Monday, January 25, 2016

Distortion gifs

Since I clearly had not put much thought into directly connecting this project to Simulations when I presented it, I don't feel too bad about choosing a part of the text that I read after I made these images. I'd like to think I predicted the text, rather than applying it retroactively, but I'll leave the moral judgements to you. 

I think this work addresses ideas of the panopticon, feedback loops, turning the camera back on itself, and all other ideas relating to meta-cognition which is, after all, what makes us human. This self-reflection and self-analysis is I think the ideological subject of my work, while the digital realm is the setting and the medium.

"The whole traditional mode of causality is brought into question: the perspective, deterministic mode, the "active," critical mode, the analytical mode - the distinction between cause and effect, between active and passive, between subject and object, between ends and means. It is in this mode that it can be said: TV watches us, TV alienates us, TV manipulates us, TV informs us . . ."

When viewers see these images, they may feel like they are watching television, or an amateur vlogger, or traces of someone left on a computer in the Apple store, or a mirror, or any number of other associations. What it is to me is me watching myself, exploring both my physical and personal identity by distorting it, making it flase, flat, truncated or grotesque. I think Baudrillard's ideas of the TV watching the subject are interesting, and I want to take it further and create a private conversation between the TV and the subject, in which each can see and affect the other, and both are changed because of it, upon which the audience are merely intruding. The audience should feel like they are me, but also like they've been mistaken for me, and they should feel vaguely guilty about it. They are not a part of this interaction, but they're watching it anyway.

"In this "truth" experiment, it is neither a question of secrecy nor of perversion, but of a kind of thrill of the real, or of an aesthetics of the hyperreal, a thrill of vertiginous and phony exactitude, a thrill of alienation and of magnification, of distortion in scale, of excessive transparency all at the same time."


  1. Willa, I think you make an interesting point about how to some people watching a .gif like these on loop, they may feeling like they're seeing "traces of a person" on repeat. I feel that if you go a step further, you could change the environment of these .gifs to something more fantastical and create something very hallucinatory and playing to the idea of the "thrill of alienation," that seemingly sucks up a person into an unrecognizable, digital realm.

  2. No moral judgments here boo, but I really related to "what it is to me is me watching myself, exploring both my physical and personal identity by distorting it, making it flase, flat, truncated or grotesque." A part of my job is having fly selfies, as silly as that sounds, but you're not really a makeup artist unless you know how to take a damn good photo of yourself, and of course that involves editing. Sometimes when I'm really deep into editing a photo of myself, I feel like I'm exploring my personal and physical identity as well... and then it leads to these weird existential crises lol. I like what you're doing here. :)