somewhat fascinated by such pathologies in theory.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Niche and designer perfumes

What is your favourite journey?
Immersing myself in art is always a beautiful journey. And any other journey that involves a form of transcendence.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
For women, specifically: being nice and calm at all times, which would imply bypassing certain emotions that are deemed “unpleasant” and that have historically been attributed to “hysteria” in a disguised act of gaslighting, including emotions that are typically associated with masculinity, e.g. anger, aggressiveness. Anger emerges within you when you perceive an injustice, when some of your boundaries have been crossed. It is healthy and needs to be witnessed and integrated, rather than silenced.

Other overrated virtues are humility / humbleness, moderation, and submissiveness / obedience. Women are especially conditioned to adopt these traits in order to fit into society and not fall out of line. Be disruptive in this respect. You can draw your own lines, teeter on them in high heels, and erase and redraw them whenever you want. If you’re perceptive and self-aware, you’ll be able to tell the difference between self-love and arrogance.

On what occasion do you lie?
When I don’t want to risk hurting someone I care about, I might omit a part of the truth as long as I believe the omission wouldn’t ultimately create more distress.

Which living person do you most despise?
I don’t think I despise one person in particular. With the risk of stating the obvious and repeating what I’ve mentioned in the previous answer about what I deplore in others, I am repulsed by anyone who lacks empathy and commits acts of (emotional or physical) abuse against others.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
C’est la vie. That’s a lie, it’s probably something even more cliched than that.

What is your greatest regret?
Not exploring more and experimenting and actively pursuing my most ardent dreams earlier.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Film, most other forms of art, and fragrances.

When and where were you happiest?
Probably whenever I experienced “aesthetic chills”! Other than that, it’s been too long since I’ve felt any fluctuations or significant spikes in my emotional state, so – I don’t remember!

Which talent would you most like to have?
Excelling in any field I would like to delve into. Erasing certain thoughts before they reach neurotic levels. An impressive vocal range. And the knowledge needed to find a way to prevent senescence forever.

What is your current state of mind?
Reflective. Concerned with future endeavours. I feel like I’m in a liminal state, holding onto the hope that the world will shift and feel more real and less dystopian again. At the same time, certain events from 2020/1 that generated temporary glitches ultimately made me feel more appreciative of and grateful for moments of peace.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Mastering the art of selective caring. Raising my creative powers to unreal levels and expanding into other fields of creation.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I feel it hasn’t happened yet; I will achieve grandeur and fulfil my vision in the future.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A goddess.

What is your most treasured possession?
My perfume collection and technological devices, because I’m constantly fragrant and wired.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
A descent into sinister madness or suffering.

Where would you like to live?
In a place where pandemics don’t happen. Other applicable answers: in a cyberpunk world on a technologically ultra-advanced planet. The places that currently resonate with my personality type and interests, however, are London and probably NYC. (Tokyo and Venice as well, if there were no linguistic barriers or impediments of another nature)

What is your favourite occupation?
Immersing myself in art. Daydreaming and deriving vicarious pleasure from the adventures of fictional characters. Sublimating thoughts through poetry. Identifying behavioural and mental patterns. Spotting cognitive biases in others. Appreciating nature and cityscapes.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Perceptiveness. Creativity- especially when it comes to creating intricate stories about people I don’t know and being disappointed when their true self doesn’t align with my idealised projection of them. Self-awareness. Intuition. Constantly trying to reconcile the self that wants to connect with the self that wants to detach, conceal, wear disguises, and have privacy. A sense of elusiveness. Having regenerative powers. And an exquisite taste in film and music, if I say so myself.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Intellect, confidence, imagination, empathy, depth, openness, and a willingness to step into my inner world. Inner tranquility & stoicism that are disrupted by moments of fiery passion connected to subjects that genuinely matter to them. Having a superior olfactory sense, but not taking themselves too seriously all the time because of it!

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Same as above.

What do you most value in your friends?
A kind and understanding nature. Trust. Depth. Caring about me. Embodying safety.

