Project Proposal V2 09112015

Working Title: 

Digital Identity and the Virtual Space Race


To investigate the response to virtual environments as physical space.

To understand the growing reliability of digital technology in the everyday, looking at both the positive and negative effects of media consumption / creation on individual and group identities, looking specifically at addiction and religion / spirituality.


– Attempt to unravel the effects of the digital on physical identity, and visa versa.

– 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 narrative. How does it alter our opinions, everyday decisions / habits?

– To represent digital identities through the use of online characters and figures / profiles.

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

– Investigate the prospects of Digital Architecture. i.e., to break down the structure of online communications to represent physical environments.

– Consider and try to determine a balance between physical and digital art practice with respect to the imbalanced use of the digital in physical, everyday life.

– Experiment with the balance of physical and digital art practice to fulfil my aims, both conceptually and aesthetically.


My main theme will explore online identity in the wake of commercial, public virtual environments. My process will be a mixed media approach using old and new technologies. As a technology enthusiast who mainly uses traditional art materials, creating the work is as much about the process and medium, as it is about the narrative. Using current technology only adheres to its impact and a strong focus on this MA will be to search for a balance between these elements.

On identity, I’m intrigued by the open array of profiles found online. The lack of corporeality gives each and every user the ability to customise and control who they are on the surface web. This is mainly seen through social media, forums or blogs, however this can be tangible in many aspects of online life, including religious and ideological views, these mostly remain covert. 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.

Within an individual, I will investigate the reliance and addiction of consumer technology on everyday decision-making and the impact of certain medias such as 24/7 news coverage and social media. On group identity, I will look at the emergence of disembodied religion, ideology and spirituality. This space is the busiest intersection of information traffic in history, I hope to represent these individuals and communities within this domain.

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 is based on books, scrolls, images, and videos, however with the potential emergence of virtual space, and a consumer interface to access it, this current structure could change to one based on corridors, rooms and public spaces. I aim to look into the possibility of digital architecture and the cultural identities it could form. 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. Clearly this isn’t a new concept, for example, Minecraft. Virtual / Augmented / Mixed Reality brings new possibilities to these ideas. This emergence is something I hope to capture in my work.

I am particularly interested in religious communities within virtual space, and the architecture of their forums. I will create environments aiming at visualising the inner workings of the internet and its traffic as well as the ideological or propagandist media that drives their message. The environements will be entangled linear compositions. Each line will represent a different string of information, interaction or communication on the web. By using fleeting technology such as the television as a window to this virtual space, I will consider the spiritual implications of individualised ideology and the shaping of modern cultural identity in a similar way to that of the traditional stained glass window.

Current consumer technology is not yet at a point of automatic response. This reliance on the user to turn on the device will be reflected by the necessity of an audience members presence in front of the final works to reveal their narratives. These narratives will be based on the concepts described above. By creating reactive paintings unable to release their narrative without an audience member present, I hope to represent this interaction between the physical and the digital. I will also create an accessible virtual environment to consider my productions from a digital perspective. This will take the form of an open portfolio / gallery website or VR environment. This will allow the audience to view the works from both a physical and digital domain.

Im inspired by Manet, Delacroix, Caravaggio, Courbet, Millet, Masaccio, Magritte and Dali. More contemporary inspirations include Bridget Riley, Jenny Holzer, Chris Ofili, Sol le Witt, Nam June Paik, Jon Rafman, John Baldesarrri, Mehreen Murtaza, Rafael Rozendaal, Pipolotti Rist, Mark Lombardi and others.


I will continue to research current artists and technologists looking into similar work, as well as topical academic concepts and events surrounding my research. These influences will guide me through my experimentation with this area of research. I will continue to experiment with the balance of process in modern art practice.

My process will aim to filter physical experiments through digital processes and back into physical paintings / installations, that are only visible / understandable from digital interaction. This methodology in itself explains the confusion between these two opposites, and hopes to give a better understanding on the ambiguity in the relationship between the two.


To de-construct digital identities and create comparisons with their real life counterparts, through multi-media paintings and installations that in themselves only just find the balance between the physical and digital.

To keep a realistic representation in figurative work, whilst including the influence of online identity present in social media. In a similar way to Realist painters, I wish to represent Modern Life in the way I see it.

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

To reflect the possibilities of virtual environments.

To experiment with the inclusion of the digital with traditional methods, such as oil painting, and to find its use within traditional formats, art production and display.

Work Plan: 

Week 1-5:

I’ll start by looking at human anatomy, and the crossovers with

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 bibiliography. 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 visa versa.

Week 5-20: Consider the software and hardware necessities to realise hopes for the inclusion of reactive technology in the work. Consider any signficant or smaller changes within the project. This is simply in case there are a series of failures in a certain field.

Look into Blender Modelling from 2D hand drawings.

Week 20-30:

Begin Research Paper. Experiment wit the arduino / Led circuit to create the reactive paintings.

Week 30-60

Continue on Research Paper

Begin Website Build

Weel 60 – Onwards:

Finish Research Paper

Curate blog for Unit 1 Assessment

Consider the experimentation of Unit 1 to further my work into Unit 2. Specifically looking at the processes from physical drawings to digital abstraction and back into paintings.

Finish Website.

Use the canvas as a smoke screen for the narrative on virtual space, recreating these windows (televisions) conceptually both physically and digitally.

Create Maquettes of the windows to continue their evolution approaching the interim and final shows.


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.

Virilio, P. (2000). The Information Bomb. London: Verso.

Turkle, S. (1984). The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit. New York: Simon

and Schuster.

Shaw, D. (2008). Technoculture. Oxford: Berg.

Pattison, G. (2005). Thinking about God in an age of Technology. Oxford: Oxford

University Press.


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