Yesterday I rounded off a day working in the Yards Exchange – where we have a unit – with a late night shopping trip to the supermarket. What was noticeable was that they seemed to use the same playlists of Christmas music to drive customers insane! When people created their own music combinations in the shops there was definitely more variety. This led me to remember something called People’s Choice.
Moscow born Vitaly Komar (1943-) and Alexander Melamid (1945-) http://komarandmelamid.org/index.html are conceptual artists who collaborated on various projects, ranging from painting and performance to installation, public sculpture, photography, music and poetry. They founded a movement called Sots Art, a mixture of Soviet Pop and Conceptual Art. In 1974 they were arrested and their exhibition works were destroyed by the Soviet authorities. By 1978 they had moved to New York.
In the 1990s they began a series of works called “People’s Choice”, looking at common/lowest denominator culture, or as they called it “democracy and elitism by statistics”. They wondered what the arts would look like if they are created to please the greatest number of people; what kind of culture is produced by a society that lives and governs itself by opinion polls? So they set out to find out, creating art and song (the latter in collaboration with composer Dave Soldier), based on the results of nationwide surveys, conducted by polling companies, in a dozen countries. Aggregates of the results for most and least wanted songs and paintings were then created.
The Most Wanted Artwork (except in Holland which preferred abstract) seemed to be mostly-blue landscapes with water, people, and animals – very Constable-like. While the Most Unwanted Artwork was an abstract design of jagged shapes in gold, orange, and yellow. Interestingly the most wanted artwork on the Web had the blue landscape but also prominently featured a dog. The art created for each country can be seen at http://awp.diaart.org/km/painting.html and you can read more about the project here http://awp.diaart.org/km/index.html
Now I would have thought that the most popular animal to appear on the web would most definitely have been a “cute” cat, so started googling “most wanted” artwork – which of course brought up Crimewatch type programmes – then I tried “most popular” and immediately threw up this website http://all-that-is-interesting.com/popular-interesting-pictures where they list a bizarre, or beautiful or thought-provoking or just weird image, a day. The link above is to their article about their 50 most popular images, which includes everything from the most beautiful and almost surreal cloud pictures to a heatmap of McDonald’s in America! The internet has definitely opened wide access to amazing and downright strange artwork, and it would be fascinating to find out what would happen if this survey was undertaken via social media these days.
Komar and Melamid were right, however – according to Google, the most searched for animal on the web is a dog (cats came second!).
Back to the music though:
The Most Wanted Song includes instruments like the guitar, bass, piano and drums, and lyrics about love sung in a Celine-Dion-like fashion and is in our header video.
The Most Unwanted Song is 22 minutes of music that includes bagpipes, cowboy music, an opera singer, rapping and a children’s choir! Komar and Melamid stated that “fewer than 200 individuals of the world’s total population will enjoy this” Why not take a listen and see if they were right!
and if you’re wanting to know how close your taste in Christmas music is to the most popular songs you’ll hear in 2017, here are a couple of lists to get you going. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-christmas-songs-3245323
This is Time Out’s list of the top 12 Worst Christmas Songs Ever Inflicted on Humanity https://www.timeout.com/london/music/the-12-worst-christmas-songs-ever-inflicted-on-humankind , hmm…how many of those were on that playlist yesterday?