Who are your favourite writers?
Angela Carter, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Anaïs Nin, Anne Sexton, Mary Oliver, Hélène Cixous, Oscar Wilde, Kafka, Nabokov, Mircea Eliade. Freud and Jung. Andrei Tarkovsky and Ingmar Bergman. Sylvia Plath. Virginia Woolf.

Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Jean des Esseintes. Morgan Le Fay, Carmilla, Dorian Gray, The Countess from AHS

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Pass

Who are your heroes in real life?
Angels, poets, and people who have not only overcome mental illness, they’ve also channelled it into their creative work

What are your favourite names?
Morgana, Dionysus, Osiris, Narcissa, Mnemosyne

What is it that you most dislike?
Same answer I gave to the question “What do you deplore the most in others?”. I also dislike unpredictability, unless I’m responsible for it, and unwarranted advice.

How would you like to die?
Since I’ve never reconciled myself with our ephemeral nature (and will probably never do so), this question is oxymoronic and dreadful! I want to live forever – I would only ever “like” to die if I believed in the afterlife, and in that case I wouldn’t care how as long as it wasn’t painful.

What is your favourite motto?
Your interpretation of me isn’t who I am.
Underestimate me and perish.
Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations ever again.

Other mottos via quotes:

“Abnormal pleasures kill the taste for normal ones.” — Henry & June (1990)
“I am rooted, but I flow.” — Virginia Woolf
“Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you—and go after those things as if nothing else matters. Because, actually, nothing else does.” ― George Saunders
“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)” — Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”
“We will become our opposite if we do not learn to accommodate the opposition within us.” — C. G. Jung
“I believe in deeply ordered chaos.” — Francis Bacon
“Listen: I always return to myself.” — Vesna Parun, tr. by Vasa D. Mihailovich
“Nostalgia is a seductive liar.”
“A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretence and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.” — Maya Angelou
“I refuse to live in the ordinary world, to enter ordinary relationships. I am a neurotic—in the sense that I live in my world. I will not adjust myself to the world. I am adjusted to myself.” — Anaïs Nin


Here is the link to my answers from the past.

Rite of passage

the texture of hell can seep through a broken mind,
but its lingering echoes will leave a mark
looking ahead, I see parks filled with disease,
a small, kaleidoscopic winter coat wrapped around
a phantasmal presence that screams:
I am Home-
I am a haunted home
where it rains.


her hand reaches out to
wipe the morning dew
off a snowdrop lost
in the glittering white-
a mystical anachronism


I look at her with a half-smile;
as if sensing it, she turns around,
mirroring me-
meanwhile,
the world is disintegrating
in secrecy


an ethereal cage descends to envelop us;
a moment cannot define an entire existence
unless it echoes
its beginning and its end
our fate and lips are sealed
it’s more than a folie à deux
bred in liminality


a pact between blue hedonism
and dazzling dissimulation
clears the way forward-
some voices may forever
be confined within
yet the dreams ascend.


Art is heightened life

I’m convinced that, at some point, everyone has left the cinema or an art show feeling more whimsical than usual, or perhaps wiser, or revitalised. What I would like to know is how many times you have been moved, truly moved- on a soul level, by a film, a painting, an art installation. After watching or experiencing a piece of art*, have you ever felt that it impacted you so profoundly, it was almost like you reached a higher state of consciousness? It’s more than an “aesthetic experience.” This is the magical power of art.

What about the process of creating art? Have you ever sensed a creative force breathing new life into you, into everything (re-shaping your perception of the world)? This is the godlike power of art and creativity.

I would like to hear about your unique experiences with this! How has art (and a specific art piece) changed your life, to what degree, and for how long?

As paradoxical as it sounds, art can make you connect with your self, your higher self, as well as giving you the chance to detach from your self-concept and see the world through someone else’s eyes, explore new territories, new experiences, making you feel like you belong, like you are a miraculous, integral part of this universe. This inner journey ultimately brings you closer to your higher self, a self that feels more authentic than the one that is founded on projections of the ego. Hence why there is no paradox, actually. In such moments of exquisite rapture, your existence is enriched with inherent meaning. By running away, “escaping” life as you know it (perhaps dimmed by routine and other ordinary but potentially soul-crushing aspects) you transcend your limiting self-constructs and beliefs and you arrive closer to your higher Self.

*For the record, when I talk about “art” in this post I am referring to the broader -and most valid- definition of art, which encompasses literature and film – the latter being the highest art form in my view.

A confession

Here is an apparently condemnable confession for a woman: I always, always, always do exactly what I want to do. It’s one of my defining characteristics – as unchanging and relentless as my regenerative strength and perceptive and intuitive nature. I take the lead and control my world. What does that imply? I can’t be swayed, brainwashed, gaslighted into doing or being anything I don’t want. I reject anything that doesn’t align with my views and values, that doesn’t resonate with me. There are, indeed, parts of my personality and identity that are quite fluid, in the sense that I am quite open to exploring new territories, new experiences, new sources of rapture. The point is I dare to live according to my own rules, system of values, ideas of happiness (which can fluctuate in time), and strategies to reach higher mental/emotional/psychological states, as opposed to emulating someone else’s. Despite all this, I don’t expect everyone to find happiness or fulfilment in the same places I do, or be moved by the same experiences I find ineffably exquisite, or appreciate the same flavours of this multitudinous universe. Because of all of this, something that acutely irks me is whenever someone has the audacity to tell me I’m wrong in my ways, that my perception is distorted and I must be unhappy because I don’t adhere to a cookie-cutter approach to lifestyle, as dictated by others. I can understand that clashes between different sets of values and world views are inevitable; what I find laughable and obnoxious, however, is whenever someone tries to convert you to their conceptual world and deny the validity of anything else, ignoring the possibility that anyone can choose to live based on their own concepts of happiness. I think I am more justified in my view that this tendency to invalidate and criticise a different lifestyle chosen by someone you don’t resonate with is more indicative of unhappiness and discontent than the lifestyle itself. You are perhaps afraid of the unknown, seeing it as a threat because it makes you reassess your own life choices, the possibility that you could be living differently and you’d probably try if you weren’t afraid or trapped in a cage of your own making. You don’t want others to remind you of that, so you try to invalidate their narrative.

[to be continued]

November light

Dark November, darling November,
my birth month, a glorified time
of contradictions,
of re-emergence from dreams,
wearing adornments
and smiles of
miss “seen it all, heard it all”
Scorpio depth,
shrewd intuition,
and inner power-
It’s nature and nurture
even when the nurturing is done
in a glass castle
it is said that art is life intensified,
heightened experience
is this what it was, an artistic process?
all-consuming, delving deeply into
my life force, the closest I’ve ever got
to a spiritual experience,
however demonic,
in all its ambiguity and uncertainty-
was it but a psyche glitch?
is that what it takes, a cognitive distortion,
to erode the pillars holding up
a self-concept, a world,
in a most magical way-
heaven knows no human could do it-
aren’t most, if not all spiritual beliefs
a coping mechanism against
cosmic futility?
Here I am, inevitably returning
to the eternal question
that injects everything I do and feel;
Surrendering to Phoenix wisdom-
with my Eagle’s eyes,
fresh perspectives materialising
from the flames of the opposites
inner chaos leads to stillness
leads to outward ascension
from a special hell-
the tension of the opposites
within;
oblivion is laced with sweetness
it’s a universal truth: life is escapism,
just like wearing a tiara on your birthday
to forget about the flow of time
Although shifting from limbo
to a personal dystopian hellscape
and then into whatever followed
(labels have become frivolous)
has made me revere time,
realise I’ve had a coddled existence
for the most part
You can’t write words revealing
you are convinced of
your innate grandeur anymore,
without being deemed narcissistic
A good night kiss bearing all
the gentleness and sacredness
of a celestial being
should be a tell-tale sign
that it’s not pathological
but it’s hard to understand
a moment of uncanny ecstasy,
an awakening, how deeply moved
a sceptic can be, on a soul level.
Pour your life source into me
and lift me up
I am trying to be authentic
but I am not estranged from
the light and darkness of ego
something tells me ego
has shaped you in my mind, too
Whether external forces were at play
or you are just a part of me,
I have to say
thank you and
no, thank you.

