COMMISSION ME TO MAKE A VIDEO PORTRAIT OF YOU!
The principle of The Creature is that anybody interested can commission me to make an art video about their online presence. The first work in this series has been commissioned by the Haus Der Elektronischen Kunste museum in Basel, CH, for their program Net Encounters and will be a portrait of the museum's curator Boris Magrini.
If you are interested in commissioning a work about you from this series, please write me at: contact[at]laurenhuret[dot]com.
What's The Creature about?
What's The Creature about?
Since the beginning of social media, I have been intrigued by peoples' online behavior. How people share bits of their lives, how they deal with self-representation, how they promote themselves, etc. I can’t help thinking every time I post something online that I am doing something wrong. This is partly due to a distrust of Surveillance Capitalism and to fear of judgment, but mostly because I feel that sharing select aspects of my life can be misleading (sometimes intentionally), risky and or totally uninteresting. Nonetheless, I continue to share and post and I often feel obliged to as an artist. Despite my skepticism, I find this phenomenon utterly fascinating, especially the shear volume of information and images that people willingly put into the public space (or rather the imposter of public space) that is the Internet.
In a performative lecture I did back in 2017, I compared the act of sharing bits of one's life online to an act of diffracting or disassembling, spreading fragments of one's soul and being, like clues of their existence on Earth. As a somewhat fervent media critic, who prefers to observe things through a more occult lens, I see these fragments of self (at anyone and everyone’s disposal) like tiny spectres, floating ghosts of the sharer, stored and disconnected from them forever.
The metaphor I used during this lecture was that of Dr. Frankenstein's creature. In the story, the creature is pieced together from various human bodies, a collage/assemblage whose fragments constitute a new being. To my mind, the dissemination of personal data is a kind of undoing and dislocating of the self, almost the inverse of Dr. Frankenstein's approach, or the step prior to his intervention — the creation of base elements from which a new self might be formed. The ensemble of these fragments and bytes strewn across different platforms come back together to constitute what some call the "digital identity." But for me, it’s much more than that. It is a stretched-out "augmented" self, it is the online creature self ("creature" in the sense that it has been "created"). By giving other people, even strangers, access to select parts and representations of ourselves, together we create simulacra of our personas. As we observe the fragments of others, we act to reassemble them, becoming subjective participants in the creation of these simulacra. We might even feel like we know somebody without ever having met them.
Taking these thoughts and feelings as a starting point, I have decided to collect and gather your fragments and reassemble them on demand. I will be like Dr. Frankenstein, but with a private detective touch. I will scrape together the digital traces and hints you have left behind and sculpt them into a likeness of your creature self.
To make it simple, you, as an art patron, have the possibility to commission me to make artwork about your online presence. This is an information-age portrait in the era of mass-sharing. It is the record produced by an investigation that I will conduct about you, an archive in time of your online self. No private information from our correspondence or prior exchanges (e.g. your contact info) will figure in the artwork, only what is found online. As if we were total strangers.
As an artist, I will attempt to understand who you are, following your track and my instincts to create a video portrait of you. The final piece will therefore also reflect my own subjectivity and who I imagine you to be. It will be influenced by my mood — sometimes prophetic and dramatic, sometimes light and fun, other times weird and absurd. You’re the model, I am the painter.
If you are interested, please write me at: contact[at]laurenhuret[dot]com
The Creature (Boris Magrini), video still, 2021