I was thinking about communities (and micro communities), where they exist, and how they work. Perhaps partly because of working with Digital Makers Collective this brought me to looking online.
Looking at online communities, I was thinking about:
– the presentation of an idealized version of self
– our relationship with ourselves, and a sense of ‘otherness’ from our identity
– how we archive ourselves and create legacy, an online afterlife
Following on from the idea of idealized self, these pictures (and ones from other locations) as a window to a fantasy world, the stories I see as an act of invention, the perfect worlds I generate in imagination, and how I react to that – will I choose to undermine them by imagining negative events, or buy into the fantasy, which is essentially a compassionate, affirmative move.
I think these pictures describe peoples lives and feelings, a contemporary fragment of human experience which can be ignored or denigrated. Essentially, social media is an act of self creation. People offer themselves up into this gaze, as a result of hope, desire, loneliness or the desire to be noticed, which in all is the most human of ways to act. If people then act on that created self, could it become an action of becoming something created from your own fantasy? In a way, we immortalise ourselves in a construct of our own invention – a new kind of legacy, or afterlife, or shrine to ourselves. What will the archeologists of the future find when they dig into the fragments left behind? This complex relationship is why I think it is interesting as subject matter, and why it forms a kind of ethnography.
Here are some examples of digitally altered images approaching the themes above, in particular windows into fantasy worlds. The alteration is intended as a way of emphasising a fantasy, or otherness form ourselves, questioning the gaze it is intended for and how that affects representation. The changes I have made aren’t that extreme, which makes me feel that the line between humanity and inhumanity is a thin one.
The way a lot of platforms work is absolutely excessive levels of information, overwhelming amounts of fragments and pieces of other people. It’s really throwaway and momentary if it is allowed to be, and so are my pictures, if they are allowed to be, a gesture towards the fallibility if observation, both for myself or an observer (collaborator).
I have also made work about this as relatively small drawings, and in these as well, they have a quality of coming out of a dream, humanity or instance presenting itself gingerly, as an uncertain proposition, strange phantasms staring back at me.