How things can change! I was made aware by a few people who had tried the early tests of my VR piece that the environment wasn’t necessarily a Church to them. The comparison given was the U.S. Capitol building.
I spent a considerable time focussing on a religious setting after the influence my research paper had had on my practice. From the beginning I focused on the Internet as a physical space and the architecture within it. Hearing the users experience made me feel that the environment is comparable to both a political and religious setting, which, given the nature of the internet, I didn’t dislike. Though, admittedly it wasn’t intended.
I’ve kept what was originally designed as a church / chapel going against what I’d decided a while ago.
I’ve reflected on the Internet as a comparable institute to religion and still believe that its use and ability creates a similar social structure based on live information. For example, stories of discrimination, abuse, or any injustice are shared and commented on. These are seen and read by tens of thousands, creating a collective social view on that injustice. The main issue with this idea is that internet communities are more secluded than I’d originally thought. The stories of injustice I see on my Facebook timeline are personalised to the community I’m a part of. If I lived elsewhere, in another community, it is a different story. (Of course this is a simple and obvious reflection that can be seen in any community online or offline).
This couldn’t have been made more obvious by Brexit. Since Friday, Facebook (and most other social media) has been set alight with emotion both positive and negative. Some of the posts have been horrendous, some very enlightening, however, the best one I read was a friend from Nottingham uni. He wrote:
“……and proof that my newsfeed is a terrible measure of public opinion”
I don’t want to digress to Brexit, but this comment gives the perfect insight into internet communities.
Back to the religious comparison. This idea has made me realise that although the spread of information allows for quick solidarity and reaction to significant events. It is also tailored to you as an individual and therefore doesn’t give you the insight of all points on the spectrum. I’ve always felt that the best way to understand a story or an idea is to read from both ends of the argument. This is in some way lost by the monetization of the net, and its focus on your individual experience (This is mostly true for social medias).
I’ve gone slightly off topic but the idea of Gateway is to highlight the importance of the viewer’s input.
I will post some more recent examples of the VR experience I’m building in due course.
I finally had a bit more success 3d modelling my work in multiple online identities. At first I was using drawings and duplicates to represent this. I’ve been playing with the Array modifier in Blender and it works beautifully to re-imagine this concept. The aesthetic is much more realistic.
‘Profiles’ series. 2014 / 15
‘Profiles’ Series 2016:
Following on from the work I produced for the pop-up. I want to delve a little deeper into what it means to be a social creature on the internet. The work ‘Empires4Egos’ was an unexpected outcome of looking into the prospects of Virtual Space, (by quite literally making it) and the narcissism of online identities. This isn’t so much to say that I think I’m being egotistical by creating an online gallery with my own work…, but instead reflecting the assumed egotism each social media user takes when creating their profiles. Through creating this page, we give access to others on how we look at our own lives. It’s very rare that users regularly post about the bad times in their life, and subsequently, what is posted, is the manipulated and curated version you wish others to see…. or at least to some effect. As with anything, there’s a spectrum and I’m certainly not saying that all Social Media users think this way. In fact, its mostly the minority extremists or even those who’ve found ways of making money through it who use it in this way. As with anything, you can use to a point of abuse..
Similar to any addiction, the addiction of posting about yourself is a narcissistic thing to do…. unless it actively benefits others. THIS post is really just to acknowledge the complex use of social media. 10 years ago I didn’t think I’d still be using Facebook, and I definitely didn’t think that it would be a necessary tool for me to engage with many of my piers…. but that’s what it is….
I’ve written in the past about Timehop and how it allows you to see what you did on a specific day 5 years / 3 years etc ago. This ability to look back with computerised certainty at your actions on the web and in reality make the idea of a diary very primitive. Facebook actively ask you if you want to see what you did years ago.. and in some cases its great… but personally I find that I click it simply because its just so weird, and I don’t keep a diary. Its a great strategy to poke you into getting in touch with old friends, and I can imagine it really does work… but its odd. Perhaps not as weird as the videos Facebook automatically creates with photos of you and your friends…. I’m comforted in the fact that its an algorithm and not a person going through these photos deciding the right pictures etc. It would bring a new definition of Facebook stalking if it was one of their employees.
Recently Essena O’Neill, a prominent Australian Instagram model has spoken out against the fake life she portrays online to satisfy the wants and needs of her fans (as well as her lifestyle and living). FINALLY!! someone earning thousands from pictures of themselves is admitting that theres no difference between social media as a platform similar to how glitzy magazines have portrayed models over the last 30 years. The only real difference is that the model has become the photographer, editor and publisher AND the photos they share show them doing “normal” things on just a “normal” morning…. (But thank you Essena, we finally all know that thats just not the truth, and its all a setup to feed the fans).
Its manipulation at its finest. Portraying a person online that you aren’t actually offline. Then again, the media professionals surrounding the worlds biggest stars also force this on their clients to benefit their image. (Kanye, Kim, Angelina Jolie, Justin Bieber, even Obama, though thats clearly not as grotesque.)
— Empires4Egos —
Even these guys aren’t having as good a time as they portray on social media: