Project Proposal V1 28102014

Working Title:

Digital Identity and the Virtual Space Race

Aims:

To look into whether man’s approach to the digital reflects that of reality, specifically through the cultivation and shaping of virtual environments.

To investigate the growing reliability of technology in the everyday and both the positive and negative effects of media consumption/creation on individual and group identities.

Objectives: 

– Decipher the differences between the ‘real self’ and digital identity by unravelling each individually.

– Investigate the effects of Media consumption and creation on the user’s reality by considering the specific elements of media and the way the user interacts with, or is engulfed with its subject or effect. How does it alter our opinions / everyday decisions / habits?

– Create or find characters/figures to exemplify the effects of technology and their digitally altered lives.

– Approach the idea of creation / customisation / alteration in virtual and physical space. Digital architecture?

– Break down the city and online networks to their key components of structure, power, space, complexity and culture.

– Experiment with the equilibrium of physical and digital process to best fulfil my aims, both conceptually and aesthetically.

Context: 

Digital Identity and its effects on reality will be my central theme. I’ll be making paintings/imagery, multi-media collage/installations and sculptures focused on de-ciphering identity and environment’s relationship with the digital.

On Identity, I’m intrigued by the open array of characters found online. Although users are fully aware of the publicity of the internet, many users still act as if your actions have no effect in real life. The lack of corporeality online gives each and every user the ability to customise and control their identities. This is mainly seen through social media, forums or blogs, however its tangibility is truly endless. You only have to watch Catfish, 2011, to understand its potential misuse, be it malicious or just plain shy.

The average net-user has the ability, if they choose, to express their views, share their ideas, or even just converse with almost 3 billion different worldwide users. This ability to communicate and contribute with these people is solely possible through the use of this network, and therefore our dependence on its growth is increasing. The more applications we find, the greater the dependence. The collective impression of your internet/technology use says a lot about who you are, and potentially even more than simply having a conversation with you. This culmination of data is the basis of your online identity and experience. This is a metaphorical idea, and no such ruthless data harvesting is known to exist, however the effects each of these online interactions has is on the individual’s reality and his/her own sense of identity.

I will be engaging with identity on a number of levels. First, within the individual, I will show the changes of personality and everyday decision-making brought about by the prevalence of consumer technology. Secondly, the identities of groups, belief systems and states, specifically their changes as they engage more frequently online. Thirdly, i aim to discover more about the creation of new and alternate identities online, and how they effect the individual in reality. Looking at the identities we see on the street, and now online, I hope to capture the honest existence in the everyday, and their technology dependencies, or lack there of. Media consumption and creation can pose an unexpected change in a user’s reality and identity. This digital media can be news, social media, google results, images, texts, videos, basically anything available online, that has been made to be consumed.

As I’m interested in representing the modern figure, I have taken to reading Charles Baudelaire’s ‘The Painter of Modern Life.’ This essay, from 1863, describes some of the key stylistic themes Edouard Manet used in his depiction of modern life. Manet, both traditional yet cutting edge, captured modern life in the way he saw it, as opposed to artists at the time who followed the trends of what were considered academic conventions. The raw and natural representation of the world around him, and his unrelenting view of it is a characteristic i wish to adopt. Other classical or painterly inspirations I will reference are Delacroix, Caravaggio, Courbet, Millet, Masaccio, Magritte and Dali. More contemporary inspirations include Bridget Riley, Jenny Holzer, Chris Ofili, Sol le Witt, John Baldesarrri, Mehreen Murtaza, Rafael Rozendaal, Pipolotti Rist, Mark Lombardi. Essentially my work, in the simplest of terms will present realist figuration alongside surreal, expressive, digitally inspired landscapes and settings. These will be abstract collages and impressions of our own landscapes and the imagined digital-scape. By decoding architectural drawings, city plans, maps, satellite imagery, network imagery, info-graphics, circuit boards and even the human body, I aim to find a theme within their structure, and combination.

Architecture completes a cultural memory of the area in which it stands. Deep in the cities, there are rows of buildings, each defining their own time. Just walking down one of these roads triggers a sense of physical history that reminds you what had been before. The internet’s current architecture, per say, is based on books, scrolls, images, and videos, however with the potential emergence of virtual space, and a consumer interface to use it, this current structure could be set to change dramatically. I aim to look into the possibility of digital architecture and the cultural identities it could form. A space without land, where the buildings hold influence from cultures from all over the globe. Its a classic utopian vision that any technophobe would cry at the thought of, though it is not entirely impossible, and thus i propose the idea of the virtual space race, except this time our mortality does not hold us back, only our interface, tools and imagination. Unlike real architecture, the user can customise their surroundings. The buildings within our reality are set in stone as the unchangeable landmark of someone else’s work. within this digital space, the user is able to control what the environment is made up of, and the elements within it, be it their own designs, or those of others,

Given the opportunity, will man cultivate and shape a virtual environment  in the same way he has the physical, or how will it differ?

