Monday, February 19, 2018

On Selfies

Selfies are an interesting topic to me because, as I expressed in class, I don't take many! Usually when it's time to pick a profile picture, I have to scroll through many, many pictures on my phone before reaching one that I would like to represent me. That's not to say I never take selfies, I just feel rather vain sharing them. 
To preface this, I don't like attention. I don't like putting myself out there for others to pick apart, and that's not an insecurity, I'm just a private person. I don't talk to a lot of people about the deepest matters of my heart, and I think that selfies can reveal a lot about a person-- stuff that I don't love to put out to the general public. I prefer candid shots, nature shots, shots that show something real about the world. My instagram is full of flowers, nature scene, and pictures of my friends and family. One of my favorite posts on my account, currently, is a series of photos my friend captured of my and my fiance. He wanted to a couple photo and I felt awkward, so it came out to be a series of pictures of me trying to run from the camera. It was candid, it says something that I'm okay with revealing, and that's why I like it. 
I cannot express enough-- I don't have an issue with people taking selfies, it's just not really my thing. Even when I don't look great in a group picture, I would much rather be posing with friends than standing on my own in a photo. Maybe I'm too critical of myself, but I find that sometimes, after I post a selfie, I look back at it and find issue with it. Usually my issue is, "I don't look like that!" I find that selfies, while they help us to look attractive, cater to our best angles and, in my case, that's not realistic. I like dealing in reality and when I know how much time and effort went into taking and choosing the perfect selfie, it ruins the image for me. 
Like I said, it's complicated. 


Emilio Vavarella Studio Visit

It was so interesting to hear from Emilio! He is so young to be as accomplished as he is, and it's impressive to hear the things he has taken away from his experience as a young artist. I thought it fascinating to hear that his inspiration is drawn from fields of theoretical research and philosophy-- in addition to traditional artistic inspiration. I have chosen to share the clip below because I was struck when he mentioned that his original inspiration in high school was drawn from surrealism and Dadaism. We spoke about this topic briefly last week in class, when we briefly discussed Dadaism in relation to nihilistic memes. I shared an article in my last post which talked about the fact that nothing is new, and the nihilism of millennial's humor and memes is reflective of Dadaism. It's fascinating that Emilio originally took inspiration from similar sources!


Google Arts and Culture

I had so much fun with the Google Arts and Culture app. I'm embedding my tweets below, but it made me laugh! Some of the results did bear some resemblance to me, although the two I am sharing first were apparently the closest matches. The first one reminds me of pop art, the second one reminds me of a drawing I could have done in fifth grade. I'll leave it to you to decide which one is a more attractive semblance.


As for the side profile....oh man! I don't know about that! Is that really how I look, Google?

Google Arts and Culture is a fun app, but I can certainly see how people might have issues with the results-- particularly, people who are not of European descent. I don't know which library the app draws from, but there certainly does seem to be far more art representative of European culture. The one thing I can say for sure is that it's a fun app, and not to be taken seriously at all. After leaving class, I got dinner with a friend and she and I had a good bit of fun messing around with the app's capabilities.

Daily Digital Alchemies 2/13 through 2/19/18
Oh, Charlie. Charlie, my dude. His dumb, adorable face lends itself to memes.

A picture of my favorite area of my bedroom. My favorite candle, and my favorite not-so-little-anymore plant. I'm quite proud of him for surviving this long, but I definitely need to re-pot the poor thing.

Honestly I didn't plan on doing this one but I saw Hailey's idea for matching tattoos and I was inspired. Hailey, when we goin'? I'm committing to memes for life.

#SelfieUnselfie

Selfie:

Unselfie: 

Artist Statement:
I have chosen to share this selfie because it is a rare image of myself that I love, accompanied by a backdrop of one of my favorite places in the world. The shine of light spanning the photo is a crack in the screen, which I have manipulated to work in my favor. My unselfie is a photograph of my happy place, a peaceful spot in my home surrounded by people and things that I love. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Expanded Post:

Selfie:
What is seen: I took this selfie a few weeks ago in Hoboken, right on the waterfront in front of the Manhattan skyline. It's the first selfie that I have taken in a long time that I love, and I use it as the avatar for my professional/personal Gmail account. I believe that it is fairly representative of me, and it's a good picture.

What is unseen: There's also a subtext to this photo that would certainly not be picked up by the average viewer. The selfie is taken on the waterfront, with NYC in the background, but still very much in New Jersey-- which is how I like it. I love Manhattan, but I am glad to have it as the backdrop, and not the forefront, of my life. I can visit whenever I want, but the craziness can stay safely behind me while I focus on my life in the much quieter (but not too quiet) NJ.
Additionally, the light in this selfies is slightly blurred. You see, I have a crack across the front of my phone which, unfortunately, crosses over the front facing camera. It used to be a source of constant frustration to me, because it reminds me that I foolishly shattered my phone. However, this picture is evidence that I'm able to get past the frustration because one of the tenants of my life is that perfection is not only impossible, it's undesirable. By forcing myself to be okay with my camera, by learning to work with the cracks and making the light fall where I want it to--- it's sort of a metaphor for how I live my life. A selfie alone wouldn't reveal that. 