Labyrinth

Within this labyrinth-
sacred lair, profane shrine-
I roam to banish anhedonia
I am seeking something
I know I have in me-
an elusive land
of ecstasy and renewal
My mercurial mind feeds
and fights
with itself
in the process
There are two main levels of feeling
I acknowledge as relevant-
the bipolarity is astounding, so
let’s just focus on the second one,
I wish I could teleport there
instinctually
[I can’t, I overthink everything
and only over-feel the negatives]
I have to dig deeper, and yet,
the more I dig, in a frenzy, the further away
I seem to find myself, somehow.
I try to hunt it down,
following the arcane trail
the anticipation
builds- the warmth melts the ice
it’s a basic state of being and yet
no matter how many maps I read
or people I ask for directions
along the way, it seems
despite their devotion,
no one knows the right way
and it eludes me at all costs
the maps are contradictory anyway
I know, deep down,
I need to pave my own path
Precious force,
Awaken me and I shall blossom
on the way, shed my old skin,
and leave a trail of petals from my past selves;
my scent lingers on and intoxicates-
entrances some, bewilders others
as I go deeper and deeper
into my idea of nirvana
I am content, but that is not enough
I don’t care about your concepts
My life is not a blank canvas
onto which generations can paint
cloned expectations
I won’t adjust myself to fit into a pattern
You don’t have the power
to influence me
if your mindset doesn’t fit in my utopia
The promise of that place throws me
into hypnotic depths;
it would have been easy
if it was at home,
but in my case, it isn’t, and
easy isn’t often
intensely good
not to mention
I’m a drifter anyway,
seeking a mythical land
I -a wayward nymph on an odyssey,
mesmerised by its promise
of feeling and being filled
with bliss,
Come with me, you,
special one,
Come with me
to a place of worship
But tread carefully,
with the right mix of
unconditional protection
unparalleled care,
and carefully chosen acts
of reverence
to honour
this labyrinth within.

Visual Branding Tips for Social Media in the Arts

Art companies and visual artists have to meet high expectations of visual excellence on social media. Find your UNIQUE visual approach to make your social media presence SHINE. Turn your feed into a work of art.

If you work in the arts, don’t neglect the importance of all visual aspects in your social media strategy. They have to be harmoniously intertwined, to achieve the best results & boost engagement. Effective, creative text matters, but visuals are an equally decisive element of your marketing strategy.

✨Pick your brand colour palette, font pairings, and layouts and use them consistently when you create social media visuals that reflect your brand identity.

✨Make sure your feed flows harmoniously, even if you go through a thematic change or aesthetic shift. All types of content have to work together to keep your feed flowing. Curate & arrange artworks and photographs & create graphics that contribute to the cohesive aesthetic of the feed.

✨ Curate and arrange your imagery in advance. Make a collage or use Preview App to visualise and plan out a cohesive Instagram feed.

✨ Don’t neglect any visual elements. Working in the arts means you already have great visual content available, but if your work consists of paintings, don’t underestimate the power of impactful design and impressive photography, or the importance of interweaving them effectively.

✨ Create mood boards. They can help you visualise concepts, provide style inspiration for your editorial calendar, and dictate the overall atmosphere of your upcoming posts, ensuring imagery flows.

✨ Create social media templates for different categories of posts, in order to stay organised and save time.

✨ Optimise your imagery for each social media channel.

✨ Save all your aesthetic resources in one place.

✨ Create a visual style guide including colour codes, fonts, editing apps, filters, photography guideline, templates, etc.

✨ Define and maintain a consistent aesthetic for your feed. One that resonates with your brand voice and identity, as well as with your target audience. Going through thematic changes is fine, as long as the overall aesthetic & vibe are consistent. What feeling do you want your page to evoke? Write down a few key words on your mood board. What resonates with your brand, content, and art? A light, airy aesthetic? Ethereal & pearlescent? Dark & Elegant? Clean and minimalist?

