In this part, we are asked to pick one favorite signifier from the taxonomies research, and by doing mind map, we analyze the significance and relevance of it. Finally, develop an artwork from it based on the ideas on mind map.
My theme is identity, and my topic is relate to how social network and digital identity have affected our life.
Signifier–identity document: credit cards, IDs, codes, numbers and etc.
I choose this signifier because digital identity is an essential part of our identity of a person in this era for my generation and future generations. It is very relevant in terms of time, history, individual and society. We identify people using numbers and codes like the way we label products. It flattens out collective individuality, however, as human being, we are all unique in our own ways. In this digital era, we all seem to be the same like products in supermarket but with different barcodes. Identity has become mechanical and impersonal.
I was going make a silicone mouth. However, since I am not able to do work this weekend, I did not find enough time to get materials. Therefore I choose alternative materials which are fabric and plastic resin (the material used to make actual cards). I wrote down the numbers which indicate my identity without a sense of order, such as ID number, photo number, emails, apartment number, and etc. Then I pour the plastic resin onto the fabric, I slightly wrinkled the fabric in order to give a texture that imitates human skin. After it dried, the texture of the fabric was fixed. By using these two materials, I want to demonstrate the idea of that our identities as a living human being are “locked” by all the superficial indicators in this digital world.
1.When was ID number first invented and how did people react to it?
In the US, Social Security number was not for everyone since Social Security was only for certain workers. The Social Security Act passed in the Democrat-led Congress in August 1935.
“When economist Edwin Witte helped develop the Social Security Act of 1935, the numbers were solely a way to keep track of the new retirement payment system.”
There was a concern of government being overreach and some “were very frightened of giving the government the ability to have a number to track people,” Witte says. It is still a debate today, I believe.
2.How has facial recognition change our life?
Our faces are exposed everywhere and surveillance systems identify people with their faces. Faces have become a new form ID and data. We are being tracked easily. However, facial recognition does not see person with sympathy which means that our personalities and individualities are flattened out. I think that facial recognition is the ultimate method of surveillance since it directly leads to the person’s physical existence. In spite of the convenience facial recognition might have brought to the systems, our privacy is definitely violated by technologies. Our personal information are held by government and people who we do not know. It can be problematic.
3.How important is it to have a digital identity?
Identity is our human right since the moment we were born, and so we have the identifiers such as birth certificates, passports, and state issued IDs that mainly form our digital identity. In a increasingly digital world, we seem to have no right without a valid ID. Without a ownership of one’s identity, a person does not have all the rights and cannot participate in normal social life. Without a valid identity, the person is basically excluded rom the society and is visible. It is ironic that identity is something that you are born with but has to be registered to have effects. It is also ironic that we do not have complete ownership to our digital identity. Personal information is leaked everywhere by doing simple things like taking a survey online or open an account online.
The material I choose are resin and fabric. They are related to my signifiers of the artwork which are human skin and credit cards. Resin is one of the materials to make credit card and fabric gives a sense of softness and vulnerability of human skin. I think the materials connect to and support my content really well. By pouring the resin on to a piece of fabric makes the texture of the fabric and numbers on it permanent. It is like our human identity (represent by the fabric) is sealed and limited by the digital definition of identity. The first one with wrinkles gives a strong feeling of being limited and confined, and the second one, however, gives a sense of humor that the “skin” is stretched and there is no trace of organicity. I think it successfully shows the idea that our analogue feature and individualism diminish under the influence of technology.
The signifier I choose is fingerprint. Since fingerprint is something organic and unique that only is created by nature, I wanted to present the content using a material that is not directly rom nature and shows no trace of living. I choose wire not only because of that but also because wire is a essential element in information transmission. I used wire to create a image of fingerprints to build a contrast between the analogue and the digital. The second one I made a shape that represents codes–a digital fingerprint. By putting them two together, the contrast between the nature and the technology is clearly shown, therefore I think the material I choose make sense.
Q: Which one is more successful/stronger in representing the topic with certain materials?
As a diptych, is there a strong comparison between the two and what do the correlation and comparison between them show you that is related to my topic?
For second diptych, what material could I use to add layers to the work?
What I learned in critic is that there is room for improvement and exploration for both of the content in terms of material and signifiers. I could add more dimensions to the work such as time and categories. For example, for the first diptych, I could manipulate the texture of the fabric to show the sense of aging, and for the second diptych, I could work with light and shadow.
For next three diptych I want continue exploring the signifiers and materials I choose for the first two since there is a lot potential. I might work with more materials or mediums such as light and thread. Materials that represent textures and content and have symbolized meanings.
For the 3rd one, I played around image deformation with a glass of water. The image I choose is a Vogue cover with text “women rule!” on it. Magazine images are one of the ways of distribution of beauty standards. In this case, by saying “women rule!”, Vogue gives out a definition of women beauty and it manipulates us to believe what it means to be women and be beautiful. By distorting and making the figures absurd and “ugly”, I want to deliver the idea that magazine images and supermodels are not the standard of beauty, and what it does is to manipulate our mind and mislead us to believe that there is a standard and a physical definition of beauty. It appears to me that the photographs are not strong interns of scale and the content. There are more options for me to present the project.
“include the whole glass in photo”
“can be a male” (more variation of the background image)
“can be a larger piece”
In this diptych, I focus on the topic of relationship and communication. In this digital era, people socialize through the Internet, and spent less time on communicating with and connecting to people face to face. Our friend group is growing online and we know each other’s lives online. In real life, we are just alone with a smart phone. I continued working with fabric and it brings digital and analogue together. The background is Lovers by Rene Magritte. I choose this piece since the two people are kissing with a blind fold. I found it connected to the idea of getting in touch with people without meeting them in person. The internet is like the blind fold here. I think this diptych is more successful in the choice of material than previous one.
“use different type of fabric that gives a stronger feeling of human skin”
This one is a video diptych, and it is shown by split screen. On the left side, it shows the process of painting the orange white; on the right side, it is the process of me removing the paint by my hands. I found the surface of an orange is very similar to human skin. I use an orange here to signify an individual person. The white paint here represents the digital identity that the society and the internet put on oneself. When the orange is completely painted white, it sort of disappear into the white background. This implies the loss of originality and individuality by the influence of social media, since sometimes people loves to follow the trend of the Internet without thinking critically whether they like it. Therefore, it is action and reversed action in one frame. They contradict with each other in terms of content, which makes my claim more powerful. The way I edited it shows the processes at the same time which delivers a lot of information at the same time. I found it successful.
“editing shows contrast”
“The video diptych gives more of a sense of material that even the physical diptychs. Performance work creates a sense of vulnerability.”
“maybe more content”
“1970s feminist performance artists”