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Typically, a phallus is used as a symbol of male power. In order to subvert this, I use the image of a substitute phallus to signify something that renders the male party redundant and removes the intimacy found in sexual encounters. Modern technology creates a distancing in communication – it is done online rather than in person. This can result in a feeling of powerlessness. In an attempt to regain my control, I chose the image of a dildo as starting point. The simulation of male genitalia allows me to take ownership of the phallus without the male figure it is typically attached to. Taking inspiration from the repetitive format of social media platforms such as Instagram, I use a stencil of 29 dildos to create a repeat pattern within my work. Each layer of the stencil reduces the visibility of the dildos, creating a subtlety that re-invites the intimacy lost. The viewer must be physically close to the painting to understand what the pattern is built from. By applying thin layers of white oil paint, I aim to give the paintings a sense of purity from the dense white. The repetition of this task reflects that of performance action; my labour of creating lost intimacy manifests itself through this painting. The contrast of the object and the white paint invites the viewer to question ideas of sexuality in relation to purity. My text-based work gives the viewer a way in by adding an element of humour and hinting the subject matter relates to the nuances of a one-night stand. The titles of my work further indicate a transactional form of physical encounter rather than an emotional investment. They suggest each party only considers what they individually gain or their individual needs in a physical encounter that is far more a performative act than intense partnership.
My work is concerned with how the self is communicated online and social media’s
influence on conditioning our experience of ourselves. Technology allows the manipulation
of imagery and ownership of that imagery. Exploiting the parameters of these two aspects,
I use appropriated imagery and specific techniques such as iPhone screen recordings: a
primary tool in developing my work.
The format of the IPhone is so familiar to those who have grown up in the digital age that it
often makes the information seem repetitive. The repetition of an action is the key to the understanding of my work. I use webcams to create performances that give a false sense
of intimacy. I use this technique to encourage the viewer to question if I am the subject or
the object of the work. I am interested in creating a performance of self, where I become a familiar character with specific traits, such as selfie taking, semi-nude and social media obsessed. Digital collages allow me to communicate my image in a recognizable format. I use the picture-within- a-picture technique to conceal aspects of the body, but also confront the viewer with a range of digital information both visual and text. This technique allows me to create multiple images of myself within the same frame to generate a fragmented sense of identity.
I am working with internet tropes such as the engineered hashtag, typically used for comedic or branding purposes. I use these as a call to action, encouraging the viewer to interact with the work by taking photographs, screenshots and re-uploading or sharing
them on the internet, thus creating a new author of the works.
I am using myself as a central case study to convey an online character. My aim is to build a brand from this character. Influenced by Bruce Naumen and Tracey Emin, I have created neon signs displaying my past google searches, giving a comedic importance to banality. The foot-high lettering appears to be installed on a peach coloured wall. These were posted on my Instagram. As they were posted amongst other works they lost the purity of the repetitive image. Social media gives a unique perspective on authenticity that can be stretched to create online fictions or, as Peter Hill describes them, superfictions. I am using Instagram to create a performance of self. I am interested in the commodification and fetishizing of the female body as an object. For this reason, I have explored gender stereotypes and the sexual connotations of women eating through thirty second videos on YouTube. This length is said to be equal to the ‘perfect’ pop song. I plan to create a script for posts across my social media accounts, taking inspiration from pop culture icons. A key influence of mine is Kim Kardashian West. She epitomises the ability to capitalise on her own body. Using the Kardashian’s technique of multiple narratives, I will feed different information to each account, leaving my audience to deduce which aspects are constructed.
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