It’s a unique feeling when something you have created is heard by others. Does it exist in its entirety before that point? Or are we in an age, as David Bowie predicted, when – thanks to social media – the artist and the listeners meet in the middle to create the final work?
In the digital age there is no longer any such thing as the absolute existence or form of a work of art. We could argue that there never has been, not completely. When I share one of my spoken word poems with another person, their responses in the moment – their facial expressions, their exclamations – add meaning to the performance. No digitalisation to be seen.
Artist and listener have always met in the middle to accord the piece its meaning, but perhaps that is more explicit and concrete these days. A sexist pop song gets rehashed and parodied all over the internet, and it becomes these viral videos that stick in our collective memory. Just one of the ways in which the internet has revolutionised art in a democratic direction.