From avatar to social media posts, stick to a signature colour scheme, fonts, photographic style, graphics style.

Your feed is the first impression potential customers will have, the first connection they establish with your brand, so it has to be impactful. Attention spans are narrowing among social media users. You only have a few seconds to capture people’s attention.

A unique approach to visuals will make your audience instantly recognise your brand on their feeds.

Create striking social media graphics that reflect your brand identity in concise, inspiring, & impactful ways. Alternate them with artworks based on vibe and aesthetic.

Analyse your existing posts to identify your brand style. Is it time for a change? Perhaps you should consider visual rebranding and revamping your feed, drifting away from any elements your brand no longer resonates with.

Your grid should be cohesive, consistent, & flowing. The effects of having a cohesive visual aesthetic on social media: Engagement improves. Brand recognition increases. A consistent visual identity builds trust and connection.

Follow these tips to boost your social media presence, convey your message in memorable ways, and promote your art effectively.

Follow me on Instagram to keep up to date with my social media tips for the art world:

Creating a Successful Social Media Strategy

Knowing the components of an effective, successful social media strategy is vital for any art company or artist who has rightly acknowledged the value of building a strong digital presence.


Who are you? Start by expressing your brand purpose clearly and creating a mission statement. You can convey this in a visually appealing way using powerful graphics, imagery, or video to tell a memorable story.


Who are you trying to reach and create content for? Identify and get to know your audience. You have to be attuned to their challenges, background, interests, motivations, and habits, in order to adapt and personalise your message and target the right audience in your ad campaigns. Create customer personas for the types of people you want to entice. Check existing analytics for more information about your current viewers and followers.


What do you aspire to achieve, what are the elements behind your overarching mission? Set SMART social media goals that align with your business objectives, and know which metrics to monitor in order to measure your progress. Some common social media goals are increasing brand awareness (the metrics you have to track here can be reach metrics, shares, followers), improving customer loyalty and advocacy (check engagement metrics like comments, mentions, as well as testimonials), generating leads and increasing sales (track conversion metrics), driving traffic to your website (click-throughs), and so on.


How are you going to achieve your goals? What tactics will you employ to do all of this? You have to be aware of the social media landscape within your niche, as well as keeping up to date with the latest digital trends, and knowing the algorithms of your ideal social media platforms. Create platform-specific content, invest in video content, go live, have an editorial calendar, use social media tools, repurpose content, join groups etc.

For digital tactics tailored to the art world, follow me on Instagram at @socialmedianart and stay tuned.

Resurrections of renowned artworks

Here are a few examples of more or less obscure (this is why Loving Vincent is not on this list) representations and recreations of famous artworks through fine art photography, film, animations, and video installations.

In Derek Jarman’s stylised historical drama shot in 35mm film, Caravaggio (1986), the director creates an engrossing, dreamlike fictionalised account of Caravaggio’s life in keeping with his painting style, conceptual themes, and mixture of the sacred with the profane, whilst adding anachronistic elements which endow the enrapturing depictions with an eternal quality and emphasise Jarman’s artistic identification. The film evocatively depicts the creative tension of reconfiguring the emotional experience of reality through an artistic lens. As a controversial creative soul with a deviant personality, a propensity for transgressions, a significant personal focus on sexuality, and inclination towards the profane, Jarman felt a kinship with the Italian Baroque artist. The film recreates Caravaggio’s paintings, with some memorable shots depicting Tilda Swinton as Penitent Magdalene and in the “Death of the Virgin”, Dexter Fletcher who plays the young artist appears as Bacchus and in a moving cinematic adaptation of “Boy with a Basket of Fruit”. Other striking recreations are of “Saint Jerome Writing”, “The Musicians”, and “The Entombment of Christ”.

