Socialising; the disparity between how we act around others and who we are when alone has been a starting point for my practice. The methods we use to connect with others and the limitations, even disappointments in those connections; all contribute to the formation of an identity. Defined as an affinity to others, the core of identity revolves around what other people think; an outward projection, a tool to situate ourselves into the social hierarchy. We morph ourselves to adapt with our settings; becoming different versions of a self, dependant on our company.
Children exercise real skills by putting themselves into imaginary situations; experimenting with the use of play and make believe to act out social exchanges. Pretend games can be a useful method to determine the social hierarchy; who trumps as the leader and who shrinks into submission. As adults, we still use tools to aid socialisation, albeit in subtler and more sophisticated ways. Gentle methods of competition infuse our society; the internet offering an ideal playground for the exploration of personality; an anonymous sphere where people can cherry-pick what is shared with others. This offers scope to build a perfect version of ourselves. Internet celebrities with colossal followings can use the medium to transmit a ‘true’ insight into their lives – only, of course, delivering the most photogenic aspects.
External symbols communicate identity – appearance, clothing and possessions can all be utilised to transmit a visual summary of who we are. The insecurity of identity leaves us vulnerable; advertisements prey on self-doubt, promising an improvement of the self with the purchase of a product. New media blurs the line between advertisement and opinion; sponsored content is difficult to distinguish, embedding the workings of capitalism deeper into the fabric of our society. A culture saturated with images, the internet and social media all conjure an "illusion of intimacy"; we are close to everyone and no-one; we know nothing but also everything, we're all perfect but at the same time 'damaged'. Oh, are we all just slipping into a world built of facades as flimsy as cardboard?