The two images I have are beginning to get at some of these ideas. “Asking Google” is simply recording a process that many of us repeat several times a day, asking Google the answer to one of life’s questions. It begins innocently enough with questions we are likely to ask every day, but what happens when the Hive Mind becomes the only source for reasoning and major life decisions. Should a nameless, faceless, anonymous crowd be able to guide my choices?
|Four recent images from my “Social Portraits” series|
My “Social Portrait” images (of which there are more) simply take profile photos of an individual and create a new digital version of that person. It relates to facial recognition technology, the blurring of our digital identities, and challenging the idea that “more is more”. At a certain point (and I would argue that point is very early) there is information overload, and any information presented stops actually communicating anything. One of the authors I’ve been reading, Jaron Lanier, wrote in You are not a Gadget that while much is talked about the unlimited possibilities of technology, they are inherently limited as long as they are still used to convey information that is not natively digital. Just as a digital photo of a painting may communicate some of its attributes (the color for example), it can’t represent the feel of the canvas or the smell of the materials used, and even if a way was found to represent those things digitally, there would of course be other aspects of being physically present with the painting that a digital representation could not communicate. In the same way, we all have intricately managed profiles, identities, and self-descriptions online as an attempt to digitally represent ourselves. However, even though we know that those digital selves are inherently limited mediums, we are relying on them more and more for our identity formation, which leads to empty meaningless identities and vacant people.