Too unusual and inaccessible to fall into the mainstream, yet not exhibiting those traits to a qualifying degree to be welcome by the avant-garde, Jarman’s filmography is characterised by ambiguity-occupying a liminal position between radical and traditional labels. Caravaggio (1986) is one of his less experimental films, as well as being the film debut of Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean, both of whom deliver beautiful performances.

Speaking of bringing Caravaggio to life (although some have argued the opposite effect is achieved), Rino Stefano Tagliafierro, an Italian film director and video artist, creates experimental animations of masterpieces, including uncanny movements and gestures of figures we are used to admiring in static images, incorporated in eerie artistic videos representing reflections on beauty, as well as in multimedia live performances and video installations inspired by artists including Caravaggio, Hieronymus Bosch, Waterhouse, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and more. The main criticism directed at Tagliafierro for his video “Beauty” revolved around whether it unintentionally constitutes a blasphemy rather than a tribute, which was the conscious purpose for it.

I am biased here because I appreciate atmospheric videos and traces of the uncanny. I appreciate both the ethereal / angelic and sinister vibes as well, but from what I have seen, the videos are just a brief, aesthetic distraction.

Richard Tuschman’s alluring, evocative photographs from his series “Hopper Meditations” resonate with quarantine moods, capturing the alienation, the quiet longing for something unknown, and the uncanny intimacy of Hopper’s iconic paintings. In domestic settings tinged with melancholy, characters are visibly introspective- their expressions are frozen in enigmatic moments of unknown contemplation. Even when they are not alone, there is a sense of disconnection and an unspoken distance between them. The characters inhabit the landscapes of their minds, whilst also being physically distant. The cinematic nature of the photographs, the element of suspense, the subtle voyeurism, and the consistent window-gazing acts resurrect the atmosphere characterising Hitchcock’s films and Gregory Crewdson’s photography.

Inge Prader resurrects the enthralling aesthetic decadence of Gustav Klimt’s iconic symbolist paintings from his Golden Phase, re-interpreting them through a high-end fashion lens. Inge Prader’s stunning photography depicts lavishly decorated scenes of sparkling sensuality, featuring models in theatrical poses filled with grace and fragility.

Prader recreates specific paintings by Klimt and the outcome is undeniably striking, impressive, aesthetically pleasing, and refreshing, no matter what your views about re-staging masterpieces might be.

Embracing change: Video content on Instagram and Tips for the Art World

As you may have heard, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has recently announced that Instagram will start leaning into (to use his exact words) video content more in order to stay relevant and compete with or, as some may say, emulate, another particularly popular social media platform, TikTok. I will ponder this mainly in association with business and content creator accounts. First of all, this decision has caused conflicting feelings among Instagram users, including artists and photographers who prefer imagery over video content. For many of us this announcement wasn’t shocking, it seemed like the natural progression of events, as Instagram has already integrated various video features to stay relevant. If you check out Mosseri’s Instagram video on this topic, many top comments are critical of this decision. Instagram started as a photo-sharing app and some users want it to remain that way, at least primarily, but it now seems to shift from aesthetics and connection towards entertainment. In the art world, we can aim to merge all these separate aspects – aesthetics, connection, education, and entertainment.

It wouldn’t be a problem if Instagram tweaked video, increasing video quality, expanding formats, or introducing new video features, since some types of information can be conveyed better through video, whilst others shine through image or text. Different types of formats can all meaningfully coexist on your feed, if you want and if that approach makes sense and aligns with your brand. There are definitely many advantages to incorporating video into your content strategy, regardless of the nature of your business. Video captures the viewer’s attention for longer and can establish a stronger connection to a brand. If, however, you feel it’s not compatible with your work and interests, you might like being able to choose whether you would rather focus on consuming and creating another type of content. The main worry is that you will have no choice if you’re interested in social media growth and relevance, as the algorithm will prioritise videos over imagery, and photos will lose visibility, hence significantly diminishing the reach of those relying on imagery. Instagram will experiment with new video strategies, such as prioritising recommendations of videos on users’ feeds, including video content from accounts you may not be following yet. When it comes to bringing in and encouraging a different type of content, with a different… vibe, from another social media platform (so here I’m no longer referring to video as a format, but to a specific type of video content), there is always the risk of alienating some users. Wouldn’t it be better to compete by getting better at what you are already doing well, rather than altering it to emulate a different business model in order to conquer it? That is the main question posed by the critics.

