or, how my art became Instagram
MY BLOG HAS LONG BEEN a mirror for my self-examination and self-surveillance. at the start of college, i made a Blogspot for my images of art processes—and a different blog for my writings. my process images soon migrated to the popular platform Tumblr, and years later they leaked into Instagram.
the private mirror of my blog gave way to the parochial social experience of Instagram. while my blog had facilitated my artistic exploration of image making, Instagram was a site of selfies and self-marketing. for a long time i was sharing nothing, merely gazing (without wit) down into IG's social feeding. how did this interface compromise how i consume and communicate?
“Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted.” —Susan Sontag
i made traditional and performative attempts to return IG to a (semi)private image-space, hack its social capital mechanisms, and null its gamification of my mind. my attempts at mindfulness acting generated the following batches of content:
i have always desired to participate in Lent, so this year i went a month without Instagram. my Catholic diet failed and I can prove it with metadata. here are the unique IDs to each post that i 'liked' during Lent:
i took my aesthetics and aescetics more seriously in my next attempt: involving myself in traditional fasting for Ramadan. each day, i had myself garnish evidence of my fast with an Instagram post of my Iftar ~ under post-sun sky. this was more successful than my Catholic diet. restricted to one post a day, my images also avoided social digestion in the feed because immediately after posting, I'd archive. why? do i have anxiety about setting myself up for potential public failure? more likely, i desire the self indugent aspect of Instagram, and found a loophole to skip on the social aspect. at the end, the Eid, i unarchived the month's collection.
last, i posted... not to Instagram, but to the various networks of actors in los angeles. i took the text of five famous Hollywood movie speeches and dubbed them. by *dub* i mean that chosen words were substituted so the text's communication is remixed. the new speeches dealt with various aspects of mediation, temporality, memory, and law. these speeches were printed onto unfolded 4x6” cards and pasted around Hollywood.
Hollywood Forever is a cemetary on Santa Monica Blvd in East Hollywood, where i would frequently leave oranges and look for celebrities. i thought a lot about how bodies are temporary and the idea of a spirit is comforting to the anxiety of that finitude. in a similar mind, any application is short-lived but an image could ostensibility be encoded onto a server's memory forever.
in los angeles, there are omnipresent cameras. everybody is a star. even homeless folx have basic broadband. they are some of the most featured security camera stars. as soon as a person arrives in los angeles, they become a special kind of actor and consumer devouring a hyper visual landscape of novelty and personality. the Self Brand Concept can be consumed endlessly within the affordable fetish of the image. los angeles is the type of city you discover once you lose yourself. this land of actors maintain the greatest and most dispersed media production of all time.
the other actors were not aware of my art, which became Instagram once i became aware of the actor i already was. my script and camera were machinic and aesthetically wed to the interface and the networked self (one technological world-viewer). this blog form has been a useful mirror to examine mediation and the mediated self. the fantasy aspect of the Self Brand Concept is needing more prodding however, next time in Hollywood.
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