Return from a Brief Hiatus

Ok, I’m back into real life now and its time to start up my art brain again after having temporarily decommissioned it post graduation. But I had my rest and am now used to the daily routine of things enough to start working my practice into it (part of which includes maintaining this blog if for nothing else than to keep me consistently involved in thinking and producing something).

So really the big question is, now what? I have my terminal degree, the sky is the limit, and yet there are times that the limitations are all I feel, of money, time, and practicality. One thing that I am working on is applying for a Fulbright research grant. I’m still working out the details, and I have 1 month to get the details sorted and everything turned in, but I want to apply if for nothing else than the experience of taking all those steps. My wife is actually applying for the english teaching Fulbright as well, so we’re doubling our chances just to see if there is anything there for us. It seems like it could be now or never, so we might as well take a shot, right. In addition, I’m making it my goal to find one good Fellowship/Grand opportunity that I can apply to in the fall. We wrote one for a class this summer, which I may still send in, but I think there may be better fits that will serve me better, so I’m gonna keep my eyes and ears open for the right opportunities.

Finally, I want to produce some work. And, since ultimately I want people to see what I produce, I’ve got my sights on a few shows that I am making work towards. Right now I am in the early stages of development, but I am building off some of the ideas and imagery of my thesis, and just continuing to push myself and the concept through interesting territory, hopefully hitting on some great work and opportunity to show along the way. I’ll be throwing out some ideas as I post about what I’m thinking, where I’m going, and ultimately what I want to communicate.
In the mean time, here are some images of me during the final Thesis presentation/defense.

Presentation of my Written Thesis (despite what looks like an empty auditorium, there were more than 30 people there, it was fun)

Sara Gersbach and I talking about my #foodsunsetcats video piece.

Introducing my visual thesis to the crowd.

Q & A from the thesis panel

5 into 1 show

I have work in the upcoming 5 into 1 show being held at Moore. Each year the show features work of graduating students from the 5 philly art schools. It’s great to be selected (along with sara gersbach) and be recognized for my work. I’m honestly using this as a trial run for a few ideas for my thesis, so it was nice to be able to see how a few things worked in print and in the gallery. I am slightly confused by the fact that when I submitted work, it was through my program director, Paul, who told us about the show as the 5 school show. However, the invitation card clearly calls it a “sculpture” show. Well, my work is clearly not sculptural (and neither is sara’s), but it was accepted in, so I guess I shouldn’t feel awkward about that. Anyway, the reception is on June 2nd at Moore in the afternoon, so come and check it out. These are the prints I got into the show, but really, you need to see them in person, full size.

Social Status, Jake

Social Status, Joe

Social Status, Mallory

Alone Together

This is an image of a lone figure, half emerged from the mist of an ambiguous crowd. The figure embodies some of the fundamental paradoxes of social media; it is unique yet vague, specific but indiscernible. This is a person trying to lay claim to identity through a technology that denies it.

“Alone Together”

Found Identity

One part of my thesis brings up a digital world problem of other people having more control over your identity than you. Think about it, each image that is uploaded with you in it tells a story about your identity, but it doesn’t have to be you that posted them. Friends or complete strangers that have snapped a shot of you can post and comment without your knowledge, and whatever that image says about you becomes a part of your digital identity. Since people tend to trust a third party’s description instead of someone describing themselves, these extraneous bits of identity are often taken as more legitimate than anything you could post yourself. This also means that interaction in the social media sphere is practically mandated if you want any say about your own identity. Each of us is in an uphill battle, fighting for control of our virtual selves, but its a battle that can only be perpetually fought, never won and often lost.
After thinking about this I decided to attempt to track down every image on Facebook that has me in it that I did not post. So far I have gathered 175 of these “found images”, and now I am taking those and reconstructing self portraits from groups of them. I don’t think its possible to retake my virtual identity, but at the very least I want to know how I am presented.

Found Image Self-Portrait

Thesis Mind Map & Translation

Here is my starting point for organizing my written thesis. Good luck trying to make sense of it all, but to me it actually helped to write out all the stuff that was trapped in my brain and to organize it on paper in relation to all the other stuff I’m thinking over. I’m excited about the directions my research and work are taking me.

A Mind Map is a terrible thing to waste
A Mind Map is a Terrible Thing to Waste

And believe it or not, all that turned into this:

Identity and Connective Technology
Table of Contents
1. Preface
2. Introductions
3. Colors that end with “urple”
            Technology Natives are Beating their War Drums
            How Technology is Reshaping our Brains (literally)
            Socrates Hates Calculators
            Why This is Different & the Same as Before & Why That Does not Matter
4. The answer is 42, now what?
            The Internet is a Commi!
                        Google as the “Dialectical Good Evil”
                        The Hyperlink Paradox           
                        “F” Reading
                        All Hail the Hive
                        Reorganizing is the New Innovating: the death of just about everything
           Identity Disorder
                        Centripetal and Centrifugal
                        Web 2.0 Gone Wild
                        Life is like a…
                        Blindly laying offerings on the altar of technology
That’s the current table of Contents for my written thesis. I’m sure it will change as I go along, but I got excited when I realized that if I were to pick up a book at the library and look at this table of contents, I would probably keep reading. I’m thinking that might be a good sign.