Gretchen Andrew is no stranger to innovations. She had been working in Silicon Valley as a software engineer, business analyst and a product manager since 2007. From 2010 to 2012 she worked for Google. One day she quit the job and decided to become an artist. By watching YouTube videos and finding content online Andrew simply filled the lack of prior skills. Now her HowToHowToHowTo exhibition appeals to the diversity and accessibility of the Internet education.


From A Student to A Teacher

For creative purposes Gretchen Andrew got herself a studio in San Francisco and went deeper into digital ways of teaching. She made the whole “How To” content, which ranges from How to Stretch a Canvas and How to Draw Hands to How to be Sexy, How to Get Drunk, How to Walk in High Heels, How to Do a Kick Flip on a Skateboard.

“Looking on something like YouTube is really interesting because it works on a supply side and a demand side simultaneously,” Andrew says. “So you get people creating content that no one is watching but they’re still creating. Then you get large corporations, like wikiHow, using Google search tools to see what people are searching for and then creating content based on that demand.”

HowToHowToHowTo. Gretchen Andrew’s Exhibition

HowToHowToHowTo. Gretchen Andrew’s Exhibition


A Tool for A Social Change

The most interesting topics she explored were about how to achieve physical perfection (bigger lips, legs, hips, hair, etc.). For all those body parts Andrew made GIFs of herself diligently trying to follow the absurd instructions. “I knew that buying these creams or taking these pills weren’t going to make me perfect,” she explains. “But you don’t necessarily know the exact texture of the failing until you go out and try. I knew that writing a novel would be difficult too, but now I have a better idea exactly how difficult it is and what exists between the YouTube videos saying do these exercises and then actually doing them. It acquaints you with yourself in a much more intimate way.”

Even after making such an ironic exhibition, Andrew still believes the Internet really has the power of educating and changing one’s life. The question is, she thinks, if we are active enough to seek it independently from social media influence. “As algorithms are more and more certain about who we are, what we like and don’t like, what will hold our attention and be worth the advertising dollars, using the internet to change who are is a form of resistance. In that way, I think YouTube is best positioned to fulfill the potential of the internet as a tool for social change. But like all tools it can be ignored or misused,” says Andrew.

HowToHowToHowTo. Gretchen Andrew’s Exhibition

HowToHowToHowTo. Gretchen Andrew’s ExhibitionHowToHowToHowTo. Gretchen Andrew’s ExhibitionHowToHowToHowTo. Gretchen Andrew’s Exhibition


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