Unselfie:
This dresser is my happy place. It's full of things I love: makeup, jewelry, a stained glass lamp, and photographs of the people I love. I choose to share this unselfie because it's the view I focus on every morning as I get ready for work, looking at my makeup and jewelry and deciding how I will portray myself that day, while also looking at images of the people I love. Getting ready every morning is the most peaceful part of my day.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Memes and Selfies

I love that this class recognizes the importance of something as seemingly-silly as memes in the overall narrative that is digital culture in the 21st century. Memes are very important because, as I mentioned in class, they're a form of communication that we tend to take for granted. For example, I mentioned The Meme Bible, a gift I bought for my friends (10/10 recc, by the way, buy it immediately #notspon). When I looked through the activity book, I realized that the strangest thing about my absurd purchase, was that my parents would look at it and have no earthly idea what the book was about. The language is English, but it might as well be ancient Greek for the communication barrier. There are many levels to understanding memes, some far below the surface, and that fact is amazing to me.

In another meme-related note, I bought a game for my fiance for Christmas called What Do You Meme?, which is like Cards Against Humanity but with memes. To play, the dealer pulls a meme card which displays a photo, for example:


The players then throw down cards that have phrases on them, to correspond with the photo. The best photo/phrase combination wins. Perhaps this could be played by people with no understanding of memes, but I think that a huge element of the game would be missing. Memes have meta narrative and are best enjoyed when they are understood. 

Make Bank: Memes!

I live for memes, have I mentioned that enough times yet? I love them. I'm fascinated by them. I think they are a fascinating view into the mind of the current world, for better or for worse. My fiance sent me an article this morning from salon.com, regarding the bleak nature of millennial memes-- e.g. eating Tide Pods. The author compares the nihilism and absurdity of millennial humor to Dadaism, a movement that has been around for a century. It's an interesting look into how history repeats itself.

As for my memes:

Submission: 
The Most Fascinating Subject

Submission:
Nosedive (Black Mirror Meme)

Submission:
Nosedive (Black Mirror Meme)


Submission: 
Memes That Meme Themselves

Selfies:

In regard to selfies, selfies are a complicated topic for me. I don't think they're hugely empowering to people, nor do I believe that they suggest a desperate cry for help. I think they're pictures, as we have been taking for years.

Everyone wants to look good in pictures, and selfies allow individuals to choose how they portray themselves to the world. There is no inherent issue in wanting to post a cute, happy, sexy selfie. However, selfies tend to be correlated with vanity, which is another topic altogether. Vanity is a real thing that I believe should be avoided, primarily because it serves no one. To that end, I will include one of my favorite drawings by Charles Allan Gilbert, "All Is Vanity."

A picture speaks a thousand words
Selfies are not the problem. Vanity is the problem. Desiring beauty is not the problem. Being consumed by beauty is the problem. Being confident is not the problem. The desperate need for verification is the problem.

Personally, I don't take many selfies because I think the world is more interesting than my particular face, but I certainly don't think selfies are inherently bad. You do you, friend. The problem was never selfies, the problem is, as it always has been, the meaning beneath the selfie. If taking a selfie makes you feel better about yourself, absolutely do it, but also understand that your worth lies far deeper than what a camera can capture. 


DDAs, 2/6 through 2/12/18

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Welcome, February!

I am so glad that January is over.

100% me.

Some things that happened in January were cool though, like last week's Twitter chat! I'm so encouraged by the widespread class participation, and by the input of the open network participants. It's always so great to be reminded that our class is bigger than the four walls at Kean.

Something that I especially appreciate about digital art is that it opens up new possibilities. For example, photo editing is so accessible. I don't have to be a master photographer to know how to alter levels in a picture in order to enhance certain elements of the photograph.

Throughout the Twitter chat, I continually thought about DeviantArt and Fan Fiction.net. These two websites are prime examples of how digital art has shaped entire communities. Fan Fiction allows authors to create stories and poems about their favorite characters from T.V. shows, anime, books, or movies.  Deviant Art fosters communities of people who want to share their art, fan based or other, with the world. These two sites enable people to share their creative brilliance with the world, and are major hubs for artists who might not be recognized without the power of the digital world.

Regarding the Re-New-Media-Art project, I find it fascinating to discover fossils from the early days of the internet. Patrice and I discovered Olia Lialina's early e-lit piece, "My Boyfriend Came Back From the War," which shockingly holds up reasonably well today. After reading her biography, it seems she was far beyond her time, especially considering that it was created and posted in 1996. How crazy is that to think about?




Oh, Five Card Flickr. This is a great assignment, but a dreaded one for someone like me, who doesn't enjoy creative writing. That being said, I tried.


Here's the link to my finished work:

http://5card.cogdogblog.com//show.php?id=41448



Tweets (1/29 through 2/5/18)