Viscous Ltd Proudly Presents
I TOOK THE PICTURES BUT
THIS IS NOT A SELF-PORTRAIT
"You should do a self-portrait!"
It’s a prompt a number of people have suggested over time, and one I was always disinclined towards. What they wanted weren’t images of my self. What they wanted were pictures of a persona I wasn’t most of the time.
Instead, 2 years ago, I embarked on a piece of work to be something of an anti-self portrait that examined my aversion to partake in self-portraiture. An inverse reflection that also echoed and analyzed larger cultural syndromes.
We now live in the tango of a tangible existence and a technological one. Not only has it redefined normalcy, it has redefined the sensation of being. Symbiotically super-surveilled, we are submersed in an exponentially expanding virtual world of content and information, in which you can construct much of what is presented, a world that certainly boasts a brilliant spectrum of potential.
Questioning the self-portrait of contemporary culture is also to question “Where does the self lie?”in this context.
The self of contemporary culture has become a dichotomy of the projected exterior and the interior complexity that is the internal human condition. While we’ve always had the external/internal duality, what is new is that, in a cursory era, there are so many “selves” placed in the public eye that don’t begin to scratch the surface, along with a lack of inquiry as to what’s beyond them. The performed persona has begun to overwhelm the personal. And the modern rapidity of image consumption encourages a pixel-perfect self-perpetuation, a compulsion to keep up with shortening attention spans and fragmented focuses.
At the same time, for all its interconnectivity, our digital tether yields some disconnection on a deeper level, distracting and desensitizing us to the presence of a physical existence, catalyzing a new social dynamic that has surrendered so much of the tenderness of concrete human connection and social engagement.
This intersection has led to a psychological space we are unprepared for, conceivably coinciding with an influx of mental health issues that the electronic interface often fails to nurture.
Moreover, the new milieu compelled a hypervoyeurism.
To illustrate these themes, I built a facade, a set inside a deteriorating house, the beams, insulation, and pipes visibly peeking through. Then, I perpetuated my image within it via a live single-channel video feed and carefully positioned mirrors. I chose to shoot on film with a Polaroid Land Camera, tipping my hat to a spirit of traditional self-portraiture, and using this technique of capture to draw a stylistic through line from my own aesthetic history. The cords and cable release are kept purposely in frame. Altogether imparting a better sense of longevity, deliberateness, and introspection than internet age “selfies”, which have become the new face of the genre.
To house the photos, I created a specially made book as well as an analog, interactive device, prototyping and developing bit by bit, until finally obtaining both the function and visualization the thematic forces called for. The result is a unique viewing instrument called The Personascope. A mechanism with a sprinkling of irony, The Personascope places my own persona in a box on display, under a microscope, both an amplification of the hypervoyeuristic tendencies of the modern microcosm and an encouragement to the viewer to interact and examine further past the surface.
I took the pictures but by no means did this semblance fully represent my “self”; the true portrait can be found in the marriage of my process, devices and the journey behind them.
Without further ado, please enjoy!
6.25 x 8.25 x 3” Shadow-Box Type Viewing Instrument | Encases 13 -5x7” fine art prints.Interchangeable via an image slide
Examinable via a magnetically tracked eyepiece.
For both display & interactivity.
7x9” | 32 page | Inset Thread-stitched Photo-book | Blind Debossed Linen Hardcover | Enticing Die-cut Transparencies | Magnetic Closure | Crash Numbered & Signed | Made to order in a limited edition of 125.