Cheap Media – Mashable and the IKEA print

Once upon a time, journalism was about reporting news, stories, investigations, making an impact, sharing opinions something of value to the consumers of a certain medium. Nowadays, it seems that the only agenda of some ‘cheap’ news outlets is harnessing clicks, shares and views. Once such fine example of degenerate news reporting quality is Mashable.

I’m not an expert in the field, nor a contributor. This post is written in an attempt to convey my personal levels of frustration with the ridiculous quality of stories disseminating from a specific group of so called media companies.

Very recently, I stumbled upon an article (not much of an article, just a page with a video) titled:

“Dutch pranksters display IKEA art in museum, fooling everyone”


The gist of the story is: A group of pranksters going by the name of ‘LifeHunters’ (more about the agency below) took an IKEA print, showcased it in museum of modern art (Museum Arnhem) and solicited feedback from the visitors on that day. Most of the people seen in the video portray an air of reflection and art appreciation and when asked, they value the work far more than what the video producers claim it to be.

I added the video for those who are too lazy to click the link.

The Problem

I cannot begin to describe what is wrong with the approach adopted, the message it conveys and the devaluation of a good piece of art simply because it had been licensed to IKEA.

Mashable-lifehunters-ikea-painting-modern-artThis is the piece in discussion. This is the work of two Swiss, street artists Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni AKA ‘NEVERCREW‘. These artists seem to specialize in surreal artwork in public places. They have hosted numerous exhibitions and won multiple awards throughout the years of their collaboration. This piece, on the left, while not reflecting complexity in the techniques adopted to produce it, it does show depth in terms of the message it conveys, the details of the illustration and does cause some level of reflection and contemplation while invoking deep thought and emotions about the subject matter. If this is not ‘art’ I don’t know what qualifies.

The simple fact that this illustration has been licensed for IKEA does not and should not make this work any less valuable than what is exhibited in that museum. Certainly, it does not devaluate the opinions of those visitors trying to connect with the work.

The second facet of this problem is that this critique of ‘art experts’ (not sure if they should be labeled as such, given that they are mere visitors of a museum) has been produced by an agency that proclaims itself as ‘specialized in awesome viral video content.‘ In other words, the sole purpose of their work is creating content that has the potential to go highly viral. Accuracy, analysis, depth, or any other form of critical thinking, reasoning or even research does not serve their mission. Correctness and validity of their proclamations have been bluntly dismissed, given that they do not serve the agenda.

This wave of promoting shallow, and dare I say, stupid content is not only unfair to those who are producing value in the world, but a clear indication of a widespread depression in the appreciation of true value for the sake of a few minutes of headless ‘entertainment’.

Fellow humans, who still have a shred of respect to intelligence, art, science and everything of value in this world, detoxicate yourselves from this form of content for it serves no one any good.

Invest your time in pursuing value, read some of the content published by Aeon Magazine and don’t take part in promoting intellectual numbness.

What are you thoughts on the matter?