We’re no longer a photo sharing app, or a square photo-sharing up. The number one reason people say they use Instagram in research is to be entertained, so people are looking to us for that. What we are trying to do is lean into that trend, into entertainment and into video. Because there’s some really serious competition right now- Tik Tok. […] We are also experimenting with how to embrace video more broadly- full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video. We will be experimenting with that in the following months.”— Adam Mosseri

I will mention some ways and video content ideas that you can use in the art world to adapt to the changing digital landscape that pushes video. Mosseri emphasises this word: entertainment. Instagram, art, and videos can all be seen, paradoxically, as both a form of escapism and connection to the world, that’s one thing they have in common. Let’s embrace video and look at this as a great opportunity to boost your digital presence on social media and to reach and appeal to a wider audience. Focusing on video can be more challenging, as it’s a more complex type of content in a professional context, requiring a more thoughtful approach put into consistency in frequency and message, but it is definitely worth investing time in. Video is a great resource for visual and multimedia storytelling. It can add value and it can be more meaningful, as it stops mindless scrolling. Videos can be educational, informative, and promotional. In any case, they have to capture people’s attention. Tell a story. Make it memorable.

Some galleries have already successfully incorporated video into their Instagram strategy (look at the National Gallery). I am going to share with you some ideas that can apply to galleries, museums, other art institutions and companies, studios, and individual artists.

– Firstly, you can film and edit a creative video providing a glimpse into the gallery or studio.

– Make a video emphasising the values you want to embody, promoting your mission and brand identity

– Create an exhibition preview, a walk through or virtual tour of the exhibition. You can create hybrid videos in which you mix image and video content.

– Produce a video featuring the body of work of a particular artist, accompanied by atmospheric sound and enticing voice-over

– A video of an individual artwork, from multiple angles, with close-ups on details, and storytelling. A great example that remained engraved in my mind is an in-depth analysis of “Mary Magdalene in ecstasy”, a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi. You can find this video through Google Arts & Culture. It is an intimate video, the voice of the narrator is hypnotic, the voice-over is poetic, the atmosphere of the video is mystical and mesmerising. This is a great personal tribute to Artemisia.

– You can create video content that is organised based on specific themes in art, or movements, or style, in the form of brief, artistic documentaries. You can use an art historian as a video host, someone who is passionate about and can delve into a specific topic, providing a fresh perspective and presenting it in a unique, engrossing way. Tate’s “Unlock Art” series on YouTube was quite successful, focusing on artistic themes and art history moments, including Surrealism, performance art, Women in Art, pop art, and nudity in art.

– Produce videos about gallery and museum events, activities, initiatives, and practices.

– If you’re an artist or you’re working with an artist, you can go for time-lapses, as people are often interested in the creative process from beginning to end. You can also show the studio or location in which a piece of art has been created. In some cases it is better if you post this as ephemeral content, aka Stories. As an artist, you can also post Reels showing off your inspiring progress.

Think of your Instagram feed as a work of art in itself. Post high-quality videos and images on there. You can use Instagram stories to provide a more informal and spontaneous glimpse behind the scenes of a gallery or an installation.

– You can also conduct video interviews and Q&As with artists or curators.

– Here’s an idea that can apply to anyone: Insert video into a static image, or the other way around. Attach graphic images to moving backgrounds. Videos can include teasers of an art installation, slideshows of artworks, and art gifs.

– You have the option of including a call to action at the end of your videos.

Some key words for video content in the art world are: emotionally evocative, engaging, informative, and aesthetically pleasing.

Check out my new Instagram account; I created it as an online portfolio where I also post digital content ideas and effective tactics and techniques tailored for social media management in the art and film world.

https://www.instagram.com/socialmedianart/