This assignment was to imagine a character, create an online presence for said character, write a Wikipedia article about them, create a documentary video about them, create a conceptual art installation, and throughout, document the experience from both our personal perspective and the created perspective of the character. Below are the Wikipedia article and journals.
Marina V. Ryland (artist)
Marina Ryland (born April 22, 1990) is an American artist best known for her brightly colored, neon photographs that challenge the acceptance of urban development into farmland in America. Her work’s bizarre mash up of architectural images and bright, fluorescent colors are meant to evoke a sense of foreboding, and conjure images of chemical spills and nuclear explosions destroying the earth. Ryland currently lives and works in New York City, NY. Born in Denver Colorado to Sabrina and Jay Ryland, Ryland has expressed a love for art from a young age. She graduated from Cherry Creek High School in 2008 and from Parsons the New School for Design with a BFA in Photography in 2012.
Ryland’s earliest work consists of a series of portraits titled Walks in which she shot images of people she talked to on walks around the city, categorized into themes based on the places where the photographs were taken. Short captions underneath each photograph reveal stories that the person photographed told Ryland. The captions are meant to cause the viewer to rethink assumptions they may have made about the person in the photograph.
Building connections through city-wide events, events sponsored by Parsons the New School for Design, and an internship with artist Martin Kline, Ryland has secured recognition for her unique work and has won multiple awards from art magazines and websites. In 2008 ArtReview named Ryalnd in the Top 100 up-and-coming visual artists of the year.
For the past two years, Ryland has been constructing a series of images depicting body parts and variations in skin- such as freckles, moles, and fingernails. The highly stylized images celebrate different body types and skin tones. Ryland said of her work, “People come in all different shapes and sizes. We don’t question the natural inconsistencies in nature, we accept their beauty for what it is. It should be the same for humans.” Upcoming exhibitions include one opening at the CUE Foundation Gallery in New York City, set to open in November of 2014. Ryland will also be in a film by director/filmmaker Ian Schneider, titled Forever, She, which is projected to be released in late 2014.
Ryland has faced some criticism for an apparent lack of originality. Some argue that her work appropriates mass produced images that are not necessarily open to public usage, such as those published in newspapers, magazines, or advertisements. Influential art critic, Roberta Smith, said of Ryland’s work after a gallery opening in Chelsea in 2012, “The collaged images that could be used to make the overall banal subject matter provocative, eye catching, and new, are instead flat, predictable, and ultimately trite.”
 Cherry Creek High School. Accessed October 29, 2014 http://cherrycreek.cherrycreekschools.org/Pages/default.aspx.
 “Marina Ryland | Artist Biography, Artwork for Sale | Artsy.” Artsy. Accessed October 29, 2014.
 Kline, Martin. “Martin Kline.” Martin Kline. Accessed October 20, 2014. http://martinjkline.com/.
 Rouhani, Elaine. “Top 100 Up-and-Coming Artists.” Art Review. December 15, 2008. Accessed October 19, 2014. http://artreview.com/power_100/power-100-lists-from-2002-through-2008/.
 “Marina Ryland | Artist Biography, Artwork for Sale | Artsy.” Artsy. Accessed October 22, 2014.
 “CUE Art Foundation.” CUE Art Foundation. Accessed October 22, 2014.
 Smith, Roberta. “Chelsea Art Galleries Struggle to Restore and Reopen.” The New York Times. November 2, 2012. Accessed October 29, 2014.
We started building a Facebook profile for our character, Marina V. Ryland, whose name and hometown (Denver, CO) are a result of an online random name generator. We don’t have much for her except that we know she’s a recent graduate of Parsons with a BFA in Photography, and that she lives and works in New York City. Setting her background up like this is easier for us because we can take photographs around the city and friend people who go to Parsons without it seeming out of place.
Today we began photographing me for the face of Marina Ryland, our character. We started off thinking that she should have a “boyish” look so we used Sergio’s clothes as her costume. I had on dark smudgy eye makeup and dark red lipstick. I wore a beanie and a scarf and carried around a camera- we wanted to make her look super artsy. We took a series of shots and Tiffany will put them up on the Facebook page at some point. Sergio’s going to start creating her art, I think he has some photographs from his friend that we can use to create her body of work.
I felt very different from myself when I was in costume, I felt like I looked really different because I was wearing something that I normally judge other people for wearing, like the whole “artsy” look is just so pretentious and silly and so basic I just would never wear the outfit that we put Marina in. But it’s funny because Sergio and Tiffany didn’t think I looked different or weird at all, even though I felt so different.
