At the outset I had planned to create a fake Instagram profile, inspired by Amalia Ulman, taking cliched photos to build a persona that I felt summarised the ideals and trends of the platform. However after collecting selfies and photos on my phone I felt confused about what I was trying to communicate and dissatisfied with the poor quality of the images. I was also confused how this would translate to an exhibition setting. The results would not have been analytical or subversive enough for my aims.
After researching the work of Stanley Donwood I experimented with the idea of applying coloured inks mixed with varnish to metal to achieve a shiny, reflective look. I did some test swatches on a scrap piece of metal I found in the studio. The results were disappointing and in the meantime I had begun the effects of ink and househol products on paper, going on to edit these in Photoshop.
I chanced across the work of Boo Saville while browsing Pinterest. I was specifically interested in her bleach paintings. By using black fabric as her canvas and bleach instead of paint she produced ghostly, x-ray style images that appeared to glow. I thought this would apply well to my concept as it could visually represent electrical currents. The similarity to x-rays could also represent the concept of seeing ‘through’ online profiles. I rejected this idea after most of my time was taken up with editing my video, as well as after considering that a very traditional looking canvas would not tie-in well with the digital nature of the video and projector.
I discovered John Baldessari’s work recently as he produced the artwork for one of my favourite musicians, Andrew Bird. While looking him up I became interested in his _ works. These juxtapose photographs and film stills of men, women and children with words that apparently describe their expression or mood. This conjures the idea of a visual dictionary, a documented reference of how to read human beings. Of course these matters are subjective and the images could well be taken out of context. But it encourages the viewer to consider how interactions could be misinterpreted, especially when observed as an outsider, as well as to question our own internal ‘visual dictionary’.
I experimented with this idea by printing a selection of my own Facebook profile pictures and coupling with words that I felt described either my intentions when I posted them, or the interpretations I was trying to inspire in others. I found the results to be clunky, too literal and too inward looking, to be pursued. However I am still interested in the ideas it has sparked and would like to explore them in future. It reminded me of a rejected FMP proposal where I had the idea of exploring the various ways human interactions and behaviour can be misinterpreted owing to context and personal or cultural influences.
I had more ideas for tutorial-style videos outlined but struggled to find the time to film them due to feeling conflicted about which direction to pursue. I regret not having more footage to draw on but on the other hand perhaps having too much of this themed footage would have distracted from the primary aim of sparking a sense of being swallowed by the digital age.
After visiting the “Party Booby Trap” exhibition I considered producing a ‘giant pixel’ video, with square block of colouring flashing an shifting across the frame, inspired by their screen hanging above the ‘self-help desk’ installation. This would have also fulfilled my original idea of having two screens in the space, opposite each other, so that they appeared to interact in some way and when viewers stood between them they would imagine the sensation of signals being transmitted through them. I regret not having thought of this idea earlier as I felt it would have been more effective than the secondary elements I exhibited (projector, 404 message)
I came across Marie Angeletti’s work when visiting the Champagne Life show at The Saatchi Gallery earlier this year. In her work she explores the visual saturation of the internet by collecting related images from a Google image search. “They are juxtaposed, spliced together, scanned, rescanned, photographed and re-photographed – these acts of continual reproduction distance the image even further from the subject it supposedly indexes.” I felt this related to my own ideas surrounding visual overload, the blurred lines of reality and falsehood, invisible connections and the ‘intelligence’ of online software that creates them. This would be an interesting process to consider including if the work were to develop further in future.
I discovered Jean Faucheur’s work whilst researching for the previous project. He carefully dissects and reassembles photographs, usually portraits, making use of geometric shapes and circle patterns. I considered using a similar technique weave together profile pictures and selfies of one person so create a multi-faceted portrait. I also considered combining an online photo with it’s HTML source code, or extreme close ups of it’s pixels, for another level of deconstruction. I rejected this idea as once the project progressed it became less focused on image and individuals and more with transmitting the sensations we are all familiar with relating to technology and social media.