I was in the Tate Modern on the opening weekend of the new building, and stood there in the middle of All The Art and All The People, showing my friends your Instagram feed. You have an interesting Instagram account with posts of funny things, pretty things and thoughtful things. You have lots of photos of clouds, and the cloud photo I was showing my friends was the one you took when your mother woke you up at 5am, terrified. She was looking for her mother, who had passed away four years previously, and you both went outside for a walk and let nature transport you away from it all. You wrote a piece about what you were both going through, with the hashtags #nature #healing #escapism #hope #dementia #sky. .
I also showed them some of your singing videos. They had the same WTF reaction I had when I first saw them, and then wanted to watch some more just like I also did when I first watched them. They have evolved since then to incorporate dance and facial contortions, and one amazing one with a purple smoothie leaking out of your mouth. Sometimes you can be claustrophobicly close, your face right up to the screen, like you are pressed into a little box. Other times you are flying about your kitchen. I feel a little voyeuristic in staring into your life, but then you stare right back at me, into mine, into me.
Luckily there are cloud photos in between videos to break it up.
Dear Micheal Rowsome’s Instagram Account,
When I first looked at your Instagram account I wasn’t sure what to make of it, or how to look at it (maybe I mean judge it, is it an art work or a notebook full of interesting thoughts etc.?). I spoke to my friend Bee who had recommended that we (Sociable NonScience) should write a love or hate letter to it.
To be clear this is a love letter.
From my perspective it feels like an artwork on its own terms, whether you mean for it to be or not. Maybe defining it as an artwork is only important to me?
But setting that aside, I really liked the honesty and sincerity of the images and videos you post. I was going to say naivety but that’s not it at all. It feels like you’ve made a conscious choice not to fit into a genre or idea of what’s cool or not. For me that’s a massive positive.
I love that you post images of the sky at different times / places, it’s totally relatable without being trite. I especially like the videos of you dancing in your kitchen, they have an infectious sense of joy and you sharing it with us is really generous.
More personally they remind me of the aforementioned Bee. She chooses houses to live in based on the kitchen’s capacity for dancing.
A recurring theme that I keep coming back to is a need for self care, by which I mean not only looking after ourselves but each-other in the same way that trees all work together, sharing root systems etc. for the good of the forest as a whole. It feels like you’ve taken the medium of a social media platform like Instagram, that is so often a place for individualistic showing off and made it a place for sharing something positive which is what all these social media sites profess to be.
Thanks, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you post next ,