We shot some more photographs and worked on posting to the Facebook page. We also decided what kind of art to make for her- something that we could generate quickly and easily. We decided it would be parts of people’s bodies- fingernails, noses, freckles, that kind of thing and that the work would be about celebrating the beauty of humanity, or something trite like that. Mainly we focused on building up her online presence- posting things on Facebook and changing the date of the posts so the page looked like it went back until at least 2010. We also took a lot of pictures of our character as she participated in the filming of an art project by another group’s character. Plus, we started filming the video that is due for Langdon’s class.
What I noticed today that I hadn’t really thought about before is that because I’m the face of this character, it’s very possible that people we’ve been friending on Facebook, specifically people who I haven’t formally met or who don’t know my name but who have seen me around, will think I am Marina. Especially since there’s no hiding that the pictures of “Marina” are me- she doesn’t have blonde hair or a different haircut or different colored eyes even, it’s very clearly me. And her name begins with an M like mine does which will add to this illusion I think. It’s all very disconcerting, and I’m afraid that even at the end of this project when we post to the page that it was fake, and that this was for an assignment, there will be people who have not gotten the memo. I guess it’s not that big of a deal if people think I’m named something different but it is unsettling nonetheless.
Today there were five new friend requests on our character’s Facebook page, and four new messages, three of which were from random guys that we hadn’t talked to before. I haven’t opened the messages because I don’t want it to come up on their page that “Marina” has seen the messages because that will come off as an invite to keep chatting us. I unfriended about ten random guys on our newsfeed that we randomly accepted. I knew we would get creepy messages if we chose to have a female character so this isn’t surprising, it’s annoying. We now have 109 friends.
Today Sergio and I finished screen-shotting the list of Facebook friends and messages that Marina has. (As of today the number of friends is at 156). We’re planning to use the list as part of our installation- along with the beanie and dark red lipstick that are integral parts of the Marina character. Looking at the sheer number of people who have accepted friend requests from “Marina” and who have friended her, it’s interesting to think about why these people have accepted requests from someone they don’t know. There are people from all around the world that we couldn’t have possibly met who have friended this character. One girl kept chatting us because she believed that we had gone to school together at some point, which is fair to an extent, but we still never met her, and even after we stopped responding to her, she asked us if we had an Instagram. I wonder if that’s part of the culture of Facebook or of having profiles online- that you interact with people you don’t know. Or maybe it’s about having the highest number of friends on Facebook. Maybe people trusted this character because she comes off as normal and genuine.
Journals (From character’s perspective)
Today my brother, Daniel, and I went out to get dinner with our friend Chance. It was so nice to see Daniel again, because he still lives in Denver I only see him during the holidays but he always makes sure to see me when he’s up here in the city. Chance took some photos of the night, and I brought my camera along as well to start shooting for an upcoming series I’m working on. I don’t think Daniel minded that I was stopping every three minutes on our walk to the restaurant to take photographs, he understands at this point that it’s just part of the job.
I couldn’t get any work done today! I just spent the whole day on the computer. I’m really trying to promote my facebook page through my personal profile but it’s super hard. Like only seven people have liked it so far. There’s an option on Facebook where you can pay money to have the site promote your page, but I’m not sure if I want to spend money on this yet. My art dealer insists that an online presence is vital to selling art nowadays but I’d like to stick to the old fashioned way. That being said, I have set up a tumblr with Chance’s help a couple days ago that I’m going to start posting my art to. I’ve seen a lot of other artists doing that with success so hopefully that will work for me too. I’ve also started vlogging! I got so inspired by watching videos on YouTube today that I decided to try it for myself. I guess it’s another way of getting my name out there and interacting with people on social media.
Today I had a video shoot with the very famous, very talented film maker Ian Schneider. I can’t believe I was able to be a part of something as monumental as this! This is one of the major benefits of going to art school- you make unbelievable connections that get you places like this. The only reason I was able to be in this film is because I know the camera assistant, Will, who I went to school with. He’s been working with Ian for a couple years now and suggested me to the man himself! I was really nervous at first, but it ended up going really well. Ian had a whole plan right off the bat so all I had to do was listen to his direction. He was a little bit snippy but still so cool to work with. Everyone on set was really nice. I hope I get to do something like this again soon! It would totally help my career if my name showed up in the credits of an Ian Schneider film, my work would hold a lot more weight, and I would definitely get more gallery openings.
I’m doing a follow- up interview today about the Ian Schneider film. I think they want to ask me what it was like working with him or whatever. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t my favorite thing to do but I’m obviously not going to say that on camera. What if Ian saw it?? My career would be over! I hope they have a professional makeup artist for the interview so I look really good. I know there’s going to be one for the interview I’m doing with that art magazine next week. They always have makeup artists on hand for that kind of thing, and I would think with someone as famous and important as Ian Schneider there’s bound to be one there.