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Final Major Project: Project Rationale and Objectives

Since starting the MA course, I have been interested in the topic of self and identity, and how this affects our performance in front of the camera. I am a person who does not like their photograph taken, almost to the point of phobia. Others around me are transformed when a lens is pointed in their direction. It is this reason that drives my interest. I want to better understand the difference between these attitudes.

‘Fractured Identities’ will be a body of work that explores issues surrounding self and identity in an online image-conscious world.

In my experience, we increasingly compare ourselves automatically to unrealistic portraits of others that we experience through online social media sites. These images of others are selected and edited by them to portray themselves as attractive and having fun. They do not necessarily show reality.

However, they are continued to be used as a basis upon which we judge ourselves. Focusing on the visual representation of ordinary life seen through anonymous faces in masks, I aim to understand these fractured identities better.

Questions that intrigue me and make we want to know more are:

  1. If an image can reinforce or disrupt the idea of our identity, what is it that causes this?

  2. What is the relationship between the view of our private self and our social self?

  3. What influences our choices for self-presentation online?

Project Objectives:

  1. Using masks to obscure the identity of my participants, I will produce a series of portraits of individuals and groups in mundane, everyday environments.

  2. As part of my ongoing reflective practice, I will consider how the resultant images can help make sense of our personal and social identities.

  3. I will reflect on my work (in my critical research journal) in terms of Gergen’s term “Social Saturation” which refers to ordinary people living with constant change. This change comes from the endless electronic messages and stimuli we receive. Under this sensory assault, our identity and the idea of self is broken down, and as a result, we change to meet the expectations of others. (Gergen 2010)

  4. The project will culminate in an exhibition housed during the two weeks commencing 23rd July 2018 at the Lansdown Gallery in Stroud. I will give an artist’s talk during the exhibition which will be videoed.

#February2018 #FracturedIdentities

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