REAL SELF IMAGE, 2015, iPhone and Instagram Filters. The images were made to be scrolled through on a screen to draw attention to the cultural fixation on identity and image. The Art of Face Mask Changing is considered a national treasure in China. The piece considers the art in context of social media. The word real is to establish something existing in the world. An image is posited as real and readily understood as falsifiable or of representing a story. Images are contained within a framework reconstituting an impression of an actual impression. The photographic’s relationship to the referent drastically changed with the advent of digital imaging technology. Manipulation became increasingly prevalent and image making became a form of painting. Image manipulation has been around long before photography, however, the apparatus of photography, facilitates a diving into structures of falseness and accuracy. The question is Real on what basis? From the 2000’s forward, unreal, would be almost impossible to pin down. Therefore Virtual, Tactile, Projected, and other words suggestive of qualities come to rescue conceptions of Real. Real Self Image looks at looking, and points towards the logical errors and oversights possible in reading an image. As Cletus Dalglish-Schommer described art movements in his course of Conceptualism to Post-Modern Art at Otis Grad Fine Arts, “trust me art”, implies trust, not only in the visual creations themselves but in the words affixed to the creation’s history. For an artist say say: I am telling the truth, will most certainly be met with: “there is no truth,” “there are only many truths,” “art is a lie that tells the truth.” Real Self Image is an attempt to point toward simultaneously toward the image and the viewer and ask: who decides? A hoodie with the word “REAL” is worn on the self-portrait of the artist wearing a sea-salt paste over the face. Both water and salt are repeated elements in the works of the artists, for their complex compositions and relationships to commerce and trade. Salt and water are among the most common, abundant resources on earth. Placing such commonplace materials onto a face with the “Passport Photo” expression points towards globalist movements promising liberation at expenses born of technocratic idealism. The scrolling aspect of Real Self Image may not immediately conjure memories of reading writing on scroll format; but is contained in the presentation to point towards the certitude of death. For if Identity supersedes Real, and Image supersedes Actual, the terms of value in life invert the values understood to be generative of life. The way someone or something appears may change the way they are understood within the viewer, but does not necessarily change what was actually there. The upside-down, single-reflex apparatus photography was built suggests turning things upside down to get a gain a thorough looking at, versus affixing materials or meaning to chromatic shades of spectral value. The tonal masks ascribed value or meaning, are a bit like grown-up colouring books and the self-portrait and viewer are the sites of value and meaning.
Real self image, 2015. Scrolling touch screen installation.
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