Methodology: 

My research will be based on both physical and digital processes, with an aim of finding a balance. I will aim to include physical lighting, sound and sensors. Creating multi-faceted, sculptural paintings and installations will use a number of physical processes including mark-making, wax/clay cast/ wood sculpture, found and manipulated objects.

My work will aim to find an equilibrium between Realist mark-making and digital abstraction, Much of my focus be will be on the city, and its increasing connectivity with its inhabitants. As our cities become more dependent on technology, i will show this distinction physically within its representation. Although my primary skill is to paint, I will further my understanding with more technological processes, such as visual coding, 3D sculpting and image manipulation. I will add electronic elements to my pieces including lighting, projected film/animation and interactive sensors to capture the growing reliance on technology. These Digital elements could also be laser cut images, interactive sensors, projected animation or embedded lighting and sound effects. A lot of these digital processes depend on my ability to become confident with the software, and therefore I see these elements coming in later down the line. In the meantime, I will focus on painting/drawing and sculpture, with some photography and film elements.

Outcomes: 

To de-construct the crossovers between digital identity and the ‘real self’ through multi-media paintings and installations that in themselves only just find the balance between the physical and the digital.

To be true to the representation of figures and personalities in my work. I do not wish to alter reality to better my work, and instead aim to captured elements of modern life, and especially life in the way i believe it to come across.

To investigate the growing reliability of technology and both the positive and negative effects of media consumption on individual and group identities.

To harness the possibility of virtual environments in
everyday life.

To experiment with the inclusion of the digital within traditional methods, such as oil painting, and to find its use within traditional formats such as the portrait, triptych, altarpiece, frieze.

Work Plan: 

Week 1-5: 

I will begin by looking at the human anatomy, architectural blueprints and their similarities to the physical digital (circuit boards, tangled wires) and the imagined digital (info-graphics, networks, systems). I will establish a connection between their aesthetics as well as interconnect elements of their systems. I will mostly work on a surface, however I would also like to work on some sculptural elements, maybe clay, or wood.

I will look into using digital elements in my work. Whether it is feasible to include lighting and sound, and the software necessary to do so.

All whilst continuing to research my themes, adding to my photograph collection and bibliography,

My blog will be one of my main focuses, as it’ll track and record my progress. Although i will keep the blog moving, I also aim to maintain a physical sketchbook throughout my research, which will mirror and act upon elements of the blog, and vica versa.

Week 5-20:

Consider the software necessities to realise hopes for the inclusion of technology within the work.

Consider any significant or smaller changes within the project. This is simply in case there are a series of failures in a certain field.

Work on blueprints for exhibition work.

Week 20-30:

Begin Research Paper

Potentially begin main body of work.

Week 30-60:

Continue on Research Paper.

Definitely begin the main body of exhibition work.

Week 60 and onwards: 

Finishing Research paper, and preparing work for exhibition.

Bibliography: 

L. Manovich, The Language of New Media, Leonardo, London, 2002.

D Welch, Propaganda: Power and Persuasion, British Library, London, 2013

C Baudelaire, The Painter of Modern Life, Paris, 1863,

P Bennett, A Kendall, Julian McDougall, After The Media: Culture and Identity in the 21st Century, Routledge, Abingdon, 2011

E Kluitenberg, Delusive Spaces: Essays on Culture, Media and Technology, Institute of Network Cultures, NAi Publishers, Rotterdam, 2008

L Bang Larsen, Networks: Documents of Contemporary Art, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2014

G D. Taylor, When the Machine Made Art: The Troubled History of Computer Art, London, 2014

F Furedi, Culture of Fear Revisited, Continuum, London, 2007

C Paul, Digital Art, Thames & Hudson, London, 2008

J Berger, About Looking, Bloomsbury, London, 1980

M McLuhan,Q Fiore, The Medium is the Massage, Penguin Books, London, 1967/1996.

http://www.rhizome.org/

http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com

http://www.contemporaryartsociety.org/news/ct

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