You and me: models of self-representation in participatory culture
AffiliationSchool of Art
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2014 Kristin McIver
This research project examines personal identity and its relationship to social media. The new genre of mass self-portraiture - the ‘Selfie’ – is a particular focus and how social media platforms encourage an increasingly standardised model of self-representation. The thesis also examines how participants in digital consumer culture become both the subject and object of the production cycle. The thesis proposes that ideologies served to consumers through traditional and social media, empowered by advancing technologies and driven by market forces, become referents for new models of self-representation. Computer logic imposed on the participants of social media interfaces informs their behaviour, while the awareness of persistent observation also induces an ever-performing self. Artists such as Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Barbara Krueger and Gustave Courbet - and their approach to identity, representation, and the interrelatedness of subject and object - are examined in the context of today’s participatory culture. The thesis observes identity’s new status as commodity in the data-driven information economy as participants engage in their cultural production. The Typecast works presented in the exhibition examine the phenomenon of the ‘Selfie’ image, and how mediated ideologies and technological limitations inform a mirroring of the ‘real’ and the ideal on the shared online stage of social media. The series of small-scale, square format, black and white digital prints mounted onto timber backing boards, each with a mirror mounted in the back, is installed (predominantly in profile) to the gallery wall. The text-based works describe, using the language of the screenplay, new emerging conventions of poses and gestures common to many ‘Selfie’ images. Alongside these works is a neon sign mounted to the wall, which reads ‘YOU AND ME AND YOU AND ME.’ Its medium is listed as ‘Neon, an indeterminate number of viewers,’ indicating that the artwork is not complete until observed by one or more viewers. The work refers to the increasingly interdependent and ambiguous roles of consumer/producer, subject/object, performer/ audience that are emerging in participatory culture.
Keywordsidentity; self-representation; social media; participatory culture
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- School of Art - Theses