Facebook Experiment

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This project was the final assignment for my intermediate painting course. I created a project that questioned the role of social media. The question I wanted to explore through my work was, How does social media portray and shape identity? My plan was to paint three self portraits (attempt to portray my identity through oil paint on canvas) then take pictures of each painting, put these pictures on Facebook then take a screen shot of the pictures of the paintings on Facebook. The screen shot would be my final piece. My idea was to see how far social media could take my identity away from the original or real. By creating so many steps between my real self and my final self-portrait (Facebook screen shot) I was trying to symbolize how far removed social media (and how it portrays identity) is from reality – or has social media and how it portrays identity become reality?

Whatever my original intentions, interesting concepts developed out of the reactions and lack of reactions by people on Facebook. No one commented on my self portraits. Possible reasons discussed in class critique included a sense of anxiety over knowing these pictures were part of a project that involved the comments, a lack of appreciation for painting in the population that utilizes Facebook, and a lack of confidence in responding to paintings of this content. In contrast an art video I posted on Facebook received considerable attention and comments. Possible reasons discussed in class critique included the familiarity of video as a medium for the users of Facebook, a sense of confidence in responding to video and the content of the video being partially a newborn baby.

Check out the video here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-n-BJKE1aE

How do you think this piece relates to how social media portrays and shapes identity? What do you think is the significance of the lack of comment on my paintings in light of the abundance of comments on my video?

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3 thoughts on “Facebook Experiment

  1. So much of reaction is outside our control. When was the facebook experiment posted? Timing is everything. I did not see this page until Wednesday, so lost immediacy because of a holiday intervening. I love your concept, feeling that people love Facebook as it gives opportunity to shape their identity as they wish, instead of being vulnerable as one is face-to-face. Those that use Facebook the most seem almost frantic to present themselves as valid personalities with significance. By the way: I love your self-portrait, even your ear. It is you!

  2. That is it grandma, when we avoid the face-to-face interaction as we have with social media and even texting we remove our portrayal of ourselves as “valid personalities with significance” from reality. Even though the “other” person is not directly in our presence they become increasingly important. The viewer is essential in social media- Likes, Friends, Comments, Pokes.

  3. Geri, I was positive that I had left a comment because i thought it was completely thgought out and so beautiful. Or maybe I typed it in my head. I had intentions anyway. love GMA

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