St. Mary's Projects in Studio Art:

Remina Greenfield / 2012

Virtual Fragments: The Erosion of Self in a Digital Age

The goal of my artwork is not to inspire a fear of technology, but to initiate a more thoughtful consideration of the ways it affects us. What can our inventions tell us as reflections of ourselves? For my final project, I wanted to focus my thoughts and look specifically at the Internet, a system we are intimately involved in, yet barely understand. We relinquish incredible amounts of personal information to online forums and shape numerous Internet personas through the creation of blogs, screen names, and various online accounts. The accumulation of our online activities creates a fragmented and nebulous self-projection that can be studied and interpreted by anyone from friends and family to corporate researchers. My video portraits visually communicate the transition from physical presence to online presence, showing the human figure dissolving into an amorphous collage of her or his online activities. I asked sitters to send me records of their online actions and representations, but I myself also searched for them online, trying to gather the traces of their virtual presence, in order to address the disparity between their intended impression and my own received impression. With this work, I wanted to explore specific questions regarding the Internet and identity: How is our online presence different from our physical presence? How do our online activities affect how others see us and how we see ourselves? Does our immersion in external, virtual arenas degrade the sense of an integral individual identity?